Trivandrum: When the urge to puff a smoke comes along take a sip of green tea instead. Research-based evidence shows that consumption of green tea may help in smoking cessation, besides reducing the risk of smoking-induced lung cancers.
Even though public smoking has been banned in the country via the tobacco control legislation COTPA (2003), smoking continues to be rampant in public places.
Around 21.9 per cent of Kerala’s population continues to be addicted to smoking and in the process, making themselves vulnerable to a wide variety of diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, stroke and osteoporosis.
Dr. Phinse Philip, Lecturer, Community Oncology Division, Malabar Cancer Centre on speaking to Yentha said, “Pharmacotherapy such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has generally been found effective in smoking cessation.
However a comprehensive, cost effective solution to the problem is yet to arrive.”
“Majority of users smoke, as it purportedly gives them some form of relaxation. The oral intake of the amino acid L-Theanine uniquely found in green tea is known to have anti-stress effects and acts as relaxing agent. A study in China shows that green tea may be used as an alternative to quit this habit,” he added.
A clinical trial involving 70 healthy cigarette smokers, aged 18 to 30 years, brought out that after two months, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day reduced by 56.5 per cent. A significant 31.7 per cent of the smokers quit smoking after the use of this green tea based filter.
Dr. Thomas Varughese, Head of Surgical Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery, Lakeshore Hospital and Research Center, Cochin said,
“Consumption of green tea after quitting smoking completely can contribute to reversing the possibility of lung cancers. Green tea, which is rich in anti-oxidants, can help in restoring the oxidant/antioxidant imbalance among those who have quit tobacco use completely, both smoking and smokeless, provided they have used it long enough to cover the impact of the period of use.”
Green tea has also found to be reducing the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Lung cancer top the list of cancers among males in Kerala, and reports has it that 39 per cent of all cancers among them are tobacco-related.
“It is also now widely held that a person with deficiency in the immune system runs a higher risk of cancers. Smokers typically have low levels of vital nutrients like Vitamins C and E, zinc, calcium, folate, and the omega-3 essential fatty acid, which are vital for the human body’s immune system and proper metabolic activity. Consumption of green tea can boost up the body’s immune system by fighting free radicals and can reduce the risk from damage caused by toxins in cigarette smoke,” Thomas added.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, of which more than 50 are carcinogenic.
“While it augurs well that we have a natural remedy in green tea, what is more important is that it needs to be discouraged by all possible means. One way could be to increase taxes as has been done in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan,” Dr. Varughese said.
In Rajasthan, all tobacco products – cigarettes, bidis and smokeless - are taxed 50 per cent during the current fiscal while in UP ,VAT for cigarettes is 50 per cent and 55 percent for smokeless tobacco.