Virtually everyone knows that smoking leads to a number of preventable diseases and even death. Smoking negatively affects a huge part of a person’s health and lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 16 million people suffer from debilitating diseases as a result of smoking cigarettes. As smokers grow older, they find it hard to perform certain strenuous activities because of the damage to the lungs.
It can be quite overwhelming trying to quit smoking. It involves not only breaking a long time dependence on the addictive substances in cigarettes but also a complete change of lifestyle and habits. People who succeed in quitting cigarette smoking enjoy a better lifestyle and improved quality of health.
Why quit smoking?
Cigarette smokers are aware of the health implications of the habit, but that is not enough motivation to get them to stop. It takes serious willpower and lots of help before people can break this powerful addiction.
The threat of cancer is not all a smoker has to fear. Smoking cigarettes apart from damaging the lungs, also over time damages other organs and tissues in the body.
While lots of smokers feel that the damage to their bodies is already done and so quitting will not having any effect, the reverse is actually the case. Quitting smoking is beneficial to the body regardless of the stage of addiction or when the smoker stops.
The journey to quitting
As stated earlier, it takes a lot of willpower to break smoking addiction. However, willpower doesn’t just mean making up your mind to quit, it also includes doing anything it takes to defeat the habit and win in quitting.
Here are different techniques that can help you quit smoking.
More than 90% of smokers who want to quit smoking attempt to do so without the aid of nicotine replacement or any other form of therapy or medication. This technique is called going cold turkey.
Even though lots of smokers try to quit this way, it is the least effective. This method is more challenging and requires lots of willpower because smokers have no therapy to fall back on. It is however the fastest method for people who need to quit smoking urgently due to severe medical complications.
There are a wide variety of replacement therapies for individuals suffering from nicotine addiction. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) has a higher rate of success as about 70% of smokers who attempt quitting with the aid of NRT end up successful.
Nicotine replacement therapy involves the use of a number of techniques such as nasal sprays, inhalers and gum. All of these provide a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Replacement therapies also come in non-nicotine forms. These include drugs and medications that can help in quitting smoking. These drugs can also be used in combination with NRT to boost the chances of success. Some of the popular drugs that aid in quitting smoking are Bupropion and Varenicline.
Bupropion is an antidepressant that help reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal while Varenicline works on the nicotine receptors in the brain, making nicotine less pleasurable to consume.
These drugs have certain side effects such as nausea, headaches and insomnia. However, people who want to quit smoking find it easier to do so with the aid of these drugs or other forms of nicotine therapy.
For people who want to quit smoking without giving up the psychological attachment involved, vaping provides the ideal solution. The act of smoking and the rituals involved in lighting up and holding a stick of cigarette is part of what makes up the addiction.
You find smokers who are trying to quit constantly tapping their pockets looking for a stick and matches. Most times, what they need is the familiarity of holding and puffing.
Vaping involves using a vaporizer to inhale vapors from one, or a combination of different aromatic ingredients to simulate the experience of smoking. Vaping helps smokers go through the familiar motions of smoking without actually smoking a cigarette. People who vape can continue the tradition of smoking without actually taking in tobacco smoke or harmful chemicals.
There are a number of names given to tools used in vaping, such as e-cigarette, e-cigs and vaporizers. A report in the British Medical Journal claims that vapers are more likely to successfully quit smoking cigarettes than smokers who want to stop but don’t vape. It has also been suggested that e-cigarette users are more likely to make a commitment to quit smoking in the first place.
In the US, studies suggest that the substantial increase in vaping accounts for the significant statistical reduction in smoking at the population level.What this means in essence is that people who vape are more likely to successfully and completely stop the use of regular cigarettes. Vaping is now extremely common with more than 3 million adults vaping in the UK alone.
Some people pick up smoking as a result of certain problems, life patterns or the company they keep. Cognitive behavioral therapy looks at the root cause of why people smoke and try to change the thought patterns that lead to cigarette cravings, teaching them new and constructive ways to manage anxiety, stress and the other problems they try to avoid by smoking.
Behavioral therapy has a high level of success, especially when combined with replacement therapy or smoking cessation drugs. The only downside is that competent cognitive behavioral specialists are rather expensive and not everyone can afford them.
Staying smoke free
While quitting is hard, it takes a bit more effort to stay smoke free. Smokers who quit experience sudden cravings once in a while and it takes determination to avoid going back.
So, it is important that you make a conscious effort to stay smoke free. Look for something to keep you motivated every day until you completely overcome the cravings for cigarette. Engage in physical activities such as running or working out and always hang around people that support your decision to quit. Quitting may not be easy, but the benefits are worth it.