Best way to quit smoking
Being one of the major causes of premature deaths in US, it is one of the most preventable causes. Even alcohol and drugs have found their benefits. However, smoking is known to result in higher risks of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis. Under this condition, the blood vessels build up with fatty substances results in difficulty of blood flow. Atherosclerosis can cause stroke or coronary heart diseases which can further lead to heart attacks. The point to understand is in spite of knowing the harms associated with smoking, people are still addicted to the same.
Here are few reasons why a person gets addicted to smoking:
- Family history
Individuals who smoke during teen years tend to have their siblings, parents or grandparents who smoke. The risk of a person of smoking is higher when either one or both parents smoke.
- Environmental factors
The environment in which a person grows also has a direct impact on the influence of smoking. The impact might be indirect but surely is significant.
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure has been one of the major reasons for people to start smoking. Students in the pressure of adapting to the environment indulge in such activities which eventually becomes an addiction. In fact, the number of cigarettes offered or even whether the individual plays sports have a significant role in determining whether the person will smoke or not.
- Stress buster
People often think smoking to help in relieving stress. Some of them initiate the habit of smoking with the thought of believing that it helps in coping with personal problems. Though it is not proven that nicotine decreases stress or anxiety, many smokers believe smoking too settles their nerves.
- Addiction to other drugs
Individuals who are already addicted to drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, or using alcohol are more likely to smoke cigarettes than those who don’t smoke. In fact, it’s a common sight to see smokers drinking and drinkers smoking.
- Maintaining weight
Smoking is often considered to be a substitute for desserts after a heavy meal. Some believe they can maintain their weight by smoking as it can suppress appetite. This especially goes with fashionistas and size zeroes.
Why should a person quit smoking?
Smoking causes millions of problems by diminishing the overall health. It causes heart diseases, stroke and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis. According to the research done by National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction to nicotine can result in permanent changes to the brain. The changes that take place pertain to the changes by drugs like cocaine or heroine.
An individual who spends money on smoking does not realise the amount spent on the same. What they don’t realise is that smoking is expensive. In fact, if you find someone addicted to smoking, ask him/her to multiply the amount of money spent on a cigarette with 365 days to see how much amount they are spending. Now, try to multiply the amount with 10 for the upcoming 10 years. The final amount that you see would shock you! This amount would motivate you to quit smoking.
Apart from saving on cigarettes, there are many other financial benefits of quitting smoking. From paying less for life and health insurances, you will incur fewer costs in medical bills, trips to doctors and other tobacco related problems.
For the people in your life
Smoking not only harms your body but the people surrounded to you. The exposure to second hand smoke can increase the risk of deterioration of health bringing the onset of heart or lung diseases. Passive smoking can cause eye irritation, nausea or headache.
In fact, the chances of a baby developing health problems are higher if the mother smokes, especially if smoked during pregnancy. Children raised in the environment of smoking are more likely to face lung diseases such as bronchitis, ear infections or cold.
For Cosmetic Benefits
Smoking has numerous benefits when it comes to cosmetics. Some of them are:
- Better oral health
- Fewer skin wrinkles
- Reverse the sign of ageing
- Positive role model
Quitting smoking can improve the breath and whitening of teeth. Moreover, studies have been conducted to find the connection between smoking and greying of hair. The chemicals in the nicotine can damage the hair follicles or the blood vessels that carry them. This can result in yellow pallor.
For people with complications of diabetes, asthma or any heart diseases, quitting smoking can help in reducing hospital stays, medical bills, etc. The major advantage would be that quitting smoking can prevent complications. Quitting smoking can reduce the chance of addiction to other drugs. For women with pregnancy, smoking cessation can help in better health of the baby.
Why is it hard to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking often results in nicotine withdrawal. This happens both ways, mentally and physically. The thought of giving up a habit can lead to stress and change in behaviour. Similarly, the absence of nicotine from the body can lead to physical stress.
People often experience nicotine withdrawal if they suddenly stop or reduce the amount they use. Even though there are no harms in nicotine withdrawal, the signs of quitting can be uncomfortable. The onset of these symptoms start within few hours and peak about 2-3 days after quitting as most of the nicotine and its by-products are out of the body by then.
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are:
- Feeling of anger and frustration
- Increase in appetite
- Slower heart rate
- Tightness of chest
- Cough and dry mouth
These signs can actually make a person to start smoking again to boost the levels of nicotine in the body and stop these symptoms.
Best way to quit smoking?
So now when you’re ready to finally give up the habit of smoking, you have won half the battle. The path to give up the habit will not be easy, but it will definitely be worth. As you are likely to know there are many ways to quit smoking. Even though some work better than others, here are few ways to quit smoking:
Best way to quit smoking Naturally
Yoga helps in regulating stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. When a person decides to quit smoking, the nicotine withdrawal urges him to start smoking again. This increases the risk of nicotine craving. As yoga is a science of awareness, it helps the mind and body to calm and stress free once a person quits smoking. It controls frequent mood swings and increases a greater sense of control. Moreover, yoga helps in improving the patience levels and the ability to listen to one’s body. So, when a person craves for nicotine, yoga or deep breathing can help in controlling the urge.
