We all would agree to the fact that smoking is an addiction. No matter how it starts, smoking ends up taking a control over our urges and forcing us to become addicted. Most of the people start smoking to seek the thrill of it. Yet to a large population, it is more like conforming to their peer groups and takes shape of peer pressure. Whatever way you develop the habit, the consequence is getting trapped in a cycle (which is mostly vicious) of wanting to quit smoking and not being able to quit. And if you are not the one who smokes and are looking for tips to help a close person overcome the habit of smoking, this article will be of great help to you.
What is The Mechanism That creates Addiction?
Whenever you would have smoked a cigarette for the first time, you wouldn’t have liked the feel of it. It takes a number of puffs and trials to know how to smoke and to develop the habit. After all the efforts, the habit is created and it becomes hard to break the habit. Smoking is more than just an urge that you can easily press if you want to. The changes you undergo when you start smoking are not just psychological. It operates more on a biological level where a lot of neurotransmitters and body organs are involved. Let’s take a look at why it is difficult to come out of the habit and quit smoking.
Nicotine- An Extremely Habit-Forming Active Ingredient
When you smoke, you are taking in nicotine. You might already be knowing what nicotine is since it is the major component of a cigarette. When nicotine reaches your brain, it alters your mood. You feel better and more energetic. But it only lasts for a while after which you feel even more tired. Once you feel tired, you again smoke to reenergize. This is how the habit is formed and this is how you start craving for it.
Once you become a regular smoker and try to quit suddenly, it affects your functioning significantly since your brain is now used to regular doses of nicotine, not smoking would leave affect your cognitive functioning. Also, withdrawal creates anxiety, stress, irritability, and depression.
Why Should You Quit Smoking?
Smoking might seem to be a relieving solution to stress, headache, and other mood-related problems. But when you gain a clear knowledge of it actually does to your body, it is more taxing than rewarding. While the short-term benefits of smoking are hard to resist, the long-term problems that it comes with are extremely dangerous and painful. Here’s why you need to actually quit smoking.
How It Affects Your Respiratory System
This is one of the most apparent effects of smoking. Every time you are smoking a cigarette, you are inhaling chemicals that are extremely harmful to your lungs. If you think it is just the tar that is accumulating in your lungs and that after a certain time when you stop smoking, it will go away- you are wrong. Certain changes that your lungs undergo as the result of smoking are non-reversible and may become severe as you smoke more. You are gradually making your lungs suffer from conditions, like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and even being risked to lung cancer.
When you stop smoking suddenly, it creates certain temporary respiratory problems, like congestion, discomfort, and mucus production. However, these are positive signs since they mean your lungs have started to heal themselves after you quit smoking.
How It Affects Your Cardiovascular System
Smoking narrows your arteries and makes the blood flow difficult. So, your blood pressure rises. This means you have more chances of getting a stroke. If you have already had a stroke, heart attack, or underwent a bypass surgery, smoking makes it way more dangerous. The chances of losing your life increase significantly and you can’t expect a long life. More than anything, smoking creates major health problems that are not just difficult to treat but also extremely painful.
It Affects How You Look
In a long-term, as a smoker, you will experience aging way before you actually should. Smoking also affects all the aesthetic parts, like your teeth, nails, skin, and hair. Your teeth turn yellow from smoking. Also, your nails (both fingernails and toenails) become prone to fungal infections. Your skin loses the glow and become dry and looks dull. And smoking also causes hair fall and greying of hair.
It Affects the Health of Those around You
More than anything, your habit of smoking is not just dangerous for you. It is also risking the lives of people around you and making them prone to diseases and conditions related to smoking. When you exhale the smoke, people around you inhale it and are helplessly exposed to it. So even a person who is a non-smoker develops health risks that a smoker does.
It Causes Unwanted Changes in Your Sexuality
Whether you are a girl or a guy, when you smoke, you are reducing the blood flow to your genital areas. This affects by decreasing your sexual performance. It also meddles with the levels of sex-related hormones in your body. In women, the lubrication becomes less and decreases the chances of orgasm because of which there is a sense of dissatisfaction. In men, smoking affects erection and ejaculation.
How to Quit Smoking?
There’s a certain plan you need to come up with in order to quit smoking. Quitting it won’t be as easy as you might think for the first time. Also, it takes time to quit smoking and doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s a list of suggestions that will help you quit smoking. You can use these suggestions and come up with your own plan of action.
