How would you feel about a guide that doesn’t just tell you how and why to quit but also provides unbiased advice on the most effective ways to quit according to you the users.
So we at Opling have constructed an article that is specifically created to help quit smoking based on advice from others who have been in a similar situation, which we feel is invaluable.
The How and Why to Quit Smoking
Unless you were raised in a cave, country where smoking is considered haram (forbidden for you non Muslims) or possibly both, you must have heard a thousand times from various sources how smoking is dangerous, causes lung cancer and leads to in its eventuality; death. In modern society, it has been accepted as common knowledge that smoking is dangerous but very rarely does anyone offer an explanation why smoking is dangerous apart from the “cigarettes contain tar which is harmful” – line.
In this post we aim to give you an informative overview of the dangers of smoking, and a guide to assist those who are interested in how to quit smoking.
Which ingredients do cigarettes actually contain?
With so many harmful ingredients, it isn’t a wonder that cigarettes have a harmful physiological effect. To understand how smoking causes damage to the body, we have to look at what happens when you smoke a cigarette.
When you smoke, the first thing that happens is a mix of gases is released around your eyes, nose and throat. This happens within the first few seconds. Your eyes may water, your nose might run and your throat will most likely become irritated. Tiny hairs called cilia work to clean your bronchial tubes and lungs of nasty foreign matter. They’re the street sweepers of the body. Smoking paralyzes and can even kill the cilia so they can’t sweep. If you smoke, the cilia that you don’t kill wake back up and get out the brooms. When smokers wake up coughing, it’s because the cilia are hard at work again. Then the first cigarette of the day paralyzes the poor little guys again, and the hacking cough ceases. It’s no wonder that smokers in the early days didn’t realize it was bad for them. If a cigarette stops the morning cough, it must be a good thing, right?
Deep inside the lungs, cigarette smoke damages the floating scavenger cells that work to remove foreign particles from the lungs’ tiny air sacs, called alveoli. A lot of what you inhale turns to tar. This tar isn’t unlike what you might use to pave a road or shingle a house. Only about 30 percent of cigarette tar is sent back into the air through exhalation — the rest sticks to your throat and lungs like saltwater taffy. Besides being disgusting, tar kills healthy lung cells. A pack-a-day smoker ingests a full cup of tar into his or her lungs every year.
The myth of low-tar cigarettes is just that — a myth. Cigarette manufacturers poke tiny little holes in the filter to “reduce” the amount of tar you ingest. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, your fingers block most of these holes when you hold a cigarette, and low-tar smokers end up inhaling more deeply to achieve the nicotine hit they crave.
The chemicals in cigarette smoke are pretty much immediately absorbed into your bloodstream. From here they go straight to your heart and from there, everywhere else in your body. Your heart begins to beat faster as soon as you light up, as much as 10 to 25 beats per minute. That adds up to 36,000 extra beats per day. Smoke can also cause an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. The oxygen level in your blood is reduced because the carbon monoxide produced when you smoke tricks the body into thinking that it’s oxygen.) Problem is, your body’s cells still need oxygen, so your heart goes into overtime to supply it.
If you continue to smoke regularly, your senses of taste and smell will slowly fade, thanks to the tar that coats your tongue and nasal passages. You probably won’t even realize it’s happening and may only notice what you’ve been missing when you quit. Most smokers who quit report a noticeable change in how their food tastes and smells.
Another thing that happens when you smoke is that your blood pressure rises by about 10 to 15 percent. High blood pressure means you have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Smoking not only affects the pressure, but it also damages the blood itself. As we mentioned before, when you smoke, carbon monoxide (CO) is created and ingested — so much that smokers have about 4 to 15 times the amount of CO in the body than non-smokers. Carbon monoxide also is the same stuff that comes out of your car’s tailpipe. When you smoke, it stays in your bloodstream for about six hours. This harmful chemical compound does its best to rob every cell in your body of oxygen, something cells need to function.
With so many harmful effects it is hard to fathom why anyone would smoke cigarettes let alone get addicted to smoking, but the explanation for that is actually quite simple; nicotine.
Nicotine is responsible for the good feeling you get while smoking. Unfortunately it is also the reason why you keep voluntarily damaging your body by smoking.
Nicotine’s effects are short-lived, lasting only 40 minutes to a couple of hours. This leads people to smoke or chew tobacco periodically throughout the day to dose themselves with nicotine. Add to this the fact that you can become tolerant to nicotine’s effects — you need to use more and more nicotine to reach the same degree of stimulation or relaxation — and you can see how people would quickly move from smoking one cigarette to a pack a day habit.
What happens when smokers abruptly stop using nicotine? While you’re using nicotine-containing products, your body adapts the way it works to compensate for the effects of the nicotine. For example, neurons in your brain might increase or decrease the number of receptors or the amount of different neurotransmitters affected by the presence of nicotine. When you no longer have nicotine in your body, these physiological adaptations for nicotine remain. The net result is that your body can’t function the same way in the absence of the drug as it did before, at least in the short term.
