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Do Not Give Up – Smoking Cessation is Possible
Smoking is a very dangerous addiction, but people cannot give it up easily. Find out why smoking is so addictive, what are the resulting problems, what are the treatment methods, what are the benefits of quitting smoking and much more about smoking here.
Why is smoking so addictive?
Smoking rushes nicotine to the brain and is the fastest delivery method; smoking also gives smokers precise control over their nicotine intake. Therefore, “speed and control” greatly enhances the addictive effect of nicotine on the brain. Smoking actually introduces nicotine into the pulmonary beds of the lungs from where nicotine is directly transported to the brain within seconds.
Nicotine mimics the neurotransmitter acetylcholine; it binds and activates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Once nicotine reaches the brain, it spreads rapidly to activated brain regions such as the reward, memory, and learning centers. These trigger receptors cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and addiction. So, in order to maintain these dopamine levels, a person must smoke frequently. Smoking may actually maintain dopamine levels by reducing the enzymes that break it down or by increasing the level of molecules that inhibit dopamine scavenging.
Simultaneously, nicotine also influences other areas of the brain that control mood, energy levels and memory and cause lasting neurological changes. As a result, the brain gets used to a constant dose of nicotine and so when you quit smoking, you experience withdrawal symptoms. It also makes it a hard habit to kick.
What is passive smoking and what are the risks?
Passive smoking can be defined as the involuntary inhalation of second-hand tobacco smoke. This second-hand tobacco smoke is a mixture of smoke exhaled by active smokers and smoke released by smoldering tobacco, diluted with ambient air. Passive smoking usually occurs in closed environments, but open environments are just as prone. Passive smokers are also exposed to the carcinogens and toxic components present in second-hand tobacco smoke.
Passive smoking can have serious effects on an individual’s health. The health effects of passive smoking are as severe and debilitating as smoking itself. The risks described below have been linked to passive smoking.
Cancer – Approximately 3,000 cancer-related deaths of non-smokers are directly attributed to passive smoking each year.
Heart disease – About 50,000 deaths of non-smokers are due to heart problems and may be linked to passive smoking.
Respiratory diseases and problems – Second-hand smoke leads to higher rates of lower respiratory tract infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia. It is also a contributing factor to upper respiratory irritation and infections as well as decreased lung function.
Ear infections – Passive smoking is responsible for an increased number of ear infections.
Low birth weight – Second-hand smoke is responsible for 10,000 low birth weight births per year and is a major contributor to many infant deaths.
Asthma – Second-hand smoke is responsible for nearly 8,000 new cases of asthma each year.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Passive smoking is linked to nearly 2,000 cases of SIDS each year.
Stillbirths – Passive smoking is also responsible for an increased risk of stillbirth and spontaneous abortion.
What problems can arise from smoking?
Smoking is harmful and the dangers of smoking are serious. Tobacco smoke contains 43 cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds in addition to 400 other toxins, including nicotine and tar. Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco, and the tar congests the lungs, inhibiting normal breathing. In addition, smoking causes lung and throat cancer, heart disease, emphysema, as well as bronchial and pulmonary disorders.
Non-smokers are also at risk of developing smoking-related diseases through passive smoking. A pregnant woman who smokes increases the risk that her baby will die of SIDS, be underweight and have behavioral problems. The world’s leading cause of death and disability, smoking-related diseases cause 30 million deaths a year.
What if he wants to quit smoking?
Quitting smoking is the hardest thing. So, to quit smoking, you:
- Must have a desire to quit smoking and create a strong will to avoid smoking relapse
- Must learn about the effects of smoking, understand its consequences, and come to terms with the fact that you need to quit smoking and follow, complete, and maintain a quit plan
Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, half the battle is won. because most smokers don’t think about quitting. Smokers often try to quit more than once before they succeed. But continuing to try also requires courage and perseverance; it also shows how committed you are to the cause.
Once you learn about the dangers of smoking, you will definitely feel more determined to quit smoking. Knowing more about the health implications is enough to get most people to quit quickly.
You must prepare to quit smoking. You need to stay away from friends, situations or places that require you to smoke. Surround yourself with people who can help you with your initiative.
If you can’t quit smoking all at once, don’t hesitate to use quit smoking aids like medications and NRTs. Most people are able to quit smoking and stay quit with outside help.
If you want to quit smoking and remain a quitter, you need to stay away from temptation and persistent cravings for nicotine. A “slip” will only lead to a relapse, so stay motivated to stay smoke free.
What treatment options are available to help quit smoking?
Some people have a strong determination to quit smoking via the cold turkey method; this is achieved by sheer will alone. However, most smokers find it difficult to quit in this way and therefore need treatment to help them quit. Some men and women can become smoke-free just through counseling, but their numbers can be counted at the fingertips. Counseling helps build a person’s motivation to quit smoking and keeps them motivated until they are successful in quitting.
Many smokers take advantage of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to help them quit smoking. This therapy aims to relieve a person of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal by delivering nicotine externally. This measured intake of nicotine through nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine lozenges, lozenges, nicotine nasal spray, and inhalers, works well for some people. At the same time, these people are well protected from other harmful toxins present in cigarette smoke. However, since NRTs provide nicotine, there is always a risk that a person will become addicted to nicotine again.
Currently, non-nicotine smoking cessation medications such as Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix Varenicline (known as Champix in Europe) are the most advanced and preferred methods of quitting smoking. These treatment drugs have been approved by the FDA as effective smoking cessation medications. But, Chantix is preferred over Zyban because it not only relieves nicotine withdrawal symptoms but also reduces smoking pleasure.
Success rates are much higher with the smoking cessation drug Chantix compared to that of the smoking cessation pill Zyban; but, both drugs have their share of side effects. While Chantix causes nausea, constipation, flatulence, insomnia, change in taste, increased appetite, fatigue, dry mouth and bloated feeling, Zyban causes dryness mouth, insomnia, changes in appetite, restlessness, headaches, nervousness, skin rashes and seizures.
What are the benefits of quitting smoking?
The benefits of smoking cessation treatments are many. You will start noticing remarkable changes in your body. Your sense of smell and taste improves, you breathe easier and your smoking hack starts to fade; the long-term effects of withdrawal actually signal the start of a healthier life. More importantly, you improve your chances of living longer because you now have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and several types of cancers. You can quit smoking and enjoy benefits such as:
- Live longer and enjoy a better quality of life
- Find the love and respect of your loved ones
- Save time spent smoking for other effective uses
- Live healthier by preventing smoking-related diseases
- Feel better, have clean, unstained teeth
- Savor the taste of food
- Have healthier skin
- Enjoy a better sex life; quitting smoking is known to improve fertility and reduce your risk of developing erectile dysfunction
- Giving birth to healthy children
- Be better off financially
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