- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How To Stop Smoking Effectively
How to stop smoking
How to stop smoking effectively : Introduction
How many times have you read this title : “How to stop smoking“? The messages are more or less the same in all these articles. This article is no different. Then why waste time writing on the same topic again? Just hope my approach may kindle your desire to stop smoking and motivate you to put real effort to stop smoking once and for all, for good.
Researchers have found that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than illegal drugs like marijuana and ecstasy. They were based on these three factors in ranking the harmfulness of each drug :
- Physical harm to the user
- Addictive potential of the drug
- The drug's overall impact on society
So it is time to seriously consider to stop smoking. There are millions of people who tried to stop smoking but failed miserably. On the brighter side, there are also millions who put in great effort to stop smoking and succeeded! The methods to stop smoking are readily available. Why people using similar methods may have different success rate? I feel the reasons lie in the motivation and also the different constituents in different people. Certain methods suit certain people. I don’t think one method can do justice to all. It is also recommended that you try several methods in combination. My suggestion is that instead of trying out a combination, just choose one that appears to suit your temperament. If this failed then you can still adopt the combination method.
How to stop smoking effectively : What is in a cigarette?
Many may think that this is a silly question. It’s obvious; a cigarette contains dried tobacco leaves. Yes, no? It’s not that simple. If you make the cigarette yourself, then it might be true. But you always buy cigarettes produced by the commercial cigarette manufacturers. This is where you have more dangers smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes contain the drug nicotine. This is bad enough. But cigarette manufacturers add chemicals to them; ammonia, lead, tar, cyanide, you name them. To attract your taste buds, they add cocoa, coffee, and of course, menthol. According to research done by the American Cancer Society, there are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke. Unbelievable! And out of these, 60 chemicals are known to cause cancer!
The disgusting consequences of smoking
Gone are those days that it was stylish and socially desirable to smoke. But sadly in Asian countries, this tendency to believe so, is still very glaring. In our country (Malaysia), we have millions of foreign manual workers from neighboring countries. One trait that you see in them is smoking. I don’t think in this case they feel stylish or socially desirable. I feel it is just their social lifestyle. All their friends smoke, so might as well follow. I may be wrong. But just the same, smoking is disgusting. If you have a different opinion, I plead that you stop reading this article now, for it is about the bad effects of smoking and how to stop smoking.
Studies show that alcohol and tobacco rank amongst the top ten most dangerous substances used by humans. USA statistics show that smoking is the main cause of preventable diseases and death in American adults. Apart from that, secondary or second-hand smoke kills tens of thousands of people who never smoke in their lives. On the average, smokers die 13 years earlier than non-smokers! Be forewarned; if you continue to smoke, you may be one of the estimated 443,000 adults who will die each year from a disease or complication attributable to smoking!
Let’s list down the disgusting and health endangering consequences of smoking:
- You stink to high heavens.
- Your body stinks, your clothes stink, your room stinks and your breath stinks.
- You may suffer from gum diseases.
- You have yellow teeth with nicotine stain in between.
- Your incessant coughing irritates everyone.
- You may have high blood pressure.
- You may just collapse anytime from stroke or heart attack.
- You are an ideal candidate for heart diseases. Smoking increases your risk of heart diseases two to four times compared to a non-smoker.
- Your lungs are easily damaged by smoking giving rise to respiratory diseases; risk of lung cancer increases, for smoking male 23 times, female 13 times.
- You aged more rapidly.
- Your reproductive ability may be affected.
- You are an ideal candidate for diabetes.
- You may suffer from thyroid disease.
- Your bones and joints may be weakened.
- Babies born to smoking mothers may have a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- You may be a victim to age-related macular degeneration, a progressive condition that is the number one cause of blindness in people over the age of 60 throughout the world.
- You may suffer from hiatal hernia, a condition which causes pain behind the breast bone, heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, and chronic blurping.
How to stop smoking effectively : Now the good news
Here’s the good news. The moment you are no longer a smoker, your risks for many diseases and health complications begin to fall. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, one year after you smoke your last cigarette, your increased risks of heart disease and stroke are reduced by half. Fifteen years later, the risks would be similar to those who never smoke.
These good news should be good enough reasons for you to want to quit smoking.
How to stop smoking effectively : The methods
As a reminder, there is no best method to stop smoking. It depends on your temperament and personal choice. Contrary to popular advice, my opinion is that you should use one method first. Failing which you can then follow up with other combination of options.
