BENGALURU: Changes in lifestyle and increased stress at work are pushing more people towards alcohol and tobacco. People living alone in cities tend to get lonely and resort to consuming alcohol or smoking while socialising or as a stress buster, said psychologists.
“For me, alcohol is a source of stimulation. I drink when I am stressed, and also when I am happy,” said Karan (name changed), a working professional. Another professional Sriparna Roy, too, said that a drink after a long, tiresome and stressful day at work often gives a person a “break”.
Drinking makes one feel good temporarily, but people tend to make it a habit to escape from stress, psychologists said. Nimesh George, a psychologist, called substance abuse a sign of distraction. “In a city like Bengaluru, loneliness is a major problem. People fail to create an emotional bandwidth with their peers and struggle sometimes. To negate these emotions, people often use such substances and numb themselves. It can lead to substance abuse if used over a long period of time,” he added.
“Over the past 10-15 years, the number of young cancer patients has increased. Three out of 10 cancer patients visiting the hospital are young,” said Dr Ravi Thippeswamy, Senior Consultant in medical oncology, Sparsh Hospital. The cancers related to alcohol and tobacco are chronic and show symptoms over a period of time.
People who consume alcohol or tobacco as stress busters now may develop symptoms later. Tobacco is much more harmful than alcohol and must be completely avoided since both are definite risk factors for causing cancer.
He advised people to aim for a balanced life and ensure a healthy diet, regular exercise, meditation and also perform regular screening tests for early diagnosis. He said decision-making authorities in offices should create a balanced work environment and give periodic breaks to their subordinates for a good work-life balance.
State has highest number of smokers Karnataka has the highest prevalence of cigarette-smoking at 63.68 percent, according to a 2021 study done across six states for tobacco control by AF Developmental Care, a research agency in Asia working on health, gender and labour issues. Among tobacco users, smoking ‘beedi’ was also the highest in the state at 36.32 per cent.