Quitting smoking

Since the 1950s, evidence of the harms of smoking has begun to accumulate. That pushed lots of countries to enact new laws and impose restrictions on smoking to reduce those harms. One of the harms of smoking is addiction, as defined by scientists and medical practitioners. Therefore, quitting smoking is an addiction treatment process similar to treating any other addiction or disease, especially when we notice that it has become a difficult issue for smokers because they are addicted to what they smoke. 

Causes of addiction

The causes of addiction are varied and differ from one person to another and from one age to another. They can be divided into several psychological causes and physical causes.

Psychological causes of addiction

Smoking may be a way to relieve and dispel loneliness and boredom. in certain cases, it can begin as just a simple habit and then develop like any other habit to become part of the smoker’s character and nature. Then turns from a mere habit to addiction.

Physical factors of addiction 

The main physical factor of addiction stems from the fact that cigarette tobacco contains nicotine which is absorbed from the lungs and oral cavity and reaches the bloodstream that carries it and delivers it to all parts of the body. When the body gets used to a certain amount of nicotine, it continues to demand it as a necessary requirement.

The effect of nicotine on the body

Nicotine affects several areas of the body, especially:

The brain

 Nicotine activates the system of sensations that generate in the smoker a sense of pleasure and calm.

The adrenal gland

 Nicotine stimulates the secretion of adrenaline, which creates a sense of alertness. It also activates the secretion of glucose, which creates a feeling of satiety.

The sensations stated above may be pleasant but, in reality, they are not, and may have disastrous effects on the body.

Negative effects of smoking on the body

The main complications of smoking include the following:

Respiratory diseases

Smoking can cause many respiratory diseases, including:

  • Emphysema of the lungs
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • shortness of breath
  • Increased risk of lung infection

Cancer

The risk of developing different types of cancer may increase, such as:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Throat Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Blood cancer (Emphysema)

Narrowing of the blood vessels

The narrowing of the blood vessels is no less dangerous than the effects stated above, as they may lead to:

  • Heart attacks
  • Apoplexy
  • Ulcers
  • Decreased ability to tolerate cold
  • A feeling of numbness in the fingers
  • Impotence in men
  • Low fertility in women

Effect on human appearance

Smoking may cause changes in the color of the skin, teeth, and nails.

Symptoms of quitting smoking

When you quit smoking, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

Treatments of quitting smoking symptoms

Quitting smoking is not an easy thing. But it prevents many diseases. Listed below are the treatment methods for quitting smoking.

Quitting smoking at once

This method of giving up smoking means immediate and complete cessation of smoking, This method is suitable for people who smoke a small amount of tobacco, and who have smoked for a relatively short period of time.

Quitting smoking in gradual steps

This method means quitting smoking gradually. i.e. reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day or reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

This method of quitting smoking is suitable for people who smoke large amounts of cigarettes per day or who have smoked for a long period of time.

Psychotherapy

We can treat the psychological symptoms of quitting smoking through support groups, psychotherapy, guide books, and visiting websites that provide guidance and information on how to quit smoking.

Avoid triggers

The basic element in making the attempt of quitting smoking successfully is to avoid situations and places where cigarette is smoked like parties, cafés, bars, etc. When you are in these places, the urgent need to smoke tobacco is likely to be at its highest level.  

Drinking coffee and stress can also generate a strong desire for smoking. If you cannot avoid these triggering factors, deal with them as some of the life challenges which one must overcome. Be strong enough and don’t allow yourself to fall into smoking setbacks.

Look for distractors

Also, one should look for smoking distractors, such as exercising, writing diaries, drawing, or getting engaged in whatever activity. 

Fighting the smoking initial factors

 It is also necessary to try to confront the factor that caused the need to smoke cigarettes the first time, and then try to avoid feeling the craving for smoking.

Delay

If you feel like giving in to your craving for tobacco, tell yourself to wait another 10 minutes. Then, do something to distract yourself during that period of time. Try going to a public area where smoking is not allowed. These simple tricks may be enough to delay the craving for tobacco.

Chew something

Give your mouth something to chew so that you can fight tobacco cravings. Chew sugarless gum or hard candy, or snack on raw carrots, celery, nuts, sunflower seeds, or anything that creates a feeling of satiety.

Exercising

Physical activity has the power to reduce the intensity of the desire for tobacco. Even a short period of physical activity, such as going upstairs and downstairs a few times, can eliminate tobacco cravings. 

If you have to stay at home or in the office, try squats, deep knee bends, push-ups, or running from one corner to another. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, try prayer, embroidery, woodwork, etc. Or do chores, such as vacuuming or filling out forms as a distraction.

Relaxation activities

Smoking is a way of dealing with stress for smokers. So resisting the craving for tobacco can be stressful for these people. You can relieve stress by using some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation, massage, or listening to soothing music.

Request for support

Contact a support group member, friend, or family member, to help you in your efforts to fight the tobacco craving. Talk to that person on the phone, go out for a walk, laugh together, comfort each other, etc.

Web browsing

Join the online smoking cessation program. Or read a blog written by someone who was able to quit smoking or someone who, like you,  is still resisting the craving for tobacco. Learn from other people’s success stories and get inspired by them.

Remind yourself of the benefits of quitting smoking

Write or tell yourself, maybe in a loud voice, the reasons why you took the decision to give up smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These benefits may include:

  • Better feelings 
  • Significant improvement in health
  • Helping loved ones to quit smoking
  • Saving Money

Remember that trying a certain way to beat a craving for tobacco is much better than doing nothing. Every time you fight tobacco cravings, you get one step closer to your goal of eliminating tobacco completely.

 Drug therapy

 We can treat the physical need for nicotine by using nicotine substitutes that can be obtained in the form of:

  • Over-the-counter nicotine patches, chewing gum, or sucking pellets
  • Electric cigarettes
  • Medically prescribed nicotine nasal sprays
  • Prescribed nicotine-free drugs for quitting smoking such as Zipan and Chantix

Nicotine replacement therapies have a short-term effect, But they can help you overcome a strong craving for smoking. Moreover, they are safe to use if combined with long-acting nicotine patches, or with a nicotine-free medication.

Lots of smokers have recently resorted to personal vaporizers (electronic cigarettes) as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Nevertheless, health professionals need to do more research to determine the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes on quitting smoking and the long-term safety of using such devices.

 Clinical research has found that the most effective and best way to treat the harm of addiction and quitting smoking symptoms during the period of smoking cessation is to combine psychological support with drug therapy that inhibits nicotine receptors. W)e can also use nicotine replacement therapy.

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