"To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did, I ought to know because I have done it hundred times." as quoted by Mark Twain, the famous American author and humorist. This quote tells us two things, it is very difficult for a smoker to quit and every smoker tries one time or the other to quit this addiction. According to survey conducted on smokers, more than 70% really wish to quit and 50% of them had tried more than once. Is it that difficult to quit? Quitting may be really hard and requires a lot of determination and self constrain from ones part. But it is not impossible; as if impossible there won't be any 'ex smokers'.
When you quit, just a few hours after your very last cigarette, the body starts to go back to its normal self and starts flushing out nicotine from the body. This gives rise to a group of symptoms including sore throat, dry mouth, cough, constipation, depression etc called the withdrawal syndrome or recovery syndrome. The conditions of withdrawal symptoms resemble flu, hence also called quitters flu. The withdrawal symptoms are at peak at 48th hour after quitting and gradually decrease after 6 months. The withdrawal period is very stressful and unpleasant and can cause anger, anxiety, insomnia and mood swings. The, to be 'ex smoker' faces an irresistible carving for tobacco during this time. Support from family and friends and self control helps the person to overcome this phase.
There are many ways to quit smoking, one can either quit smoking with the help of quitting aids, using natural remedies and the most difficult but effective one, by determination. To quit smoking the urge to quit should come from within you. Forced quitters (forced by family or friend) tend to smoke when no one is around, it's like cheating oneself. So quitting should be a battle between your addiction and your goal. Smoker can quit abruptly one fine day without preplanning, the cold turkey method. The best day for quitting is today, as tomorrow never comes. This method can't help everyone as the withdrawal symptoms creeps in. Another strategy followed is gradual reduce of tobacco intake by cutting down the number of times you smoke each day.
If quitting by determination alone seems to be impossible, quitting aids like chandix and nicotine patch can be used. These helped many people out of their long term addiction. Chandix are medication prescribed to quitters containing active ingredient, varenicline. This active ingredient is nicotine analog and binds to the nicotine receptors in the brain reducing the chance for nicotine binding thereby decreasing the satisfaction produced from smoking. This also produces the neurotransmitters dopamine (produced during smoking) and helps to dampen withdrawal syndrome. Chandix is found to be an effective drug against smoking, but should not be used during pregnancy, breast feeding etc.
Another quitting aid is the nicotine patch which is one of the popular nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). When plastered onto the skin, it releases small amount of nicotine into the bloodstream, reducing the urge to smoke and reduces the withdrawal syndrome. Nicotine patches are to be used only after consulting a physician, smoking while using these may cause serious health problem due to nicotine overdose. Both chandix and nicotine patches can cause side effect like nausea, drowsiness, constipation in a few people.
Certain natural methods are available to quit smoking, Lobelia inflate an herb is found to be very effective, the active component, lobitine is similar to nicotine and produces the same effect hence helping to overcome the carving to smoke. The plant is reported to be toxic and is to be used only under medical supervision. St Johns' Wort (Hypericum perifuratum), green oat (Avena sativa) are other plants used to help the quitters. Increase in intake of alkaline foods like spinach, beet green, raisins etc changes the preference of taste buds and helps to curb smoking.
Write down why you decided to quit in the first place and carry it all the time, when the urge to smoke kicks in read it slowly.
Keep yourself busy and focused.
Be honest with you, because one little puff at the time of quitting will take you back to the point you started.
Drink a lot of water to flush off nicotine in the body and practice alkaline rich diet.
Have a quit buddy, with whom you can share what you are going through.
Try meditation or yoga to calm you and stay away from stress.
Never carry a packet of cigarette with you and stay away from your smoker friends for a few weeks.
Researchers say that it is difficult for alcoholic smokers to quit drinking unless they completely quit smoking. The discontinuing of alcohol consumption is also difficult and it also causes recovery syndrome or withdrawal syndromes like shivering, tastelessness, dryness of mouth and tongue etc. Alcoholism can also be overcome similar to smoking. Win your battle against your addiction to be a better human being. As someone quoted" one who conquers other is mighty, one who conquers himself is almighty."