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ARTICLE SUMMARY: You can quit smoking! This article aims to help educate you about the physical nature of nicotine addiction and provide you with ideas for quitting safely. Then, we invite your questions at the end.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: Around 5 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Basic Statistics

Cigarettes remain a leading cause of preventable disease and premature deaths not just in the United States but in other countries as well. According to this study published in 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine, on average, 435,000 people in the U.S die from smoking-related diseases each year. Overall, smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths. And a longitudinal study looking at British doctors smoking over 50 years found that the chance that a lifelong smoker will die from a complication of smoking is approximately 50%.

All of this to say: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

So, if you’re struggling with this habit and looking for ways to get rid of cigarettes once and for all, we invite your to read this article for ideas on how to get rid of cigarettes for good. And then, we invite your questions and comments at the end.

Is Nicotine Addiction “Normal”?

Well, if not normal, nicotine addiction is predictable.

In fact, did you know that most smokers use tobacco repeatedly because they are addicted to nicotine? Tobacco addiction is no different than any other addiction in the sense that it is also characterized by compulsive seeking and abuse, regardless of negative health consequences. How many tobacco addicts know the harmful consequences of their repeated smoking habits, yet they do not stop smoking cigarettes? 35 million tobacco addicts try to quit each year but unfortunately, more than 85% them who try quitting on their own relapse very quickly.

Anyone can become a nicotine dependent, but, usually, at-risk smoking starts in adolescence. The need for experimentation and the strong influence of advertising led by the tobacco industry plays a significant part in the in regular smoking habits among young teenagers. The results of SAMHSA’s 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that about 2,500 kids under 18 tried smoking for the first time every day. About half of new smokers in 2013 were younger than 18 when they first smoked cigarettes (50.5 percent)!

Because self-help can lead to failed attempts to quit cigarettes, it’s best to try getting rid of this addiction with professional help. In fact, there is evidence that tobacco addiction treatment has helped people to quit smoking for good. What do the experts say?

What Do The Experts Say About Quitting?

Professor Robert West from the Cancer Research, UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL explains what makes smokers crave cigarettes.

“There are several things going on in a smoker’s brain that add up to a powerful urge to keep smoking. First, the nicotine hit in the brain forms a strong association between situations in which people smoke and the urge to smoke. This bond gets stronger and stronger with each cigarette. In a matter of months, smokers find that when they’re in certain situations where they normally smoke, or exposed to certain cues, that they experience a powerful urge to smoke.

Often, smokers say: “Well, I don’t need to smoke when I’m on a plane or in the supermarket, therefore I can’t be addicted.” But actually they probably are – nicotine makes them crave a cigarette in situations when they would usually smoke. But there’s often more to cigarette addiction than these situational cravings. After smoking for a while, the pathways in a smoker’s brain change so that the nerve cells need nicotine to function normally. For heavy smokers, if their brain is not topped up with nicotine they experience what I call ‘nicotine hunger’. This adds to the situational cravings and can occur at any time”.

What Are The Characteristics Of Nicotine Addiction?

Tobacco or nicotine addiction can be identified as a set of behavioral changes. These are some of the most common signs that indicate a tobacco addiction:

  1.  Giving up social or recreational activities in order to smoke.
  2.  The presence of withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.
  3. You experience the inability to stop smoking or have made several failed attempts.
  4.  You keep smoking despite health problems.

How Can You Get Rid Of Cigarettes?

Getting rid of nicotine is challenging, but it isn’t impossible. And although quitting smoking is difficult, alternatives exist in different forms of treatment.Here are some key point sto keep in mind when considering a plan to quit smoking for good.

1. Be serious about your intention to quit smoking.

When you want to change any habit, a strong will, determination, and devotion are required. Ask yourself: Do I really want to quit smoking? If the answer is YES, have a clear reason for quitting. This way, when cravings attack and abstinence gets challenged you can be clear about your important reason to quit. Take into consideration the effects of smoking on your health, appearance and lifestyle.

2. Gather a list of reasons why quitting smoking is important to you and how would you benefit from it in the future. Consider looking your listed reasons as opportunities.

For example:

  • Smoking affects a person’s health: If I quit smoking, I’ll be more healthy.
  • Smoking affects a person’s energy level: If I quit smoking, I’ll have more energy.
  • Smoking increases the chances to get lung cancer: If I quit smoking, I’ll reduce my chances of getting lung cancer.

Also, know that it might take than one attempt to stop smoking because ,according to some statistics, 45 million Americans use some form of nicotine and only 5 percent of users are able to quit during their first attempt.

3. Expect withdrawal symptoms.

People who smoke cigarettes for a longer period of time have developed physical dependence to nicotine. When you stop smoking, you might experience increased cravings. This means that your body will try to make you go back to smoking in order to continue to receive nicotine to function normally. Here are some of the symptoms you might experience when trying to detox yourself from nicotine:

  • Anxiety
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite
  • Tension

4. Create your own quit smoking plan.

Choose a starting date and choose the most appropriate method. Usually a gradual reduction of smoking is required, instead of an abrupt nicotine discontinuation. You can get more ideas about cessation methods on the Smoke Free government website.

5. Ask for professional help

Behavioral and medication therapy can improve your chances of successfully quitting. If you have failed to succeed on your own and you had several unsuccessful attempts, consider getting professional help. But don’t beat yourself up! Asking for help is one of the best and strongest things that you can do for yourself. You can locate a counselor or psychotherapist by searching the American Psychological Association’s member directory.

Your Questions

So, ready to start?

Or, do you have more questions? Please leave your questions or comments in the section at the end of the article. We do our best to respond to all real-life questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources:Drug Abuse: Is Nicotine Addictive?
Tobacco Free Kids: THE PATH TO TOBACCO ADDICTION STARTS AT VERY YOUNG AGES
Mayo Clinic: Nicotine dependence: Symptoms and causes
Cancer Research UK: Expert opinion – Constant craving: how can science help smokers to quit?
WikiHow: How to Quit Smoking

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