Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths among Americans, but quitting can be intimidating. It will take a long time to see improvements in health and wellbeing, but you will see real benefits faster. Health benefits begin to appear in as little as an hour after the last cigarette and continue to improve.
Quitting smoking breaks the cycle of addiction and essentially signals the brain to stop craving nicotine. The sooner you quit, the faster you will reduce your risk of cancer, heart, lung disease, and other conditions related to smoking.
Scientists have found links between smoking and numerous health conditions, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. Researchers show that, with the right approach, it is possible to break this unhealthy chain and kick the bad habit once and for all.
What happens when you smoke?
When a smoker inhales, the nicotine contained in the inhaled smoke reaches the brain via the bloodstream in seconds. It also quickly reaches muscle tissue, and a range of physical reactions take place, including the following:
Smoking affects many parts of the body, both inside and outside. Some of the effects happen straight away, and others take longer.
Stop Smoking Treatments:
Many different methods have successfully helped people to quit smoking, including:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):
Nicotine is a very highly addictive drug, and it’s the nicotine in the cigarettes that makes it so addictive. Nicotine replacement therapy releases the nicotine into the blood steadily and much slower.
NRT comes in different forms, including:
Chewing gum (Nicotine gum is a type of chewing gum that delivers nicotine to the body. It is used as an aid in NRT. Gum should not be used less than 15 minutes after eating or drinking, as this will reduce absorption. Users are directed to chew the gum until it softens and produces a tingling or "peppery" taste. The gum is then "parked," or tucked between the cheek and gums. When the tingling ends, the gum is chewed again until it returns and is then re-parked in a new location)
Inhalators, which look like plastic cigarettes through which nicotine is inhaled
Tablets and lozenges, which you put under your tongue
Mouth spray Some smokers find it useful to combine NRT products. For example, smokers can do this by wearing the patches throughout the day and then using gum or an inhalator to help relieve a sudden craving for a cigarette. Most courses of NRT last eight to 12 weeks before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop. Most people stop using NRT altogether within three months, although heavy smokers may need to use it longer.
Other available NRT includes gum, inhalers, and lozenges. Discuss with your health care provider what suits you best.
Varenicline is the only medication available currently specially designed to help you quit smoking. It works by preventing nicotine from binding to receptors (parts of your brain that respond to nicotine), which prevents cravings and reduces the reinforcing effects of smoking.
One should try to quit smoking completely 7-14 days before the treatment. The medicine should be taken for 12 weeks as recommended.
Varenicline should not be used by:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is counselling or talking therapy that helps people change bad habits. It is most recommended for people with anxiety and depression and useful for other mental and physical health issues. CBT helps you deal with problems more positively by breaking them into smaller parts. Counsellors and other healthcare experts show how to change these negative patterns to improve your feelings. CBT aims to improve your state of mind daily.
The bottom line
Quitting smoking is beneficial for an individual’s health, and various tips can help. Your doctor may recommend medications to reduce cravings, while a few lifestyle modifications can boost motivation. Varenicline, nicotine replacement patches, and other aids to help quit smoking are available online at a very low price.