The first thing that you need to be able to put required efforts into quitting smoking is motivation. We’re not talking about a temporary hit of inspiration and then again succumbing to the habit. You have to realize what smoking does to your body. This is why there’s a list of reasons why you need to quit smoking. It is better if this motivation is born inside you rather than people around you constantly asking you to quit the habit. It might start as people persuading you but should definitely end up giving you a very personal and conscious reason to quit. It is only when you have enough intrinsic motivation that you will be able to fight the need to smoke and all the symptoms you experience when not smoking with strength.
Take It Slow
As already mentioned, you can’t get rid of the habit of smoking in a nick of time. You have to be very patient and consistent throughout. And there is a reason why it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are smoking about 8 to 10 cigarettes a day, your body knows it well. And more than knowing, your body has accustomed itself to functioning normally only when it gets those 8 to 10 cigarettes. When you abruptly cut off smoking completely, it becomes really difficult for your body to cope with a total cut off and function normally. As already mentioned, you will experience serious mood swings, anxiety, irritation, and intense depression. This is why you have to be wise about it and know how to quit the habit without making it too difficult for your body.
The solution is to go slow. You should decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke slowly till the point when you don’t smoke at all and your body doesn’t need it anymore. Cut one cigarette from the number of cigarettes you smoke initially. Follow this for a certain amount of time and then again decrease your dose. This is how the withdrawal symptoms that you experience won’t be too intense or problematic for you.
Follow The 21 Days Rule
There is a proven rule that when you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit. You probably developed a dependency on smoking after 21 days. Similar ways, when you decrease the number of cigarettes each time, follow it for 21 days and then decrease one again. For instance, if you smoke 8 cigarettes a day, make it 7 and smoke 7 cigarettes for 21 days. After 21 days, make it 6 and again follow that for 21 days.
There is no doubt about the fact that when you start to quit smoking, you end up craving more and more for it. This is when you have to replace your smoking routine with something else that is healthy, or not harmful at least. Think of something that you love to eat or drink and every time you feel like smoking, have that instead. For example, if you love chocolates, have a bar of chocolate when you feel like smoking. When you do this, you are giving your body something else and trying to satiate it by diverting your mind off smoking.
There are various smoking alternatives available in the market. These help you come out of the habit of smoking. Most of them are chewable tablets or gums that have ingredients that help your body fight the addiction to smoking. However, it would be better to consult a doctor before having any such tablet or gum. Also, find out if it suits you. A lot of people feel nauseous and throw up when they these tablets or gums.
Ask Your Family And Friends For Help
At times the motivation with which we start doing something soon starts declining. This is when we need help from our near and dear ones to stand up and fight. When you are trying to quit smoking, it is a great idea to declare your decision out loud and make your intentions clear. The clear benefits of doing so are- you will have a great source of external motivation and monitoring. At times, you might become weak and want to smoke again, or “just one cigarette”. This is when your family members and friends will make sure to stop you from doing so.
Pursue Your Hobbies And Interests
When you’ve decided to quit smoking, it is the best time to do what you love to. It helps you get your mind off of the fact that you aren’t smoking. It is the best distraction since it also keeps you interested. The symptoms of withdrawal from smoking are depression and anxiety. When you pursue your hobbies, like singing, dancing, painting, you are also treating your depression and anxiety or even preventing yourself from being depressed or anxious.
Besides pursuing your hobbies, you can even go for exercising and working out. It is a nice time to take the best care of your body and pamper it. While quitting smoking might seem taxing, the way your body changes from exercising will compensate for the stress you are going through.
Keep Reminding Yourself Of Its Ill Effects
No one would ever be able to negate the fact that smoking is only harmful. No matter how amazing you feel after you light up a cigarette, what it is doing to your body is intimidating. Keep reading through the effects of smoking on your body. It gives you a bigger reason to overcome the cravings and respect your body. Picturing how smoking is slowly eating up your organs is a great way to stop smoking. It might seem scary for you to do it, but that is the real purpose. the more you think of what the reality of smoking is, the more you will gain a conscious motive to stop smoking.
Deciding to quit smoking is an amazing thing. Once you break the habit and start living without smoking, you would clearly be able to witness how your body feels amazing without the toxins from smoking. Besides that, it is a decision that proves you are responsible for your life and you respect your life. No matter how cheesy it might sound, life really is precious and there are better things you can give your body than a pack of cigarettes. This decision also helps you take care of people you love and people who surround you.