How to quit smoking

How to quit smoking

Quitting smoking and getting rid of nicotine addiction is much easier than you might think, even for heavy smokers

Electronic cigarettes: the models

Index

  • Why stop
  • Tips for quitting
    • Write your reasons
    • Understanding why you smoke
    • Find alternatives
    • Stop permanently
    • The support of the groups
  • Remedies

Why stop

There are so many reasons to quit smoking and it is impossible to list them all. First, we should say goodbye to cigarettes for obvious health reasons. Nicotine and above all the countless chemicals present in cigarettes, combined with those that are formed in the combustion process, cause infinite damage to our body, generating free radicals and more. It is quite intuitive to understand how cigarette smoke irritates and damages all the mucous membranes and tissues with which it comes into contact, therefore the mouth, gums, throat and the entire respiratory system, including the bronchi and lungs. Nicotine also causes direct damage to blood vessels, heart, stomach, kidneys and bladder. In addition, carbon monoxide is generated during combustion, a molecule that binds much more easily to hemoglobin than to oxygen and this means that all organs and tissues receive less oxygen.

The health benefits when you quit smoking are therefore many: you breathe better, you no longer suffer from a sore throat, your immune defenses rise, the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis is reduced, your teeth turn white, blood pressure goes down. it lowers, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and of developing emphysema, lung, stomach and bladder cancers. Not only that, the decrease in free radicals and the increase in oxygen makes all organs work better, promotes cognitive functions and improves the appearance of skin, hair and nails.

Getting out of addiction then allows you to enjoy your time feeling free from the constant desire to smoke and also has emotional repercussions because it increases self-esteem, self-confidence and one's abilities. The psycho-physical benefits are then added to the economic ones: quitting smoking immediately means saving significant amounts, from hundreds to thousands of euros a year. Despite the benefits of quitting smoking, many smokers remain trapped in this addiction believing that it is impossible to break free. In fact, quitting smoking is much simpler than you might think.

Tips for quitting

Write your reasons

As we have seen, there are so many reasons to get rid of cigarettes but everyone has to find what really motivates them. Identifying and writing down your motivations is essential to be able to quit smoking, as they are a great help on the path to getting out of addiction.

Understanding why you smoke

After having written down the reasons for quitting smoking, you need to understand why you smoke. For this purpose, it is useful to keep a diary in which to write down all the cigarettes smoked during the day, specifying the time and the reason for which the cigarette was lit. You will notice that most cigarettes are not smoked just because you feel like smoking at the time, but that the reasons can be very different. For example, many cigarettes are lit out of boredom, to gratify oneself after finishing a job, or to respond to an emotional distress or feeling (anger, agitation, anxiety). The diary is used to understand what are the recurring reasons that lead to smoking.

Find alternatives

When you understand the reasons why you smoke, you can replace the cigarette with something that responds to the real need that prompted you to light it, finding healthier alternatives. If you smoke out of boredom, instead of lighting a cigarette, it might be helpful to call a friend or a friend. If behind the need to smoke lies the need for gratification, gratification can come from a pleasant activity, while when the cigarette is used to calm anger or agitation, you can resort to breathing exercises or meditation or, more simply, take a walk. After about a week, reading your diary you will notice that the cigarettes will have drastically decreased, replaced by something else. But be careful not to replace cigarettes with food: unless it is a fruit, the risk is to gain weight very easily.

Stop permanently

After two or three weeks of filling in the diary, the cigarettes smoked will be about three or at most five per day. At this point you are ready to quit by completely eliminating cigarettes for three days. Throwing out cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays and staying away from other smokers certainly makes it easier to resist temptation, and while this can be scary, keep in mind that physical addiction to nicotine only lasts 72 hours. Withdrawal symptoms are really very mild: you can suffer slightly from constipation, have some sleep disturbance, feel agitated or dizzy, due to the increased oxygenation of the brain.

After three days, there is no longer any trace of nicotine inside the body, the symptoms disappear and all that remains is to deal with the psychological addiction. However, work has already begun on the latter by writing down their motivations and filling out the diary, so you already have the tools to overcome it. In difficult moments, it will be sufficient to resort to the alternatives already tested and to re-read one's motivations in order not to give in to the temptation to light a cigarette. If this were not enough, in the five minutes in which the desire to smoke is felt, you can be distracted by drinking an herbal tea or a glass of water, munching a carrot or brushing your teeth. Avoiding anything that can rekindle the desire to smoke may also be helpful for the first time. For example, if you usually smoke after coffee, the advice is to replace coffee with barley, ginseng coffee, tea or herbal tea. The trick is not to give in: a single puff of a cigarette even after a long time, although it may seem harmless, is able to reactivate the mechanism of addiction in the brain, making you start smoking again as and more than before.

The support of the groups

Some people find it easier to quit smoking when they have the support of a group. To get in touch with other smokers who want to get rid of nicotine addiction or with former smokers who have succeeded, you can contact the Italian League for the fight against cancer (LILT) or join online support groups.

Remedies

There are no real natural remedies to quit smoking, but it is possible to resort to plants and herbs that can alleviate the symptoms of addiction. To relieve anxiety, agitation and nervousness, for example, lavender, lemon balm, lime and passionflower are useful, also able to promote sleep and rest. Against constipation that can occur in the first days after quitting smoking, you can instead rely on laxative and emollient remedies such as mallow and flax seeds.

To prevent weight gain, you must first follow a balanced diet and exercise; secondly, you can consider taking supplements that speed up the metabolism such as garcinia, green coffee or guarana. Often then, people who find it hard to get rid of an addiction have low levels of dopamine and serotonin: in this case it might be useful to take hypericum-based remedies, which can increase the levels of these neurotransmitters and improve mood. Before buying and taking supplements to stop smoking, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor, pharmacist or herbalist.

Read also

  • Smoking, how nicotine works and tips for quitting
  • The diet for not gaining weight after quitting smoking
  • Lung cancer, what causes smoking and the importance of prevention
  • Electronic cigarette: what damage does it cause?
  • I smoke, the sooner you quit the better

Tag: Addictions Quit smoking

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