When you quit smoking you can lower your risk for a number of health problems including lung disease, lung cancer and heart disease. Still, “kicking the habit” isn’t easy, especially if you’ve smoked for many years. The good news is that thousands of people successfully stop smoking each year. A number of products are available to help you make the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle a little easier. First you need to make the decision to quit.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Cigarettes are a source of nicotine, an addictive chemical that smokers crave. Many people experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit “cold turkey.” These withdrawal symptoms may increase the desire to smoke. Nicotine replacements supply your body with smaller, controlled amounts of nicotine to help relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms. This may reduce cigarette cravings. Nicotine replacement is available in a number of forms including patches, lozenges and nicotine gum. Your body absorbs nicotine at a slower rate when using replacement products. Plus, you aren’t exposed to the other toxins in cigarettes like tar and carbon monoxide.
How do Nicotine Gums Work?
Nicotine gums are one of the most popular options for nicotine replacement therapy. These gums come in a variety of bold, tongue-tantalizing flavors like fresh mint, fruit and cinnamon. They’re usually sugar-free so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay. They are great for freshening your breath too! Nicotine gums are available in a regular dose as well as a higher nicotine dose for heavier smokers. Always follow the directions and don’t chew more than the recommended number of pieces per day.
How do Nicotine Lozenges Differ from Gum?
Nicotine lozenges are another popular option. Like nicotine gum, they supply your body with controlled doses of nicotine to help reduce the desire to smoke. Unlike nicotine gum that you chew, lozenges are meant to dissolve slowly in the mouth until they disappear completely.
Do Nicotine Replacement Products Have Side Effects?
It’s possible to experience mild side effects like heartburn, rapid heartbeat, gas, headache, stomach upset or insomnia when using nicotine replacement products but these are usually not severe enough to cause concern. Don’t smoke if you’re using any form of nicotine replacement product. This could lead to too much nicotine. It is also important to take the product as directed and use it only for as long as recommended.
When it comes to quitting smoking, men and women are not created equal.
Research suggests that male and female brains respond differently to nicotine. This may explain why men and women have different smoking patterns and quit experiences. Although they are probably not aware of it, men tend to smoke for the “nicotine rush,” while women more often smoke in response to stress and for the calming effects.
For anyone quitting smoking, it’s important to understand your specific triggers, how smoking affects your body, and how you’ll plan ahead to cope with the challenges of quitting smoking. Ladies: read on for useful information to help understand your quit journey.
Women smokers often have a tougher time quitting than men, and scientists are now figuring out why. One study, published December 1999 in the journal Nicotine & amp; Tobacco Research, found that men are more apt to be physically driven by nicotine, in terms of the satisfied feeling they get from smoking, whereas women smoke to reap psychological rewards, such as spending time with friends who also smoke.
Note Instant Rewards
You can soon start to enjoy the benefits of a smoke-free life. Keep a list of the good changes as you begin to notice them. They might include feeling in control, saving money, smelling better, tasting food better, and feeling more energetic. When the urge to smoke strikes, look at your list as a reminder of what you’ve gained from quitting.
Find Your Own No-Smoking Zones
When the urge to smoke strikes, go somewhere you can’t light up — a movie, the library, or a store, for example. The more distracting the place is, the easier it will be to ride out cravings.
Remember Your Reasons for Quitting
Write down a list of all your reasons to stop smoking. Post it everywhere you spend time — in the kitchen, at work, beside the bathroom mirror. Put it in places that are easy to see wherever you go. Some ex-smokers say they found it useful to put photos of family and loved ones alongside their reasons.
Be Active Every Day
Exercise offers a powerful distraction from cravings. When you’re active, your body sends out natural chemicals that help your mood and ease your stress. Walking is one of the simplest options. Choose a few different activities to help you stay motivated. Set aside time to be physically active every day, especially in the first month after you’ve quit smoking.
Put Something Else in Your Mouth
Part of the urge to smoke is having something in your mouth. In place of a cigarette, pop in sugar-free chewing gum, hard candy, or a healthy snack when you feel like you want to light up. Have something with you at all times. If you’re concerned about gaining weight, stick with low-calorie options, like fruits and veggies.