“And to kill time while awaiting death, I smoke slender cigarettes thumbing my nose to the gods.” – Jules Laforgue
“Smoking is injurious to health”- in spite of this statutory warning people are happily indulged in this fatal practice; but we forget that smoking also affects the environment around us. Smoking affects each and every part of our body. Simply speaking, smokers are pushing themselves at the threshold of death.
Yes, it is not easy to quit smoking as it becomes too addictive habit to avoid easily. All that you need is a strong determination to quit for your own good.
You may not come out victorious the very first time when you make up your mind to quit. You may experience both favorable and unfavorable circumstances. So, it is necessary to make-up your mind first and change the environment around you.You can seek advice from your health care provider if you feel the need. There are a number of medication program to help you to quit smoking.
Remember, if you leave smoking you will actually do yourself a world of good. This will boost your stamina and energy. You may face difficulty in the first few days as you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. But once you win the battle against this evil practice you will find yourself in the most pleasant situation- you will eat, breathe, work and sleep better.
Every year approximately 440,000 deaths occur in the U.S. especially from smoking-related illnesses; this counts almost 1 out of every 5 deaths. Tobacco consists of different carcinogenic chemicals. It also contains Nicotine, an addictive drug. These chemicals result in various life threatening diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema and cardio-vascular diseases.
There are a number of other diseases caused by cigarette smoking; for instance, stroke, mouth and throat cancer, ulcer, cancer of the larynx, pulmonary disease, bladder and cervical cancer. Moreover, smoking is perhaps the most preventable reason of respiratory diseases within the USA.
Today renew your oath to quit smoking. If you have tried to quit smoking but did not succeed don’t leave it half way because most smokers fall short several times before quitting successfully.
Your past failures do not indicate that you are unable to quit. Instead, regard them as part of your journey toward becoming a nonsmoker.\
Smoking is harmful not only for the smoker, but also for family members, colleagues, and others who inhale the smoke; this is termed as secondhand smoke or passive smoke. Among infants up to 18 months of age, passive smoke results in as many as 300,000 cases of chronic bronchitis and pneumonia each year. In addition, passive smoke from a parent’s cigarette heightens a child’s chances of middle ear problems, coughing and wheezing, worsens asthma, and increases an infant’s possibility of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If a pregnant woman does not quit smoking, her fetus is at a great risk of miscarriage, early delivery (prematurely), stillbirth, infant death, and low birth weight. The statistics show that if all women quit smoking during pregnancy, about 4,000 new babies would not die each year.
What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
The signs of addiction to cigarettes include:
- Smoking more than seven cigarettes a day
- Inhaling deeply and frequently
- Smoking cigarettes containing nicotine levels more than 0.9mg
- Smoking within 30 minutes of awakening in the morning
- Finding it difficult to avoid the first cigarette in the morning
- Frequent Smoking during the morning
- Difficulty to avoid smoking in smoking-restricted areas
- Urge to smoke even if sick and in bed.
Getting ready to quit smoking:
Fix a date for quitting. If possible, plan to quit smoking together with your friend.
Find out when and why you smoke. Try to make a list of the things in your daily life that you usually do while smoking (such as having your morning cup of coffee or driving a car).
Change your smoking routines: Keep your cigarettes in away. Smoke with your other hand. Don’t keep yourself busy when you are smoking. Think about how you actually feel as you smoke.
Smoke only in some selected places, such as outdoors.
When you wish to have a cigarette, wait a few minutes. Try to think of something else instead of smoking. For instance, you might chew gum or drink a glass of water.
Purchase one pack of cigarettes at a time. Switch to a brand of cigarettes that you dislike.
What methods can help a person quit smoking?
Several methods are available to help those who want to quit smoking. The main categories of methods include:
- Changing the behavior associated with smoking
- Self-help literature
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- Smoking cessation aids.
Each of these methods actually offers quite a few different options. Additionally, combinations of these methods are sometimes necessary. A particular combination will not work for everyone. In fact, it may be useful to try some different methods or combinations of methods before you succeed.
Behavioral modification and self-help literature to quit smoking
Due to the addiction to nicotine, some sort of behavioral modification is often required for successful cessation of smoking. Educational programs, hypnosis, and aversion therapy (learning how to avoid cigarettes) can be followed. Smokers may be counseled to stay away from specific triggers or situations leading to smoking. For instance, instead of awakening and smoking a cigarette at the bedside or smoking right after a meal, people may be encouraged to replace the urge to smoke with another activity, including going for a walk or reading a book.
Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) was an accessible over the counter in the 1990’s. The intention of nicotine replacement therapy is to replace another source of nicotine while cigarettes are no longer in use. This means that the habit of smoking is eliminated, but the addiction to nicotine exists. At the same time, nicotine replacement therapy eradicates the signs of withdrawal that can trigger more smoking. In addition, behavioral counseling to change smoking-related behavior may also be required. Once cigarettes have been substituted during nicotine replacement therapy, the amount of nicotine then decreases gradually.
At present, there are various forms of nicotine replacement therapy available along with over-the-counter; these include:
- Nicotine transdermal systems or patches (Nicoderm CQ and Nicotrol),
- Nicotine polacrilex resin or gum (Nicorette),
- Nicotine lozenges (Commit).
Approximately 25% of smokers quit smoking successfully by the help of nicotine patch therapy. The success rate is same with nicotine gum. There have not yet been studies to compare the usefulness of nicotine lozenges to the patch or gum. The rate of success for nicotine replacement therapy increases 35% to 40% on the addition of intensive behavioral counseling.
The doctor may also recommend some nicotine receptor blockers and antidepressants to help you quit smoking. The nicotine receptor blockers will reduce your cravings while the antidepressants bar the usual withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, stress and mood fluctuations.
Varenicline (Chantix) does not contain nicotine, but is assumed to act on the same receptors, (the sites where nicotine acts to produce its effects) in the brain as nicotine. This causes activation (stimulation) of these receptors and blocks the ability of nicotine to attach to these receptors. Chantix must be taken seven days prior to the date an individual wishes to quit smoking. Most people keep taking Chantix for 12 weeks. Side effects of the medication are as follows:
- Changes in dreaming
Chantix should not be used by pregnant and breast-feeding women and people with certain chronic medical conditions.
Other commonly reported varenicline side effects include:
- Loss of taste
- Unusual dreams
Problems related to the digestive system (diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort or bloating, indigestion, flatulence or an increased appetite)
Some of the sleep related varenicline side effects can be tackled if the evening dose is taken after your evening meal, and not just before bedtime.
Bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban, Wellbutrin): It is a medication is primarily used to treat depression. This drug, however, is also effective in helping people to leave smoking. You must start taking bupropion daily about 1 to 2 weeks before you quit smoking. This raises the level of medicine in your body. Continue taking bupropion for 7 to 12 weeks after you stop the habit of tobacco. You can continue it for as long as 6 months to a year.
Other agents useful in cessation of smoking are serotonin reuptake antagonists (drugs also used for depression) and the anti-hypertensive drugs clonidine (Catapres) and calcium channel blockers. Although these agents are less effective than nicotine replacement therapy, they may be effective for some people.
Some people have got immense success using hypnotherapy to aid in the cessation process. During hypnotherapy, a patient is kept into a relaxed state of consciousness.Your doctor or a trusted friend or family member may suggest you a licensed hypnotherapist. Most smokers require attending at least 3 hypnotherapy sessions over the course of a few weeks.
Self hypnosis: There are few books, cds, and DVDs to teach smokers how to perform self hypnosis. This can be mainly suitable for those who are too busy to attend therapy sessions during regular office hours. It is also effective as a supplement for those who have undergone or are currently attending hypnotherapy sessions. These materials can be purchased online, in bookstores, at mass retailers or may be offered at the local library.
Acupuncture, Laser Therapy, Filters, Dietary Supplements, Smoking Deterrents, Lip Balms, Nicotine Water and Nicotine Wafers are also used to eliminate the habit of smoking.
Deep Breathing: This is perhaps the single most influential and important technique. Every time you wish to have a cigarette, do the following for three times:
Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, after that exhale very slowly. Purse your lips so that the air can be released slowly. As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest and feel all the tension leaving your body.
This is a sort of yoga technique and is very relaxing. If you practice this, you’ll be able to apply to avoid any future stressful situation. And it will also be your greatest weapon during the immense cravings which is sure to disturb you over the first few days.
