It is no secret, quitting smoking cigarettes is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. In terms of “degree of difficulty”, nicotine addiction has been been compared with quitting heroin. Nearly 7 out of 10 cigarette smokers want to stop. Half have tried at least once in the past year. Besides bringing on a certain sense of “ease and comfort”, smoking a cigarette becomes associated with things like drinking coffee or after sex. These are what is known as “triggers”. Smoking is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. There are now apps that can help and also prescription medications. There are more adults in the U.S. who have quit than the number of people who currently smoke, so it can be done.
- It’s about freedom, freedom from the “slavery” of addiction to nicotine.
How To Quit Smoking
Deciding to quit smoking cigarettes is the best place to start the process. It can be done, the number of former U.S. smokers has exceeded the number of current smokers. That means three are more adults in the U.S. who have quit than who currently smoke. It really comes down to how badly you want it. Every day a smoker makes a conscious decision to start smoking again. Taking it a day at a time, makes it more manageable. Here’s a list of proven suggestions:
Join a support group
Although nicotine anonymous doesn’t get much publicity, it is a powerful support group for helping people quit.
Make a public announcement that you are going to quit smoking. Set a “quit” date and stick to that date.
Keep track of your progress
Use a calendar to mark off each day you have not smoked a cigarette.
Reward yourself every day
you’ve resisted the urge to smoke with something you enjoy such as a trip to the spa, dinner at your favorite restaurant. Count the days, keep track of how many days it has been. Know what day it is and remind yourself often. Knowing “what day it is”, in terms of how many days you have gone without gives you something to be proud of and something you will lose if you “pick that first one up”.
Exercise releases “happy” hormones called endorphins that put you in a good mood and help take your mind off smoking.
Stock up on mints and chewing gum
They give your mouth something to do, freshen your breath and reduce cravings for a cigarette.
Boredom, drinking alcohol, stressful situations, being around others who smoke. Try to stay away from them as much as possible.
Chew nicotine gum or wearing a nicotine patch
They come in different strengths so that you can gradually reduce your nicotine addiction.
Write down the reasons you want to quit smoking
Take the time to re-read this article and write down all the illnesses caused by smoking. Find pictures of smoker’s lungs on the Internet to see what smoke does to your lungs.
Ask your doctor about prescription medications
There are new prescription medications designed to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Try alternative methods to stop smoking, such as acupuncture and hypnosis?
Many people claim that these two methods worked for them when nothing else did. However, just as many say acupuncture and hypnosis did not relieve their urge to smoke.
Have a plan on how to deal with the “cravings”
Most cravings will only last 5 to 10 minutes. It might be uncomfortable. Make a list of things you can do to stop thinking about smoking, like calling a friend or going out and taking a walk.
Take it a day at a time
Quitting one day at a time makes the task seem much easier and simpler. Just say, “I’m just not going to smoke today”. Just don’t smoke that first cigarette today. Once you smoke that first cigarette, the game is over and you lost. Making about that first cigarette draws an easy “line in the sand”, making the task seem simpler and more manageable.
Make it about the “freedom”
As long as you are a smoker, they “own you”. You have lost the freedom to decide whether you want to smoke, or not.
Get plenty of sleep and eat healthily
Getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet seems to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It also tends to make you feel better with and increased sense of well-being.
Breaking the oral-fixation
Stick something in your mouth like a toothpick or straw. Try taking a few deep breathes and remind yourself why you want to stop. Buy a several boxes of toothpicks and place them in places you used to smoke. Try buying a box of straws too. Cut them all up in half, so the are the same length and size of a cigarette. Having something handy to place in your mouth anytime can make a huge difference.
Cigarette smoking is the #1 preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S.
- The Centers for Disease Control report that one out of every five U.S. deaths can be attributed to theside effects of smoking.
- For every individual who dies from a smoking-related illness, there are 30 more people suffering one or more serious tobacco- related illnesses.
Anything containing tobacco; cigarettes, snuff, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco contain one of the most addictive substances on the planet–nicotine.
Cigarette smoke contains 33 known carcinogens
All bind to DNA and cause irreversible mutations responsible for the development of cancer cells and tumors.
Second-hand smoke can be even more harmful than inhaled smoke because exhaled smoke has a lower temperature than inhaled smoke.
At reduced temperatures, the chemical compounds in exhaled smoke undergo molecular changes that make them twice as dangerous to human health, turning nitrogen dioxide into an extremely toxic chemical.
Nine out of 10 cases of lung cancer can be attributed to smoking.
On average, nonsmokers will live 10 to 15 years longer than smokers.
Smoking increases the risk of the following diseases: COPD, stroke, aneurysms, heart attack, severe tooth decay and chronic bronchitis.
Smokers may also be prone to developing cataracts, leukemia and repeated occurrences of pneumonia.
Smoke one and a half cigarette packs each day and you will receive a radiation dose of 60 to 165 mSv per year compared to the average radiation exposure of 3.0 mSv annually received naturally by people living in the U.S.
Tobacco leaves contain radioactive material, particularly polonium-210 and lead-210.
Smokers are also at risk for suffering more dermatological conditions than non-smokers.
Things such as premature wrinkling and sagging of the skin, psoriasis, poor wound healing, acne and squamous cell carcinoma.
In a college survey, here are the major reasons for being afraid to quit.
- Enjoyment of smoking
- Craving for cigarettes
- loss of smoking as a means of handling stress / moods
- Fear of gaining weight
- Lack of coverage for smoking cessation treatments
- Fear of failure
- Withdrawal symptoms
Why It’s So Damn Hard
A potent psycho-chemical that stimulates the nervous, endocrine and circulatory systems, nicotine in cigarette tobacco gives smokers a pleasurable “high” that seems to works differently in various situations. For example, smokers say that if they feel anxious and tense, smoking a cigarette calms and relaxes them. If they feel sleepy or tired, smoking a cigarette increases alertness. If they are hungry, smoking a cigarette diminishes hunger pangs.
Research has shown that nicotine is more addictive than methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and caffeine. In addition, tobacco contains an organic chemical compound that contributes to the addictive properties of nicotine by promoting dopamine release in the brain, an action mimicked by heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine use.
Although nicotine does not cause cancer, it exerts other unhealthy effects on the human body:
-Nicotine narrows blood vessels and makes it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. It can lead to hypertension, high blood pressure, chest pain and an increased risk for developing myocardial infarction.
-Acting as a something that changes the heart rate, nicotine significantly increases the heart rate, which puts a heavier workload on the heart and may precipitate irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmia.
-Nicotine depresses the release of chemicals associated with appetite regulation and may prevent smokers from eating a healthy diet. Additionally, nicotine stimulates intestinal contractions that propel digested food through the GI tract. When these contractions (peristalsis) are activated abnormally by nicotine, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome may occur that further interferes with the overall health of the smoker.
Overcoming nicotine addiction, like any other drug addiction, requires coping with the inevitable physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. These can include feeling sad, trouble sleeping, muddled thinking, feelings of restlessness and irritable. Have a plan and think it through.
Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms:
- Feeling sad
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling irritable
- Having trouble thinking clearly
- Feeling restless
- Slower heart rate
- Feeling more hungry