Meditation is associated with improved levels of willpower and mindfulness. It can adversely reduce stress levels and decrease anxiety. In fact, studies have proved that a mindful meditation program is far effective than a smoking cessation program. In fact, meditation improves the smoker’s response to nicotine cravings making it easier to manage. Sine smoking is related to make the person stress free, meditation can help in the same levels. Moreover, people who start meditating don’t realise the fact that their tobacco intake has come down naturally.
- Healthy Diet
When you plan to quit smoking, diet plays an important role in filling the void a smoker feels. The major reason to this is the craving that needs to be replaced. Instead of going for potato chips or junk food, indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables. Such substitutes will fill your body with vitamins and minerals. Secondly, tobacco damages the taste buds resulting in bad tasting of food. This should be replaced with good and energising food once the person quits.
Since a person can experience low sugar levels after quitting, eat regularly. Moreover, the diet plan after quitting smoking should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as they make cigarettes taste bad. However, food items such as red meat, alcohol and coffee savour the taste of cigarette, and hence should be avoided from the diet plan.
Drinking water helps in flushing out all the toxins present in the body due to smoking. Moreover, it helps in counteracting the craving, especially in the initial days of quitting. It also keeps your digestion smooth and rehydrates the body after the drying effects of the smoke.
Smokers tend to experience headaches in the initial days due to nicotine withdrawal. Since hydrating your body has helped ease headaches in people, water intake is necessary for quitting smoking. Moreover, smoking also brings mood swings which can be uplifted by hydrating yourself.
- Staying active
When you feel the craving for a smoke, do sit-ups or push-ups instead. This will help in subsiding the craving due to the release of endorphins which uplifts the state of the body. According to research at Brown University, female smokers who quit smoking and took up physical activity are likely to stay away from cigarettes. In fact, moderate physical activity such as aerobics reduces the urge to smoke. It easily reduces the withdrawal symptoms and decreases appetite. Moreover, exercising helps in elevation of mood and copes with mental stress.
Best way to quit smoking | Therapies
Apart from the natural ways to quit smoking, there are few therapies that have been proved to help people give up this bad addiction.
- Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is the most commonly used method to quit smoking. It reduces withdrawal symptoms by giving you small amounts of nicotine. This small amount helps you to control the cravings and reduces the urge to smoke. In fact, this is certified to be the most helpful technique to quit smoking by doctors and therapists.
However, this therapy can’t do all the work. It can work on reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings but not take away the urge to smoke. Only by combining this therapy with other techniques such as behavioural therapy can help you quit smoking entirely.
- Behavioural Therapy
In behavioural therapy, the person works with a counsellor to find ways to quit smoking. Together, they find the trigger points and make a plan to get through the cravings. Similar to NRT, Behavioral therapy is not enough for a person to give up smoking.
Some of the techniques involved in this therapy are:
- Personalised problem-solving techniques to manage difficult situations or environments where you are used to smoking.
- Education about the process of quitting smoking will help you understand the challenges you are going to face. This helps in planning ahead and making one prepare for the situations.
- Changing the thinking patterns will benefit in substituting the thought of getting a cigarette with other thoughts, such as getting fresh air or any other alternative that prevents you from smoking.
- Social support depends from person to person. For some, individualised counselling is required whereas some would prefer to meet people who would encourage them to quit smoking. Try various techniques to find the one that is suitable for you.
How to stay on track?
There will be situations where you feel to give up entirely to your cravings. However, always think that quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do to yourself and your loved ones. Here are few ways to stick to the plan to quit smoking forever:
- Know the trigger points
Note down the trigger points that make you crave you to smoke. For example, a coffee break during office hours can be a trigger point. Avoid such situations, especially for the initial months by taking up other alternatives.
- Indulge in new activities
Try to start out with a new hobby that you were planning to do from so long. Do something that keeps you busy and reduces stress, like walking a dog. This will help you reach your goal of quitting smoking easily.
- Reward yourself
Always be proud of yourself. Don’t forget what you are doing is not easy. Therefore, whenever you reach a milestone, treat yourself with something you always wanted to eat or enjoy.
- Call for reinforcements
Stay in touch with your friends or family members who always wanted you to quit smoking. In fact, they will help you get through this tough time to avoid falling for the withdrawal symptoms. Either chat on the phone or go for a walk to commiserate your craving for the cigarette.
- Remind yourself with the benefits
Say out loud the benefits you will have by quitting smoking. This will help you stay motivated towards your goal. In fact, write them so that whenever you feel to smoke, you can read it out loud to avoid yourself falling to the craving.
Always remember, doing something to beat the desire is always better than doing nothing. Moreover, each time you avoid your craving to smoke, you’re one step closer to lead a happy and healthy life.