While some habits are beneficial and healthy to the body like exercise and meditation, some are not. One in particular that causes adverse effects to the body is smoking. And because it is a highly addictive habit, it’s hard to quit “cold turkey.” Thus, smokers need more support for quitting smoking.
Why Is Smoking Harmful
Although there are no known benefits to smoking cigarettes, people still buy and patronize it. Research says it can even cause illnesses and diseases. So what is it really about cigarettes that make people so addicted to it even though it causes more harm?
Cigarettes used to come in reeds or tubes when they were first discovered in Central America and Mexico in the 9th century. Today, cigarettes come in small, cylindrical tubes with a stiff filter on one end.
Cigarettes from long ago were made from very few ingredients. Whereas now, most cigarettes are made from various materials. Those present in cigarette smoke alone are different from those inside the actual cigarette filling.
Cigarette smoke exits the cigarette stick in two ways. One is from the end that you light up, and the other is the filter tip that touches the smoker’s lips. Some of the elements that enter the smoker’s body are carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine.
Aside from those toxic elements, there are still an estimated 60 chemicals in a cigarette’s smoke. These include formaldehyde, aromatic metals, and more, which can harm the body.
How Does One Develop an Addiction?
Nicotine present in cigarettes is an addictive substance that has the ability to alter the balance of noradrenaline and dopamine, chemicals found in the brain.
Once nicotine enters the body and gets to work on these brain chemicals, the smoker’s mood is changed. This may also change his level of concentration, which is one of the main reasons why smokers find the habit enjoyable.
The process happens very quickly. Immediately after a smoker inhales the nicotine, it rushes straight to the brain. This is where the pleasurable effects take over, effectively reducing the smoker’s stress. This is where the addiction to nicotine starts.
How to Stop Smoking
The urge to smoke can be very powerful. In fact, even those who have already decided to quit smoking find themselves smoking one stick or two in an unfortunate relapse. But smoking is not an addiction that cannot be overcome.
Here are some ways you can try to help you finally lay off the addiction.
A doctor can best aid people who want to undergo nicotine-replacement therapy. Doctors will usually provide the smoker with the following options as to what form of treatment he wants the nicotine-replacement to be:
- In the form of an inhaler or nasal spray
- In the form of patches, lozenges or chewing gum
- Non-smoking meds like varenicline and bupropion
These nicotine-replacement therapies are short-acting, but they do get the job done. These are safe and work best when paired with long-acting nicotine therapies like patches.
Find a hobby
Another reason why people often try cigarettes is because they are bored. To get over cigarette-smoking, you need to find a hobby that can replace that habit. So if you ever feel the need to smoke, try an activity that is healthier and which requires you to be more active.
You can try doing a few exercises, indulge in a book, or visit a friend. You can also allot more time for things that you have always wanted to try like craftworks or meditation. This will also help you refrain from relapse smoking.
If you feel like you need an extra hand or support for quitting smoking, you can always make good friends and family help you. Invite them over or meet them at a cafe or at the arcade.
You can also join groups of people who are also seeking to achieve the same goal. Contact government-funded organizations that provide counseling and support to smokers who want to quit their vice.
Remember why you are quitting
Whether you are trying to make better, healthier decisions for yourself or other reasons, you need that motivation to keep you going. Write your reasons for quitting down on a piece of paper and stick it on a wall where you can always see it.
Then, when you feel like you are feeling tempted to smoke, read your notes out loud. Take these sample benefits, for example:
- For better health and a better quality of life
- Removing the risk of exposing your loved ones to cigarette smoke
- Saving money and allotting it for other personal goals
What Happens After Quitting
Once you stop smoking, you will most likely encounter side effects such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased appetite
- Decreased heart rate
These symptoms may be hard to endure, but they will only last as long as your body is flushing out the toxins from the cigarettes. But those few weeks will be very well worth it once you are finally free from the habit.
Although there aren’t any harsh and direct health problems after quitting smoking, some may experience weight gain as a result of the increased appetite.
Smoking is a bad habit that people can definitely live without. It is difficult to stop “cold turkey,” which is why it is encouraged that you find support for quitting smoking. Remember that if you had managed to live without it, you can overcome the nicotine addiction and live cigarette-free!
Learn more about Healthy Habits here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.