How to easily quit smoking

Health
How to easily quit smoking

Many reasons may make you want to quit smoking: the consequences on your health and those around you, the cost, the anxiety caused by addiction, a serious illness, a surgical operation or even pregnancy. Whatever the reason, quitting smoking is good news for your health and well-being. But this "resolution" is often easier said than done and respected over the long term. Even though relapses are extremely frequent, it is better to start over again several times than do nothing at all!

Quitting smoking rests on 2 pillars

Physical addiction to cigarettes

Nicotine is a substance which is naturally found in tobacco. This substance acts as a drug by creating psychic addiction: nicotine acts on certain receptors in the brain, stimulating the production of dopamine, for example. This addiction may then become physical: when the body does not receive sufficient quantities of nicotine, you will immediately notice physical manifestations (irritability, trembling and shakes, sleep disturbance, etc.). We now know that nicotine is not solely responsible for this addiction. Many other molecules present in the mixtures of tobacco act jointly and create new addictions (by acting, for example, no longer on dopamine but on serotonin). 

Willpower

In fact, without any real desire to quit smoking, all attempts will remain futile. Some reasons for quitting smoking, such as pregnancy for example, are sufficiently motivating in order not to fail and not to allow your will and desire to falter. Most behavioural methods for quitting smoking rest on the awareness of the addiction and, as a result, on establishing a psychological strategy in order not to falter and show willpower.

How to quit smoking ?

Each situation and each individual are different: personality, environment, personal history, etc. Therefore, there are many "methods" in order to induce quitting smoking or make it easier to quit smoking.

Nicotine substitutes

Gums, patches, inhalers and sprays, electronic cigarette. They allow you to reduce the doses of nicotine whilst stopping the act of smoking. The individual goes through a period of transition during which he/she weans himself/herself off the act and ritual of smoking, whilst continuing to take gradually decreasing doses of nicotine. The only disadvantage of this method is not then being able to turn the corner in order to stop these substitutes.

Drugs

The effect of certain drug molecules (Bupropion, Varenicline) would stop you smoking by acting on the receptors in your brain which have become dependent on nicotine. However, numerous significant side effects have been noted (insomnia, depression, behavioural disorders) and this alternative medication, which is costly and is not suitable for everybody, is far from trivial.

Alternative therapies

Alternative therapies such as hypnosis or acupuncture may be very helpful depending on one's receptivity.

Coaching

Some health practitioners or coaches practice coaching in order to motivate and monitor the process of quitting smoking over the medium term. The view of an external and objective person is a lot more motivating than that of those around you.

How to cope better with quitting smoking ?

Quitting smoking is often synonymous with stress, anxiety attacks, weight gain and lack of self-confidence. These unpleasant sensations may be kept under control so as not to be considered as barriers to quitting smoking.

Stress, irritability and sleep disorders

The weaning period has consequences on your emotional balance and equilibrium. You need to be prepared for this anxiety. Make time for, and sticking to it, an (extra) physical activity, which allows you "to decompress", empty the mind and get rid of stress and tension. The practicing of a sport also facilitates and induces sleep, whilst limiting weight gain after quitting smoking.

Increase your magnesium intakes, famous anti-stress agent (eat almonds, drink water that is rich in magnesium, take a supplement that is rich in magnesium) and Omega-3 fatty acids, for their long-term action on your emotional balance and equilibrium. You will find Omega-3 in fatty fish (sardines, anchovies, wild salmon), seafood and shellfish, in certain vegetable oils (linseed, camelina, perilla, soybean, rapeseed oil, etc.), by eating eggs and meat from the blue-white-heart network, and by taking supplements that are rich in Omega-3.

Prevent insomnia and mild depression disorders: herbal therapy offers many solutions such as Valerian, Passionflower, St John's Wort, Kudzu. Furthermore, Valerian has the unique characteristic of making the taste of tobacco unpleasant, an additional element in order to encourage its cessation.

Weight gain

Quitting smoking is often likened to weight gain. In fact, the body is naturally going to look for an alternative to the pleasure provided by the cigarette. This alternative may lie in the consumption of larger portions of food or even the occurrence of binge eating (bulimia) after increased anxiety. Many people resume smoking in order not to put on weight, but this is not a serious alternative! Willpower and the implementation of a strategy will allow you not to gain weight and quit smoking simultaneously.

Prevent weight gain with the help of natural appetite suppressants such as mint and/or peppermint (in essential oils or herbal tea), bladder wrack, fibres (pectin square, apple), green tea, etc. Take up again or intensify the practicing of a sport (jogging, cycling, swimming, etc.) or a physical activity (daily walking).  Do not allow yourself to be tempted by snacking during the weaning period by removing any temptation from your environment.

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