As of today, smoking is the biggest health problem worldwide. According to global statistics, about 20% of adults smoke tobacco. More to the point, on average, about 15% of deaths are associated with the use of tobacco, and in some countries that figure reaches 20%. Tobacco use causes multiple health problems, including oncology, heart diseases, attacks and strokes, respiratory diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, immune problems, erectile dysfunction and others. The scale of the problem is enormous, hence it is not surprising that experts refer to it as the tobacco epidemic. It is crucial to highlight that there are no safe ways to consume tobacco. All the forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, bidis, kreteks, pipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes and other smoke-free forms of tobacco use, make a disastrous impact on the health of a consumer. In addition, a person using tobacco puts the health of people around at risk as well. So, the global statistics show that about 8 million of deaths per a year are associated with the use of tobacco, and more than 1 million of these people are non-smokers, they die because of exposure to smoke.
As you can see, every smoker is killing both himself and people close to him. So, if you have such a harmful habit, it is high time to refuse it. Postponing that is dangerous. Every day counts. Keep on reading to learn about the most effective solutions that can help you.
Top 5 Medical Products that Will Help to Refuse Smoking:
- Items for nicotine replacement therapies. This is one of the most frequently used methods, which can be used both separately and in the combination with other solutions. What is the mechanism of NRTs? To stop smoking, a patient uses products containing low doses of nicotine instead of cigarettes and gradually lowers the daily dose until he can totally refuse tobacco. Certainly, the scheme and doses are selected by the doctor. As for the selection of products, one can apply patches, candies, gum, inhalers, spray, etc.
- Zero-nicotine patches. Such products work similar to those mentioned above, but they are much safer. They do not contain any nicotine, instead there are herbal ingredients that produce effects mimicking those of nicotine. Besides, such products help to overcome withdrawal side effects and to relieve the organism from tobacco-related toxins, which makes the process of quitting much easier. Unlike anti-smoking remedies with nicotine, such patches purify the body instead of replenishing the stock of nicotine.
- Varenicline (the brand name ― Chantix). This is a prescription medication that helps to quit smoking by making an impact on the operation of the part of the brain that is sensitive to nicotine. The use of this medicine reduces the enjoyment and pleasant feelings related to smoking, as well as weakens craving and withdrawal adverse side effects, which decreases the risk of returning to the bad habit.
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin or Zyban). This medication is an antidepressant in the first place, but it is also widely recommended to people that want to stop smoking. As of now, its anti-smoking action mechanism is not thoroughly studied and remains unclear, but there is no doubt that it is effective enough. This medication is capable of relieving the overwhelming majority of side effects associated with tobacco quitting, including craving, problems with concentration, anxiety, frustration, restlessness, irritability and depression. It should be used on prescription only.
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor). This is another antidepressant that helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. As a rule, it is prescribed to those patients, who do not tolerate medicines specified above, or is included in a treatment scheme as an auxiliary component.
Keep in mind that these medications can be sold as generic versions as well, which means that they can have different brand names. So, if you are recommended using one of them, search by the name of the active ingredient.
Can One Give Up Smoking without Using Any Medical Products?
Certainly, there is a chance that one will stop smoking on his own without turning to specialists and applying any tobacco quitting products. But it is not that easy as it seems to be at first glance. So, most people addicted to nicotine need qualified assistance. Anyway, let us have a look at the most widespread strategies.
First of all, there are people that have enough willpower to quit smoking cold turkey and never return to this habit afterwards. Others prefer to solve the problem gradually, for example, by reducing the number of cigarettes day after day until they totally stop using them or by decreasing the number of cigarettes for a certain period before giving them up once and for all. Many smokers have a plan and set a quitting date. No doubt, in terms of health, it is more preferable to stop consuming nicotine as quick as possible.
According to some sources, if a smoker wants to find out whether he can stop using tobacco without qualified assistance, he should determine the degree of his addiction.
Here are the symptoms of severe addiction:
- a person uses more than a pack of cigarettes a day;
- it is habitual for one to smoke at first after waking up ― within 5 minutes;
- a smoker wakes up at night to get a dose of nicotine;
- a person keeps on smoking even when feeling sick;
- one cannot resist the temptation during the quitting process and returns to the habit in order to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Some specialists claim that people with such severe addiction are not likely to manage to refuse the habit without the use of special treatment, but, in practice, that depends on the motivation and willpower in the first place.
Health Benefits of Refusing Tobacco
The impact of tobacco on your health is disastrous, but your organism will start recovering processes at once after you quit.
Have a look at the positive health consequences that you will get after refusing tobacco, and you will see that giving up this habit is worth every effort required:
- 20 minutes without tobacco ― heart rate and blood pressure significantly decrease;
- 12 hours ― the carbon monoxide concentration in the blood is normalized;
- 2–12 weeks ― the operation of lungs and the circulation are improved;
- 1–9 months ― the coughing and breath shortness are relieved, the risk of lung infections is also reduced;
- 1 year ― the risk of coronary heart disease drops by 50%, the risk of heart attack is also significantly decreased;
- 5 years ― the risks of cancers of mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder lower by 50%, the risks of cervical cancer and heart strokes drop to the levels typical of non-smokers;
- 10 years ― the risk of the death associated with lung cancer falls by 50%, the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers drop as well;
- 15 years ― the risk of coronary disease reduces to the level typical of non-smokers.
