People that smoke generally start when they are teenagers, out of curiosity because their friends smoke, or they think it looks cool. The younger you are when you start smoking the more likely you are to become addicted to it.
Although smoking is not as well advertised as it used to be, as people have become more focused on their health and wellbeing, it is still readily available. The invention of e-cigarettes and vaping has become incredibly popular as they are advertised as being a healthier and safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.
What causes smoking to become addictive?
Nicotine is the ingredient that causes you to become addicted to smoking. It works much like other addictive drugs, by flooding the brains reward circuits, with a chemical called dopamine. Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco are easily absorbed into the body through the lungs and bloodstream.
In small amounts nicotine produces a pleasant sensation that can distract people from feeling anxious or stressed and make them feel temporarily more relaxed. These feelings occur within seconds of smoking and only last for a few minutes, which causes people to want to smoke more and this is how the addiction begins.
Why is it so hard to stop smoking?
People often struggle to stop smoking because of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
· Chest tightness, coughing, sore throat or dry mouth
· Weight gain due to increased appetite
· Feeling restless, irritable, angry, impatient or frustrated
· Problems sleeping
· Trouble concentrating
Most people are aware that smoking is bad for your health and can cause serious health problems, some of which can be fatal. In the UK alone it is estimated that around 76,000 people die each year because of smoking related health conditions.
Tobacco products contain substances that are both addictive and toxic to the body, these include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, arsenic, formaldehyde and benzene. Smoking can cause conditions such as:
· Heart attack
· Coronary heart disease
· COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
· Damage to blood vessels and arteries
· Erectile dysfunction and fertility issues
· Rheumatoid arthritis
Ways to help you stop smoking
NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) provides you with low levels of nicotine minus the tar, carbon monoxide and poisonous chemicals in tobacco. This is available in the form of tablets, inhalers, sprays, gum or skin patches and can help people with their withdrawal symptoms.
It doesn’t suit everyone as they have their own side effects which can include skin, nose, throat and eye irritation as well as dizziness, headaches, stomach upsets and sleep issues.
E-cigarettes can also help people to stop smoking, but can also become addictive themselves, as they allow you to still inhale and get a healthier reduced amount of nicotine and are cheaper than tobacco products.
Counselling, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and clinical hypnotherapy therapy can all prove successful methods to giving up smoking. CBT helps people to recognise their thoughts and behaviours associated with smoking and develop better ways to deal with their urge to smoke. Clinical hypnosis can help them to associate smoking with unpleasant experiences rather than the pleasant ones they currently have. Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.