Smokers are up to 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer in their lifetime, compared with non-smokersGetty images

More than 80 per cent of the smokers in Bengaluru have attempted to quit smoking at least once, revealed a survey conducted by SPARSH hospital on the occasion of World No-Tobacco Day.

The survey, which captured the response of 750 people in the city, found that most Bangaloreans begin smoking between the ages of 16 and 18. Close to 50 per cent people in this set said that they started smoking at the age of 18 when they graduated from high school and began college.

More than 20 per cent people adopted the habit during their college years, between the ages of 19 and 21 years.

Mirroring the sentiments of most people who are tried to quit smoking, one respondent said, "The nicotine addiction and the craving is too strong to resist."

The survey indicated that more than half the respondents began smoking primarily out of curiosity. A mere 20% of people attributed their commencement to peer pressure. Social acceptance, celebrity influence and coping mechanism were other reasons that were cited.

Commenting on people's reasons to start smoking, Dr. Arbaaz Mushtaq, Sports Psychologist at SPARSH Hospital said, "There is a considerable impact of sociocultural and psychological factors across various stages of an individual. As is apparent from the survey, peer domains and curiosity is particularly influential on earlier stages of smoking. We need an 'interactional approach' to adolescent smoking with implications for prevention and interventions."

The biggest problem with smoking, according to the doctors, is that there is no lower safety limit to it. A puff of smoke is as bad as an entire cigarette.

"The research has shown even a single puff of smoking which an individual person intakes especially 10 to 15 minutes before the event will reduce his or her overall performance. Smoke induces vasoconstriction. For people interested in strengthening and conditioning of body (muscles and bones) the vasoconstriction prevents delivery of vital nutrients and inhibits tissue growth" said Dr. Harish Puranick, Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic Surgeon, SPARSH Hospital.

The survey also found that nearly 65 per cent of people believe they live a healthy lifestyle, apart from the exception of tobacco consumption.

Commenting on the risks of smoking, Dr. Rohan Naick, Pulmonologist at SPARSH Hospital said, "Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, respiratory infections including tuberculosis and lung cancer. Usually, several attempts are required to quit smoking, but the benefits of quitting smoking are worth it."