WHY SMOKING CESSATION?

Although the benefits to your health of smoking cessation are undeniable, you may find that quitting is a struggle. You may try many ways before you quit successfully.

More than 20% of the adult population in the United States continues to smoke. More American men smoke than women. Research is revealing that genes may play a role in a person’s dependence on nicotine. There may be specific genes which are responsible for nicotine dependence. There seems to be a similar genetic tendency to both nicotine and alcohol dependence.

Smoking cessation is hard because your body is addicted to tobacco. One of the chemicals in tobacco is nicotine. The discomfort you feel while attempting to quit smoking is a result of your body’s nicotine craving. Smoking Cessation is more than just kicking a bad habit. Your body has to stop craving the nicotine.

Tobacco is a psychoactive or mood altering substance. The addictiveness of tobacco has been compared to that of cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Nicotine causes reactions in your brain similar to heroin and cocaine, and the chemical affects the same area of the brain as these drugs. Often, tobacco is just as abused as those other drugs. Tobacco use greatly increases the likelihood you can develop lung disease and cancer or suffer a heart attack or a stroke.

If you are a smoker, the first cigarette in the morning is always your favorite. The level of nicotine in your body has been depleted overnight while you were asleep. The first couple of cigarettes of the day, not only replenish your nicotine level, they stimulate the brain cells to release increased levels of dopamine which floods your body with a pleasurable sensation as well. By the time, you build up your habitual nicotine level again, the sensors that released the dopamine become desensitized to it and stop producing the pleasure chemical. This is why you tend to increase the number of cigarettes you smoke over time. You smoke more cigarettes trying to get the nicotine rush of pleasure chemicals to start up again. You can soon find yourself smoking two or three packs a day.

About 4% of smokers who try to quit without any outside help succeed. As a smoker, you have developed some habits that are closely linked to your smoking habit. A cigarette after a meal or with an alcoholic beverage and smoking while driving or talking on the phone could be a few of your habits. The major obstacle in “do it yourself” smoking cessation is breaking the connections these activities have to smoking. The behavioral changes needed to remove these links are very difficult to accomplish without help. Many times, the simple connection of a beverage and a cigarette is enough to start the craving and tempt you to backslide or cheat. Consult your doctor for help and advice about your smoking cessation plans.

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