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Although the degree of health risks may be debated, the fact that smoking is unhealthy is not. Knowing you should quit and doing so are two different things, though. Many individuals try to quit, but find themselves picking the habit back up again. If you have struggled with trying to quit, you might wonder why it is so difficult. The short answer is nicotine, an addictive substance found in all types of tobacco products. There is much more to quitting smoking though, and a better understanding of the process can be helpful.
Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal
Nicotine is the chemical that makes smoking addictive. It travels to the brain and creates a sensation of relaxation and elevated mood. A smoker’s body becomes used to the amount of nicotine in the body and without it, feels out of place or unwell. As the brain adjusts to the amount of nicotine it receives, it may crave more and more.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. They generally include irritability, hostility, anxiety, and restlessness. A person may also feel depressed without the stimulant, making it difficult to concentrate. Some smokers have gained weight due to an increased appetite after quitting.
Identifying Personal Triggers
Many people smoke for stress relief, and quitting requires finding an alternative coping mechanism. When faced with whatever is causing stress, the smoker will crave a cigarette. Smoking can be associated with positive activities too, such as a social setting or a daily break time. The key is to replace smoking with another activity at these moments.
Each individual must find what works best for him or her. It may be replacing cigarettes with gum, or finding an object such as a stress ball for fidgeting. For social smokers, it may be helpful to avoid places where smoking is allowed and spend more time with non-smoker friends. Some people have found meditation or simple deep breathing to be calming. When a craving hits, it often lasts only ten minutes or so. If it can be allowed to pass without a cigarette, it will gradually decrease.
Smoking Cessation Options
The combination of nicotine addiction and emotional associations can make quitting really hard. Although it is possible to quit “cold turkey” or gradually decrease the number of cigarettes, most people find smoking cessation products to be more practical. There are many prescription and over-the-counter products available, making the choice somewhat overwhelming in itself. For some people, an herbal supplement like NicoFree Smokers may be practical. This supplement is in pill form and can be taken at the onset of a craving, multiple times per day. It is intended for the long-term smoker and creates a calm feeling.
Quitting smoking can be a long process. It may take a month for the initial nicotine withdrawal to subside, and triggers can cause an unexpected craving for a year or longer. Keeping your preferred cessation method available can help prevent a relapse, which makes quitting again all that much more difficult.