This is not a complete list of benefits of refusing tobacco. Such a step makes a positive impact on the overwhelming majority of organs and systems. In addition, refusing tobacco will help you live longer. Smoking reduces life expectancy by 10 years as a minimum. If one gives up this bad habit before 40, that will decrease the risk of the death from diseases related to tobacco use by 90% (!). However, an ex-smoker definitely gets a wide range of health benefits, regardless of his age.
Extra Benefits of Quitting
In practice, consuming tobacco leads to multiple problems and inconveniences in varied spheres of life, besides health.
Here are some of the additional advantages of living without this habit:
- Financial economy. No doubt, consuming tobacco requires significant and
- frequent expenses, regardless of the brand of cigarettes.
- No tobacco after-taste. As a result, food and drinks taste much better.
- The normal sense of smell. It will recover, and you will be able to enjoy pleasant aromas to the full like in the pre-smoking period.
- No tobacco-associated plaque on the teeth. You will be able to get back your white smile.
- The attractive hands. The skin and the nails will look tidy again.
- No cigarette smell. Your hair, breath and clothes will smell fresh and pleasant again.
- The young-looking skin. It is well-known that consuming tobacco causes premature wrinkles and spoils the overall look of the skin.
- No short of breath feeling during routine activities (or it will be significantly relieved). You will feel much more comfortable when climbing long stairs or spending time actively outdoors.
- Feeling comfortable in smoke-free buildings and with non-smoker companies. You will not have to go outside every hour in order to smoke.
Useful Tips about Sticking to a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle
No doubt, fighting against the temptation to return to the habit is the hardest stage of the quitting process.
So, keep in mind these expert recommendations:
- Do not invent rationalizations. The harm of tobacco is unquestionable, and, if you want to live a healthy and long life, you need to refuse it as quickly as possible and never get back to it.
- Do not try a single cigarette. Even one cigarette or one puff can serve as a trigger that will tempt you into returning to this unhealthy habit.
- If you cannot resist smoking anymore, take a pause ― at least 10 minutes. There is a good chance that you will manage to take the situation under control within this period.
- In case you make a mistake and get back to smoking for some period, stop without a delay. Do not treat a short weak moment as a reason to return to the bad habit and to keep on ruining your own health and the health of your dear people (keep in mind that they are exposed to tobacco smoke as well).
- Avoid places and activities associated with tobacco use. If you used to smoke when enjoying drinks in your favorite bar or after having a cup of morning coffee at the cafe on your way to work, substitute those habits with new ones. For example, make coffee at home and take it to work in a thermomug and go to a park instead of a bar.
- Ask people around not to provoke you and not to share cigarettes with you. If anyone tries to tempt you into smoking, avoid him (if it is possible) or at least make your no-smoking position clear.
- Find a substitution to make your mouth busy. You can use chewing gum or candies, but it is more preferable to choose a more healthy alternative, like fruit chips, carrot sticks or sunflower seeds.
- Fill the free time with some exciting activity. Try creating some handmade things, exercising, reading books or working in the yard. Do not let yourself get bored.
- Take control over stress. Unfortunately, today’s life is filled with frequent and severe stresses, so, people are forced to search for effective ways to overcome them. Tobacco use is a widespread solution, but its negative impact is disastrous and cannot be compensated by anything. There are a lot of other enjoyable activities that will help you feel less nervous and happier: sport, yoga, dancing, biking, spending time with friends, walking in the park and others. Sure, getting a cute pet is also a good idea. However, you can also ask your neighbors, friends or relatives let you take their dog for a walk.
- Reward yourself. Quitting requires immense willpower and plenty of effort (both mental and physical), so you deserve some kind of a reward. Treat yourself to your favorite food or buy yourself a new gadget or dress. By the way, for extra motivation, you can store up the money saved on cigarettes or other tobacco products and spend it on some pleasant buy or trip.
One more fact worth mentioning as a separate point ― it may surprise you, but many smokers make several tries before they manage to quit using tobacco. So, if you make a mistake and return to the habit, be sure to try again. Certainly, the best variant is to turn to a qualified specialist, so that he recommends the suitable treatment.
The information about tobacco consumption and quitting solutions, which is disclosed above, is intended for informational purposes only. One should not treat it as a medical recommendation. The website does not bear any responsibility for any damages associated with the use of the content published. Before using any anti-smoking medicines or products, you should turn to a doctor and undergo an examination, so that a specialist can choose the most suitable treatment options, recommend the scheme of use and make sure that you do not have any contraindications. Using any remedies without medical surveillance is dangerous. Besides, a qualified specialist will help to make the quitting process easier, faster and much more effective.