The vapour that burns, burns through you, through your lungs, and through your life, cutting straight and leaving behind nothing but ash and carcinogens, why would anyone choose to live this way? Despite endless appeals by the public to states and courts around the world, the roots of the nicotine plague are deep and strong and thoroughly corrupted. Thousands die everyday and thousands more find out that they are on the chopping block of lung cancer, waiting to face the consequence of their years of addiction. One could argue that it is their fault for being addicted to something that was made to be that way, made to give moments of pleasure and a lifetime of suffering. But it is not, it is not your fault if you are hooked and don’t know how to quit smoking. So it is, perhaps, our responsibility to help you get there.
Why is smoking so addictive?
To understand a problem is the first step in solving it. The main problem with smoking is its addictive nature that keeps you coming for another, and another, and just one more, and yet another. The reason is dopamine. Dopamine is a funny thing, a neurotransmitter that makes life seem so much fun! Nicotine works by binding to receptors in the brain and thereby triggers the release of dopamine, which makes you feel as if you are the smoke itself, so light and airy and floating.
Over time, your brain becomes accustomed to the regular influx of dopamine and starts to crave it. The more you give, the more it asks for. This is why, down the line, it becomes downright impossible to quit smoking. And if you try nonetheless, you will experience severe withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings, anxiety, irritability, and depression.
How to quit smoking: Most effective solutions
Quitting smoking is a commendable decision that significantly improves your overall health and well-being. As you embark on this transformative journey, exploring various strategies can help you find the approach that aligns best with goals. Here, we delve into some of the best ways to quit smoking:
Go cold turkey:
Going cold turkey involves abruptly stopping smoking without the gradual reduction of nicotine intake. While it requires a strong resolve, many individuals find success with this method. To enhance your chances of success, create a supportive environment, inform friends and family of your decision, and engage in activities that help distract you from cravings.
Trade up with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine Replacement Therapy offers various products, including patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal sprays, designed to provide controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful toxins found in cigarettes. NRT can help manage withdrawal symptoms, making the quitting process more manageable. Consider consulting with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable NRT option for your needs.
Try medication, with prescription
Certain prescription medications, such as Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban), can aid in smoking cessation. Varenicline reduces nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms by mimicking the effects of nicotine while blocking its rewarding effects. Bupropion, an antidepressant, helps reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Consult with your healthcare provider to discuss the potential benefits and side effects of these medications.
Ask for help
Seeking support from friends, family, or a support group is a powerful tool in the journey to quit smoking. Share your goals with those around you, as their encouragement and understanding can make a significant difference. Joining a support group, whether in-person or online, provides a sense of community and shared experiences, fostering a supportive environment for your quit journey.
Take a rehabilitation vacation
Going on a rehabilitation vacation, also known as a quitcation, involves dedicating time to focus solely on quitting smoking. This approach allows individuals to remove themselves from the triggers and routines associated with smoking, offering a fresh start. Consider planning a retreat or vacation where you can immerse yourself in a supportive, smoke-free environment, allowing for dedicated time to establish new habits and coping mechanisms.
How not to quit smoking: The ‘e’ in e-cigs stands for ‘evil’
The world is getting ahead by going digital, so why can’t our bad habits? If we all just switched to filling our lungs with smoke and head with drugs in a futuristic way, all the problems should stop existing, right? Unfortunately, no. It is an extremely widespread misconception that e-cigs, or Vape, are less harmful than cigarettes and can help you wean off of them. They can’t, because they deliver nicotine to your brain in a similar way to traditional cigarettes and reinforce your addiction. Moreover, they may contain other harmful chemicals that can damage the lungs and other organs.
There is simply no shortcut to freedom when it comes to quitting smoking. It is an uphill fight and at every step, there is the risk of falling off. But it is important to not give up and keep trudging on, no matter how many times you fall.