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  Stop smoking

Cessation of smoking is not an easy task to do, but it can be done. To be successful in quitting smoking, you need to be aware of what you’re up against to, what are the possible ways or choices to take to help you and where to go for support as well. It is actually the nicotine content of the cigarettes which is addicting thus; most smokers tend to continue smoking as a result more of the addiction itself and not because of free will. Of course, other hydrocarbons along with the nicotine also expose the smoker to chemical carcinogens increasing the risk mainly of bronchogenic carcinoma (lung cancer). Other related malignancies associated with cigarette smoking are the following: cancer of the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (muscular tube leading to the stomach), bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach and blood cancer (leukemia).

Stop smoking
Stop smoking

As previously mentioned, quitting and staying quit is difficult for chronic smokers due to nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive similar to other substances for abuse like heroin and cocaine. In time, the body has the tendency to be both physically and psychologically dependent on nicotine which the smokers need to overcome to be successful in his or her drive to quit smoking. There are several different factors that can affect the rate of metabolism in relation to nicotine. Typically, even after 3 to 4 days from the time the person quits smoking, nicotine and its by-products may still be present in the body.

The main factor why smokers tend to crave is because nicotine produces pleasant feelings making the smoker to crave for it more. It also interferes with the flow of chemical signals between nerve cells hence, acting as a kind of depressant. As the central nervous system adapts to the nicotine, tolerance develops therefore, smokers tend to increase the number of cigarettes they smoke and the amount of nicotine in their blood also increases over time. Due to this fact when smokers try to cut back or stop smoking in effect they experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are either physical and/or mental. The body reacts physically and/or mentally due to the absence of nicotine. So in giving up the habit of smoking, both physical and psychological dependence particularly behavioral change needs to be addressed for smoking cessation to be successful.

Withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours of the last cigarette that the person smokes for those who are regular smokers and peak about 2 to 3 days onwards. It can last up to several weeks. Likewise, in a person who regularly smoked and suddenly significantly reduces the number of cigarettes used per day, withdrawal symptoms may also appear.

An important benefit that you can get with cessation of smoking is the normalization of the blood pressure and pulse rate. Nicotine is a potent vasoconstrictor therefore; smokers tend to have hypertension as compared to non-smokers. So quitting this habit will contribute in maintaining wellness. Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood are also reduced by half by quitting smoking. The oxygenation of tissues will improve and return to normal whereas the waste product in the form of carbon monoxide will be eliminated successfully from the body. The cilia which are hair-like structures along the respiratory tract will be more active in expelling out mucus and other debris thereby helping the lungs to function well. Taste and smell sensation is also greatly improved. In summary, breathing becomes easier so the respiratory system function better, circulation improves and coughing is less with fewer cold and flu viral infections. The risk of heart attack, development of chronic bronchitis and emphysema (COPD) as well as lung cancer falls as compared to those who continually smoke. In short, you live longer if you stop smoking.

Other secondary health benefits that you will get from quitting the habit is improvement on your physical appearance particularly less chance of having premature wrinkling of the skin, bad breath (halithosis), stained teeth, gum problems, bad smelling clothes and hair, and yellowish discoloration of the fingernails.

The best way to quit in most people will be combination of medicine and use of nicotine analogues (e.g. nicotine transdermal patch, nicotine gums) to control the withdrawal symptoms while gradually trying to eliminate nicotine from the body; change in personal habits such as scheduling the exact date when to stop and avoidance of habitual behaviors, and emotional support coming from the family and other smokers’ support groups.

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