How to quit smoking
First thing you need to realize is that quitting smoking will be tough, but to give you some incentive we have listed some reasons why you should quit smoking (feel free to add your own reasons in the comments section below this post)
If the above didn’t make you want to quit then I’m sure the list we have put together will give you the willpower to stop for good.
- I will feel healthier and have more energy, whiter teeth, and fresher breath.
- I will lower my risk for cancer, heart attacks, strokes, early death, cataracts, and skin wrinkling.
- I will make myself and my partner, friends, and family proud of me.
- I will no longer expose my children and others to the dangers of my second-hand smoke.
- I will have a healthier baby (If you or your partner is pregnant).
- I will have more money to spend.
- I won’t have to worry: “When will I get to smoke next?”
Source: Smokefree.gov Online Quit Guide
Start your stop smoking plan with START
S = Set a quit date.
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.
Other methods that can be explored are products that are especially designed to ease your mind from the caving of nicotine and the action of smoking you will be deprived of.
These products are:
- Electronic cigarette
- Nicotine gum: (NicAssist®, Nicorette®, Nicotinell®, NiQuitin CQ®)
Nicotine gum helps you to control your cravings whenever you feel the urge to smoke. It is different from ordinary chewing gum and can have a slightly peppery taste, especially to begin with, so you may have to persevere in using it. It is important to use it properly to get the full benefit. The gum comes in two strengths, regular (2mg) and maximum (4mg) and in a choice of flavours. The brand you select will determine which strength you use. The gum should be chewed slowly and then rested between your gum and the side of your mouth, repeatedly, for about 30 minutes. You should gradually reduce the number of gums you chew over about 3 months.
Maximum strength NRT gum can also help reduce weight gain associated with quitting smoking. The nicotine is slowly absorbed through the lining of the mouth. The main side effect is a slight irritation of the mouth and throat, but this lessens with use. The gum is difficult to use if you wear dentures and can aggravate stomach ulcers.
Shop for Nicotine Gum at Boots.com
- Nicotine patches: (NicAssist®, Nicorette®, Nicotinell®, NiQuitin CQ®)
Patches are most helpful to people who like to feel protected from cravings throughout the day. They are easy to use and should be applied to dry non-hairy skin such as the upper arm, thigh or chest. The patches offer a continuous supply of nicotine throughout the day to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms and physical cravings you’ll experience. You may still get urges to smoke but these will not be as strong. A patch lasts either 16 or 24 hours, each of which come in three strengths delivering different amounts of nicotine, which is absorbed slowly through the skin. You are recommended to use them for up to three months depending on the brand you choose, starting off with the most appropriate strength for you. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions. Some people experience a slight itching or redness of the skin and this can be lessened by varying the position of the patch when you apply a new one. Shop for Nicotine Patches at Boots.com
- Nicotine sprays: (Nicorette®)
The nicotine nasal spray is good for people who get severe withdrawal symptoms or who smoke heavily. The nicotine nasal spray comes in a bottle with a nozzle that delivers a dose of nicotine via a fine spray squirted into each nostril. It can be used up to 32 times a day. The nicotine is quickly absorbed through the lining of the nose. It mimics cigarettes more closely by giving a relatively fast effect. The spray may irritate your nose and throat, especially at first. However, if you persevere this lessens. NRT nasal spray can help reduce weight gain associated with quitting smoking.
Shop for Nicotine Sprays at Boots.com
- Champix: This is a non-nicotine therapy developed speciﬁcally to help people stop smoking. It works in two ways – it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms and it also diminishes the sense of satisfaction associated with smoking; potentially preventing a lapse from turning into a full relapse. Champix is only available on prescription from your GP and NHS Stop Smoking Services. You start taking the tablet while you are still smoking and set a quit date 8-14 days ahead. The dosage is gradually increased until you are taking 2 tablets a day. The treatment lasts for 12 weeks. The most common side effects are nausea and sleep disturbance.Ring Quitline 0800 00 2200 and chat to a QUIT counsellor to find out more about Champix
- NRT: Cigarettes deliver nicotine very quickly, which contributes to their addictive nature. However the nicotine in NRT is supplied in a slower and more controlled way. This is because NRT is designed to help you quit smoking and so gradually reduces your need for nicotine, until you don’t need it anymore. All NRT products are available on prescription and can also be bought over the counter at pharmacies and large supermarkets. It’s important to complete the full course of NRT as this increases your odds of quitting successfully. Some NRT formats may also help reduce weight gain associated with quitting smoking. Here’s a brief description of the range of products available, to help you decide if NRT is right for you. Refer to individual packs for further details.
We also provide a list of very useful sites, which have all influenced our article in some way so please give them a try if further information is required.
PLEASE ADD ANYTHING YOU MAY FEEL WOULD BENFIT READERS IN THIS SITUATION….ENCOURAGE SHARING….!!!!!
Thank you so much