The most important success factors are to stay motivated, be resilient and believe that you can quit this bad smoking habit for the sake of your health and also those who are near you. Remember, smoking is both a psychological habit and a physical addiction.
Reducing the intake of nicotine will initially cause your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and craving for the cigarette. You may replace your smoking craving with mints, chewing gum and nuts. In addition you should drink plenty of water and fruit juice to flush out toxins from your body and reduce the withdrawal symptoms. There is also a lot of stress trying not to lit a cigarette. Perhaps lots of physical exercise will help alleviate this urge to smoke another cigarette.
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs)
NRTs include nicotine patches, nicotine gums, nicotine lozenges, nicotine inhalers and even stop-smoking pills. Basically, these therapies supply a limited amount of nicotine to the body without having to smoke, thus avoiding inhaling the poisonous gases found in cigarettes. In the process, the person will be able to completely rid of the craving for nicotine and stop smoking. This type of treatment helps the smokers to break their psychological addiction, and enables them to learn new behavior and coping skills.
Nicotine patches : Nicotine patches are easily available over the counter. The patch is designed to release a limited amount of nicotine. Over time, the frequency of use is reduced as well as switching to lower dosage patches, until the smoking urge is eliminated. One “disadvantage” is that you cannot smoke while using the patch or the risk of nicotine overdose may cause heart attack and paralysis.
Nicotine gums : These are also available over the counter. Of course, this is no ordinary chewing gum. You need to follow strict instructions to be effective. Normally, the gum is chewed for only a few minutes and then placed between your gum and inner cheek for 30 minutes. As your craving to smoke becomes less, you can then reduce the dosage or chew less often, until you kick the habit.
Nicotine inhalers : As the name suggests, you inhale from the inhaling device which releases vaporized liquid nicotine in the mouth and throat. Over time, you reduce the number of times inhaling, and hopefully in the end you are able to stop the smoking habit. This method is not recommended for the elderly and pregnant women, because of possible side effects and complications.
Nicotine nasal sprays : This is quite similar to the nicotine inhaler, except that the nicotine is sprayed direct into the nose.
Electronic cigarettes : This e-cigarette as it is commonly called is a battery-operated device which looks like an ordinary cigarette. This e-cigarette releases a purer form of liquid nicotine into a vapor. You smoke it like smoking an ordinary cigarette. However, it is not a proven safe method. The FDA does not recommend this device as it has not been evaluated for safety. Some analyses have shown that the vapor is toxic.
There are some prescription drugs approved by the FDA for smoking cessation. These drugs do not contain nicotine, but altering chemicals and nicotine receptors in your brain to reduce cravings for nicotine and lessen withdrawal symptoms. As there is no nicotine in the drugs, you may be allowed to have a few cigarettes at the beginning of the therapy. Drugs like Zyban, Wellbutrin and Chantix are prescribed under doctor supervision.
My opinion is that it is best to avoid these prescription drugs when you have better options.
Other alternative therapies
Hypnosis: This is done by a qualified smoking cessation hypnotherapist. The technique is to put you in deep relaxed mental state wherein you will be in a relaxed and receptive mental condition where effective positive suggestions are repeated into your subconscious mind to strengthen your resolve to quit smoking and increase your negative aversion towards smoking. The hypnotherapist will also identify “unconscious triggers” that are conditions that trigger your body to crave for a cigarette, like time of the day and after a meal. the hypnotherapist will then try to replace the cigarette-craving response to these triggers with other healthier responses.
Acupuncture: This method uses tiny needles to stimulate certain vital points of the body to help reduce nicotine craving and ease withdrawal symptoms. These needle points and vibrations are believed to trigger the release of endorphins, the natural pain relievers, which will help the body to relax.
Behavioral Therapy: Nicotine addiction is related to bad habitual behavior involved in smoking. Behavioral therapy helps the smoker to learn new coping skills to break the smoking habit.
To find a local behavioral therapist, check with your doctor or search at the
Motivational therapy: This is more of a self-help type therapy. Read books and search the internet for stop-smoking pointers. Self-motivation is the key to this therapy. This will also include joining counseling and stop-smoking groups. Relaxing-type meditation is another complementary technique to help you relax and ease withdrawal anxieties.
What about my theory? All my friends said it will never work. I told them it was very easy to quit smoking without any therapy. Just smoke 1 cigarette less each day, and wallah! in no time you smoke no more! Sound logical isn't it? Why not you try this theory of mine. Please let me know if you succeeded.
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