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How to Get Through Your First Week of Quitting

    How to Get Through Your First Week of Quitting

    Is it really possible to quit smoking?

    Smoking causes harm to nearly every organ in the body and to overall health1. However, 19% of adults in the Philippines smoke an average of 11 cigarettes per day2.

    The good news is people can stop. There are many aids to quitting, such as counseling, pharmacologic intervention, or a combination of the two. There are also medications approved for smoking cessation. Among them are nicotine gum available in the Philippines — like Nicorette.

    Why is it so hard?

    Quitting helps you take back control over your health, regardless of how old you are and how long you’ve been smoking1. You can have a better quality of life and less risk of early death and adverse health effects, among others3. However, the hardest part is taking that first step.

    There are several barriers to quitting:

    • Nicotine4

    This chemical found in tobacco is addictive. When it enters the body, it attaches to receptors, which then releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. The more you smoke, the more nicotine receptors are produced in your brain5.

    • Difficulty breaking bad habits6

    Our habits help us go about our daily routines without putting much conscious thought into them. They can be formed when repetitive and enjoyable actions trigger the release of dopamine7. You might have developed routines that you associate with smoking (e.g., taking coffee break)6.

    • Smoking as a bonding activity8

    A study suggested that smoking with others can be seen as a sign of friendship and a way to bond.

    • Withdrawal

    It is difficult to simply ignore your craving to smoke because nicotine is addictive. It results in physical dependence, making you feel that you need your nicotine fix. This produces withdrawal symptoms including5: urges to smoke; irritability; restlessness; difficulty concentrating; sleeplessness; hunger or weight gain; and feelings of anxiety, depression or sadness9.

    The first week is the hardest

    Many people who try quitting fail the first time. Withdrawal symptoms may cause you to lose sleep or focus and become more emotional than usual. You may also find yourself having a bigger appetite or gaining weight. Less common symptoms include; cold symptoms, constipation, dizziness, and mouth ulcers10.

    You may also experience strong cravings that last a few minutes. But the more often you resist, the weaker these urges become. Smoking is indeed a difficult habit to kick, but not impossible. Because of these difficulties, those trying to quit may seek support through smoking cessation programs and nicotine replacement therapy.

    The Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking

    What is nicotine replacement therapy?

    People who are trying to quit smoking may rely on nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT. This temporarily replaces the nicotine you would normally get from tobacco. This reduces the urge to smoke, as well as withdrawal symptoms11. Another benefit is that NRTs have little or none of the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes12.

    There are different types of nicotine replacement therapy13:

    • Nicotine gum
    • Skin patch
    • Nasal spray
    • Inhaler
    • Lozenges

    Studies show that NRTs can increase your chances of quitting the habit by twofold if used properly. NRTs are recommended to be used together with behavioral counseling or smoking cessation treatments, such as a smoking cessation program13.

    Nicorette is the answer

    Nicorette (Nicotine polacrilex) is one such readily available nicotine gum in the Philippines. Nicorette gum helps get you through that first week of quitting, after which you are nine times more likely to quit for good14.

    With dosages of 2 milligrams and 4 milligrams, you can control how much nicotine you get when you use nicotine gum13. The 2-milligram dosage is recommended for those who smoke 20 cigarettes or less each day, while the 4-milligram dosage is for those who smoke 20 cigarettes or more daily.

    Nicorette gum works in as fast as 15 minutes to help you manage nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

    It should be noted that this is not normal chewing gum and should not be used as such. Nicotine gum must be chewed slowly for 30 minutes (8 to 12 pieces per day). You can continue using Nicorette regularly over a period of three months. It is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth.

    Key takeaway: Quitters win

    Smoking is a tough habit to kick, but it’s not impossible. This is essential, as quitting smoking can help you live a healthier lifestyle. Different forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) may help you with smoking cessation.

    Nicorette, a nicotine gum in the Philippines, can help you in your journey of quitting. Nicorette helps keep you smoke-free during the first week of quitting. Once you get past that, you are nine times more likely to quit for good. It also weakens your cravings in as fast as 15 minutes and actively fights the seven withdrawal symptoms.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    1. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm.
    2. PSA Grants Clearance to the Conduct of 2021 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). Philippine Statistics Authority. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://psa.gov.ph/press-releases/id/165209.
    3. Benefits of Quitting. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/benefits/index.htm.
    4. Why it’s so hard to quit smoking. American Heart Association. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/10/17/why-its-so-hard-to-quit-smoking.
    5. Smokers’ Brains Change in Response to High Levels of Nicotine. Mayo Clinic News Network. Accessed on 31 Aug 2022 at https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/smokers-brains-change-in-response-to-high-levels-of-nicotine/.
    6. Why Quitting Smoking Is Hard. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 31 Aug 2022 at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quit-smoking-medications/why-quitting-smoking-is-hard/index.html.
    7. Breaking Bad Habits: Why It’s So Hard to Change. NIH News in Health. Accessed 31 Aug 2022 at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2012/01/breaking-bad-habits.
    8. Barriers to smoking cessation: a qualitative study from the perspective of primary care in Malaysia. BMJ Open. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025491.
    9. 7 Common Withdrawal Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/7-common-withdrawal-symptoms/index.html.
    10. What to expect when you quit smoking. Better Health Channel. Accessed 31 Aug 2022 at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/What-to-expect-when-you-quit-smoking.
    11. Nicotine Replacement Therapy: An Overview. International Journal of Health Sciences. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003586/.
    12. Nicotine replacement therapy. MedlinePlus. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007438.htm.
    13. Nicotine Replacement Therapy to Help You Quit Tobacco. American Cancer Society. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking/nicotine-replacement-therapy.html#references.
    14. Ready to Quit Smoking Completely? Nicorette. Accessed on 25 Aug 2022 at https://www.nicorette.com.ph/how-to-quit-smoking/ready-to-quit-smoking-completely.
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    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel Updated 6 days ago
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