We all know that smoking is bad for us. Some people find it easier to stop smoking than others. Smoking is chemically and behaviourally addictive which makes it a habit that is difficult to quit. When you stop smoking your brain continues to crave nicotine. You may also find it more difficult to deal with stress because you have nothing to do with your hands and mouth.
The Government has banned smoking in all public places in an attempt to make the habit socially unacceptable. This ruling has made an impact on smokers as nearly 2 million smokers have quit since the ban a decade ago. (Source: Cancer Research).
There are many different ways to stop smoking such as; group meetings, e-cigarettes, nicotine replacement gum and patches, medication and sheer willpower. The Ontario Tobacco Survey calculated that it takes smokers up to 30 attempts to stop smoking. Therefore it can be safely assumed that smoking is a difficult habit to give up.
Why Do We Become Addicted To Cigarettes?
Most people become smokers in their teens after bowing down to peer pressure. Often the first drag is disgusting and you can taste every single one of the 70+ chemicals inhaled. This unpleasantness is not a deterrent as many overcome nausea and vile taste to develop a lifelong habit.
We become addicted to the nicotine which activates the neurotransmitter dopamine. This produces feelings of pleasure and reward. Dopamine is believed to play a major role in all addictions making it difficult to give things up.
Often smokers congregate in a group and enjoy socialising while smoking. It also provides respite from your mundane job if you can go on a cigarette break. Even taking a long drag on a cigarette can be pleasurable. We get used to lighting up when stressed and feel comforted by the smoking action.
If you stop smoking you will also give up all of these habits and coping strategies. The chemical addiction and physical habits make smoking very addictive.
Ways To Stop Smoking
It may take many attempts to stop smoking so you shouldn’t get disheartened if you fail at first. Luckily there are many different ways to help you quit so you will eventually find the one that is right for you.
This hardcore method involves you never smoking another cigarette again ever. Some people manage to stop smoking this way very successfully. Others have faltered after three days when withdrawal symptoms kick in. Many people have to change their habits and keep away from other smokers to succeed. Setting goals and rewarding yourself may help compensate for the lack of nicotine in your system.
Stop Smoking Apps
Stop smoking apps are available for download on Google Play and Apple App Store. Many are free. The NHS also has a free App you can use. Most work on the principle of rewarding you for your efforts, highlighting how much money you have saved, health improvement and online chat with other quitters.
Both are a less toxic way to recreate the inhaling and hand action of smoking. E-cigarettes look very similar to traditional ones but are electronically charged. Vaping involves liquid with or without nicotine that is heated and inhaled. Compared to smoking these methods are much healthier and can wean you off the habit. However there is dispute to the health repercussions of using these methods.
Sometimes it is easier to stop smoking if others are trying too. The sense of camaraderie and group motivation can inspire people to quit. They will also help you to overcome slip-ups and continue your stop smoking challenge.
Often the craving for nicotine breaks our resolve and prevents us from giving up smoking. Nicotine replacement patches, gum, sprays and lozenges can prevent a relapse. These can be bought over the counter and are easily available. If you quell your desire for nicotine you will not be tempted to smoke.
Champix is a course of medication that helps you to stop smoking by mimicking the effects of nicotine. It reduces cravings and mood changes experienced when you quit smoking. There is a starter and continuation course available. Champix is prescription only and you will have to make an appointment with a doctor to have them.
If you are finding it difficult to give up smoking be comforted in the fact deciding to give up is the biggest step. As soon as the time is right you will succeed.
By Parv Sagoo (Nov 2017)