Taking In Fluids
The first few days, drink lots of water and fluids in order to help flush out the nicotine and other poisonous elements from your body.
Avoid Alcohol, Sugar and Coffee
Try hard to avoid alcohol, sugar and coffee the first week or longer. These tend to arouse the desire for a cigarette. Also avoid fatty foods because your metabolism will decelerate a bit without the nicotine, and you may put on weight even if you consume the same amount as you used to take before quitting. So a strict diet is very essential now.
Nibble on low calorie foods like celery, apples and carrots, chew gum or suck on cinnamon sticks.
Eat Fruits and Veggies:
Don’t try to diet while quitting cigarettes – too much withdrawal is bound to show adverse effect. Focus on having more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. A Duke University study reveals that these foods make cigarettes taste extremely bad. This gives you an extra advantage in fighting your cravings while consuming disease-fighting nutrients.
Stretch out your meals; eat bit by bit and wait a bit between bites.
After dinner, instead of a cigarette, have a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy.
Taking an Oral Substitute
A study shows that, about 25% of quitters found an oral substitute invaluable. Another 25% didn’t like the idea at all and they wished a complete break with cigarettes. But the rest weren’t sure.
One can use cinnamon sticks, chewing gum or artificial cigarettes as a replacement. You will generally need that after the first week of being a non smoker, you wouldn’t even need these.
Go to a gym; sit in the steam and exercise. Alter your normal routine – manage time to walk or even jog around the block or in the local park. Physical activity can help cut down nicotine cravings and alleviate some withdrawal symptoms. When you wish to have a cigarette, put on your inline skates or jogging shoes to avoid craving. Even mild exercise is beneficial, (such as walking the dog or pulling weeds in the garden). The extra calories you burn will also hold off weight gain as you quit smoking.
Go ahead and attend a yoga class or maybe reiki – they can really do wonder. Get massage for an hour, take a lengthy bath and thus pamper yourself. Try to get yourself engaged in a hobby.
Ask For Support
Ask for support from colleagues, friends and family members. Request them to tolerate. Let people know you’re quitting smoking, and that there is a possibility of becoming over-sensitive or petulant for a few days. If you don’t demand support, you certainly won’t receive any. If you can do this, you’ll be amazed how much it can be helpful. Take this opportunity and try it to see the difference!
Request friends and family members avoid smoking in your presence. Don’t hesitate to ask. This is more crucial than you may realize.
Destroy All Your Cigarettes
On your quit day, put all ashtrays out of sight. Destroy all your cigarettes, preferably with water, so that no part of them can be smoked.
Write It Down
Note down 10 good things about being a nonsmoker – and then make a list of ten bad things about smoking.
Don’t pretend to believe that smoking wasn’t pleasant when it actually was. This may seem like losing one of your good friends – and it’s all right to grieve the loss. Feel that sorrow, don’t worry, it’s acceptable. Feel but you heal at the same time. Stay with it – you will succeed.
Don’t Go Cold Turkey
It may be alluring to toss your cigarettes and announce you’ve quit, clear and simple. But going cold turkey isn’t so easy to do. 95% of people who try to quit smoking without undergoing any therapy or taking any medication ends up relapsing. The reason is the addiction to nicotine. The brain becomes so much accustomed to having nicotine that it craves it. In its absence, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may occur.
People smoke because the nicotine helps them relax. Once you quit, you’ll need another means to deal with stress. Try getting regular massages, listening to soothing music, or learning yoga or Tai chi. Try to avoid stressful situations especially during the first few weeks after you quit smoking.
Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette throw away all of your ashtrays and lighters. Wash the clothes that smell like smoke and clean your carpets, draperies, and upholstery. You can use air fresheners to get rid of that familiar scent from your home. Throw away anything that you don’t want to see or smell that reminds you of smoking.
Do It for Your Health
Besides the tremendous health benefits, one of the perks of leaving cigarettes is all the money you will save. Reward yourself by spending a part of it on something enjoyable.
Choose Your Reward
There’s something more than the financial reward that needs to consider. Smoking cessation has instant health benefits as it checks your blood pressure and reduces your pulse after only 20 minutes. Within a day, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood surprisingly returns to standard. Within two weeks to 3 months, your risk of a heart attack reduces and your lungs begin to function well again. Long-term benefits include a minimum risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other malignancy.