If you have tried in the past to quit smoking, then you probably know how difficult it is. There is always a reason to push your quit date off to tomorrow. You may justify your decision to keep smoking due to stress in your life or a certain situation. It is very easy to continue to smoke.
Quitting, while something you may very much want to do, is tough because of your addiction to nicotine. It is like any other drug that causes addiction. You are not only fighting physical urges for it but also the mental and emotional aspects of the addiction.
How Nicotine Affects Your Brain
The American Heart Association notes that nicotine is just as addictive and possibly more addictive than heroin. It is powerful, and the way it affects your brain makes it clear that quitting this drug is going to be a struggle no matter how much you want to quit.
Nicotine makes your brain release dopamine. This feel-good chemical tricks your brain into wanting it more often. Every time you smoke, you reinforce this feeling in your brain and train your brain to want more.
It also works to stimulate your body. If you smoke, you may notice you concentrate better. You may feel like you have more energy and are more alert overall.
Creating a Habit
It isn’t only the addiction to the dopamine release that your brain craves. Smoking is also a habit. Habits are very difficult to break.
You probably have a routine every day where you smoke at certain times, such as when you wake up in the morning, during a long drive, or after meals. It becomes a ritual that you go through day in and day out. This behavior becomes so ingrained that it is tough to just stop doing it.
You may also use cigarettes in your social life to connect with others. If your friends or family members smoke, you may bond over a cigarette or just be comfortable with them being a part of your social situations.
One of the best ways to quit smoking is by using a combination of a quit smoking program and nicotine replacement product. This approach addresses all the aspects of the addiction.
One option many people find helpful is to use Nicorette gum. This serves a couple of purposes. It will introduce a controlled level of nicotine into your system to soothe your brain’s needs for the drug. It also will address the habit. Instead of lighting up a cigarette and smoking, you will pop in a piece of gum. Having this physical aspect can be beneficial in fighting your overall addiction.
The quit smoking program will address the other aspects of the addiction. It can help you to become more conscious of your cravings and why you want to smoke. You will learn to identify triggers that may make you want to smoke and learn techniques to address them.
A program will also provide you with education about nicotine and the effects of cigarettes on your body. Most programs also provide counselors you can call and talk to when you are having trouble and feel like smoking.
Benefits of Quitting
There are many health benefits when you stop smoking, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You will notice some immediate benefits, such as an enhanced sense of smell and healthier teeth and gums.
Your blood pressure will go down, and you will reduce your risk of a heart attack. Your risk for blood clots will also go down, and you will help lower your cholesterol.
It is incredibly beneficial for your lungs, helping to stop damage. Your lungs will regrow cilia, which will make your lungs healthier.
You also reduce your risk of a variety of cancers. Plus, you will save money, and no longer smell like smoke.
If you want to quit smoking, there is no better time to do it than today. With the help of nicotine replacement products and a good stop smoking program, you can finally give up cigarettes for good.