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SANCA warns against smoking of other substances

As smokers are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, more and more are experimenting with substances other than cigarettes or tobacco.

LIMPOPO – Even though smokers are battling as the ban on the sale of tobacco products remains in lockdown level three, the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (SANCA) has warned against smoking other substances.

According to SANCA in Limpopo, they have come across cases of smokers trying to replace tobacco and nicotine with tea leaves, grass or even paper, and warns that this might be a sign of addiction.

Provincial Manager, Hezekiel Boloka says the ban is bound to cause an increase in the number of people attempting to smoke household items due to withdrawal symptoms.

“The reality is that tobacco is addictive. Many people are trying to smoke other substances, as they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, that keep them from sleeping or eating.”

Boloka says the intensity of withdrawal symptoms differs from person to person, depending on factors such as how long someone had been smoking for and the amounts which their bodies are used to in terms of consumption.

The use of other substances to replace tobacco and nicotine, he says, can lead to an addiction to other substances as well as have serious health repercussions. “The smoking of grass, tea and paper is an unsafe process, one can never know how those substances will affect your body. If you mix it with other drugs, it is likely to result in another addiction.”

He says that if a person is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, a clinical assessment is necessary to evaluate whether the person should be taken for detoxification or rehabilitation.

“The clinical assessment done will indicate what is needed to break the addiction. It will also determine whether the client will be admitted into one of our facilities or if they can be rehabilitated at home,” Baloka concluded.

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