Smoking is definitely not a recent issue, it has been talked about for centuries now and most of us are probably aware of its effects on our health and personal life. Why do people smoke? Well, people start smoking due to different reasons. It is a mainstream act amongst teens recently because many believe it looks cool. Others may start because either their family members or friends are smokers and almost all adult tobacco users started before they were 18 years old. Unfortunately, most people never expected to become addicted to it. Therefore, it is always much easier to not start smoking at all than to have to quit it later.

Why is smoking addictive?

Cigarettes are highly addictive due to the presence of a chemical; nicotine. It alters the balance of two other chemicals present in the brain which are dopamine and noradrenaline. When nicotine disturbs the levels of these chemicals, your mood and concentration levels start to change which many smokers find quite enjoyable. These changes occur rapidly. When you inhale the nicotine, it immediately races to your brain where it produces feelings of pleasure and joy thus reduces stress and anxiety.

 This is the reason why smokers enjoy inhaling nicotine and eventually become dependent on it. The more you smoke, the more your brain becomes used to then nicotine. This means that in order to have the same effect of pleasure you need to smoke even more therefore finding yourself highly addicted to the effects of nicotine in the end.

Effects of smoking

Smoking cigarettes mostly have adverse effects on the body and some of them may lead to life threatening complications.

  1. Lung damage

Cigarettes substantially increase the risk of developing lung cancer which is 25 times greater for males and 25.7 times greater for females. Smoking is also linked to developing emphysema, chronic bronchitis and can trigger an asthma attack.

  • Heart disease

Smoking damages the heart blood vessels and blood cells. The chemicals and tar in cigarettes together can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, limits blood flow and can form fatal blockages.

  • Fertility Issues

It affects the reproductive system of females due to disturbances in the hormone levels due to the presence of tobacco and other chemicals.

  • Risk of type 2 diabetes

Individuals who smoke regularly have a 30-40 percent higher chance of developing type-2 diabetes than those who do not and it may make it more difficult to diabetic people to manage their condition.

  • Weakened immune system

Smoking can make a person more vulnerable to illnesses and also lead to additional inflammations in the body.

  • Vision problems

It increases the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy and also causes dry eyes.

  • Unhealthy skin and hair

A person who smokes has relatively aged and wrinkled skin also might result in hair loss and balding.

  • Poor oral hygiene

Cigarettes double the risk of gum disease. Bleeding of gums, sensitive teeth and also cause brown and yellow stains on teeth.

How to stop addiction

Quitting smoking is one of a battle. It is never easy to bring your plan into action once you’ve decided to quit smoking. But it is never impossible. You can always take small, easy steps towards betterment and improvement. We have a few ways to help you quit smoking or reduce your addiction at the very least.

  • Prepare your quit today

Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, select a day for when you are ready. Pick a date that’s not very far but gives you enough time to get yourself prepared. Once you’re done selecting, let your family, friends and colleagues know about it to help you with it.

  • Use NRTs

NRT is the Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help you stop nicotine addiction. It helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms you experience that may hinder your attempt to give up smoking.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved five types of NRT:

  1. Skin patches
  2. Chewing gum
  3. Lozenges
  4. Nasal spray (prescription only)
  5. Inhaler (prescription only)
  • Seek behavioral support

A smoker is emotionally and physically dependent on smoking and thus finds it challenging to stay away from nicotine after your quit day. In order to quit, you must tackle this dependence. It is better to take help from counseling services, self-help services and support services. Your emotional symptoms can get better over time along with your physical ones.

  • Alternative therapies

A few alternative methods to help you quit smoking might be as listed;

  1. E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes)
  2. Smoking deterrents
  3. Tobacco strips and sticks
  4. Filters
  5. Nicotine drinks
  6. Hypnosis
  7. Acupuncture
  8. Magnet therapy
  9. Cold laser therapy
  10. Herbs and supplements
  11. Yoga, mindfulness and meditation

Why should I quit smoking?

Quitting smoking is never easy but it’s after effects are always motivating. It can improve your lifestyle overall.

  • Lengthens your life expectancy
  • Decreases the risk of diseases (those mentioned above and several others)
  • Reduces the risk of respiratory and anesthesia complications during any kind of surgery and risk of infection or re-admission after an operation
  • Reduces the risk of children and other family members getting sick. The people around a smoker are called passive smokers and are exposed to secondhand smoke. The effects of smoking are even more dangerous for active smokers than for the smoker itself.
  • Improves sense of taste and smell
  • Improves personal life
  • Improves looks and lifestyle
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