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Quit Smoking or Choose a Different Nicotine Delivery System?
What many nonsmokers don’t realize is that smoking has some benefits. If not, it wouldn’t maintain its hold on so many people. It appears to be universally assumed that smokers want to quit smoking. Truth is, many want to want to quit. Because if someone really wants to quit smoking, they will. For too many smokers, the desire to quit is simply not strong enough to motivate them.
Perhaps its time for a new approach to the cigarette habit. Perhaps its time to simply admit you are a nicotine addict and then decide what, if anything, you are going to do about it. Maybe what is needed for hardcore smokers is not cessation, but a different delivery system for the nicotine.
Nicotine patches and nicotine gum are ostensibly for the purpose of quitting smoking. However, taken in a different light, they offer cleaner and less damaging methods of delivering nicotine to the addict. Using these systems, an addict can get his fix without destroying his lungs, smelling like an old ashtray, or struggling to find a smoking area within normal walking distance.
Cigarette smoke contains chemicals, tar and poisons. It is generally accepted that the dangerous substances in the smoke are the cause of most health problems associated with smoking, rather than the nicotine being the culprit. If the smoke could be eliminated and the nicotine retained, would nicotine addicts give up smoking? It’s a question worth asking.
Let’s say you are a smoker. Not just a smoker, but a dedicated smoker. One who enjoys the habit in spite of the ostracism, the health risks, the smell, the bad press, the dirty looks and the assaults on your character that smokers now must endure. Let’s say you have no intention of giving up your nicotine. Might you consider a different delivery system for your drug of choice? Here are some options:
Nicotine patches. Nicotine is delivered transdermally through a patch applied to the skin. The benefits include that calm and constant feeling of having just enjoyed a cigarette, no bad smoke smell clinging to your clothes and hair, no tar and poisions going into your lungs, and no need to scramble to find a place where you can smoke. The drawback is that you might miss the behavior and actions of smoking a cigarette. It’s possible that going to a private place and pantomiming the act of smoking might relieve this.
Lozenges or gum. These closely mimic the habit of building up an urge for nicotine and then satisfying that urge. However, you do not inhale smoke to get your nicotine. The advantages are they are oral, like smoking, and include the same benefits of patches. But, the relief from nicotine urges is sporadic rather than constant like that provided by patches. Still, you might miss the smoking behavior and mechanics of lighting and inhaling on a cigarette.
Nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays. Self-dosing with these methods offers about the same benefits as the other delivery systems, although there are some side effects and a potential for greater dependency. Still, most smokers realize these risks are the lesser of evils when compared to inhaling hot cigarette smoke with its intrinsic tars and poisons.
Electronic cigarettes. E-cigarettes probably come the closest to satisfying both the nicotine craving and the urge for the behavior of smoking. There are many to choose from. They are battery powered, look like a cigarette, and emit a vapor which is not smoke. There is some controversy over the safety of these products and the content of the vapor. However, we must again compare them to a real cigarette. With that perspective, they don’t seem so evil. The disadvantages to e-cigarettes is they are heavier than the real thing and do not produce as much vapor when inhaled as an actual cigarette will produce in smoke. Still, most smokers will admit they feel e-cigarettes present a far safer alternative to real cigarettes. Another advantage is a smoker can keep his or her smoking behavior with one huge exception. He must no longer be banished from others to “smoke” as the e-cigarette does not produce actual smoke.
If a smoker really desires to quit and just needs a little help and direction, the absolute best way is cold turkey. And the best method on the market, in my opinion, is the book by Allen Carr entitled The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. You don’t even have to quit smoking until you have finished the book! By then, you will probably not only want to, but feel like you can accomplish it.
Conversely, if you wish to smoke more cigarettes and ruin your health quicker, there is a book to help you do just that. For a tongue-in-cheek look at self-help programs, check out The Easy Way to Start Smoking by Cockerill & Owen.
In conclusion, smokers are castigated for their habit. Many people started smoking back when it was glorified in movies and encouraged by Uncle Sam. There was a time when some doctors even promoted smoking. So smokers from that era feel betrayed, tricked, and set up. What was considered fashionable when they started is now considered abominable and smokers are treated like pariahs in many circles. If quitting is simply not an option, perhaps a different delivery system will allow the smokers of this world to continue the habit they enjoy without suffering the accompanying rude treatment by nonsmokers and health risks of cigarette consumption. Maybe it’s time to admit the addiction and manage it, instead of insisting it be cured.
(This article represents strictly my opinions on the subject, and is not intended to encourage or discourage any personal choice or behavior.)