Cigarette is a cylindrical stick composed of over 4000 chemicals. Of these, about 43 Chemicals in cigarette are known to be carcinogenic. Nicotine is the principal and the addictive component of cigarettes. In recent times, people are being adviced to quit smoking because of the proven fact that most cigarette smokers die of tobacco related complications including cancer. Cigarette smoke has also been implicated for lung cancer in passive smokers.
People smoke mainly because it’s a habit they have formed. Smoking accompanies day activities, however, smoking frequently increases with idleness and company of friends who smokes. When cigarette smoke enters the body, it reaches the brain within a period of about 10seconds causing a release of adrenaline. Adrenaline in the system causes a buzz of ecstasy feeling and energy. Ones this buzz fades, the individual feels down and may need to take a buzz again. A stick of cigarette contains 1mg of nicotine which is all it takes to ignite this buzz.
Smoking is dangerous to the health. It has been linked to a number of non-communicable diseases (cancer, emphysema, and heart diseases). Researchers have proven that smoking can decrease an individual’s lifespan for up to 10 years or more. Besides, the addictive nature of smoking makes it a huge financial burden to the individuals and immediate family members.
Nicotine lifespan in the body system varies from 1-3 days however, the length of time it stays in the body system depends on how often you smoke, and may also be affected by your age and general health.
Quitting cigarette smoking can be a very difficult task because of its addictive nature. Individual who truly try to quit smoking may also face a challenge battling with nicotine withdrawal syndrome which make them feel sick and pushes them back to smoking.
Here is a guide to quitting
Set up a quit date. Picking a date about a week or two before you quit is important. This prepares your mind and gives the determination to quit. Set a date on a day that won’t provoke you to smoke. For example, if you smoke more during the weekends because of clubbing and peer activities, choose a day at work or school where you may not be allowed to smoke or may get so busy to get involved.
Tell a significant order i.e. friend, wife, colleague about your desire to quit. Including someone into your plan give a sense of responsibility and commitment. Make them understand you want to quit and you need their encouragement and support.
Be well informed and prepare yourself to deal with the challenges associated with quitting. Reading about quitting or seeking counsel from a health professional about the side effects of smoking prepares you to handle the challenges of craving and withdrawal.
Remove any thing that reminds you of cigarette smoking. Take away lighters, cigarettes, matches. You will also need to wash off your clothes that smell cigarette, clean and freshen up your car etc.
Talk to a doctor about quitting. He may suggest products that may help you; nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine gum.
Keep a list of time, places, things that make you crave. Also mark how much craving you get during craving periods. This will enable you avoid or engage in diversion activities during such times.
Avoid triggers. Avoiding alcohol, places where people smoke will assist you to deal with craving and quitting.
Smoking has some benefit such as protecting one against Parkinson’s, helps in overcoming depression, helps in memory retention, combating obesity and delaying onset of arthritis. However, the health dangers associated with smoking are more life threatening.
By Atenchong Ngwibete- Menakaya