Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Quitting Smoking

Certainly, quitting smoking is highly beneficial to the smoker as well as the society as a whole, considering the health and socio-economic burden which smoking place on the individual smoker and the society at large.
Quitting smoking is, however, acknowledged to be a difficult process. Even after years of not smoking, a number of ex-smokers still have occasional cravings for cigarettes. People who keep trying, however, have a fifty-fifty chance of finally quitting. In any case, the attempts to quit are never a waste of time, since the amount of smoking is reduced during these periods. The smoker is up against a lot of obstacles to quitting.
Methods for Quitting Smoking
At this time the most effective methods for quitting is a combination of nicotine replacement products and an anti-depressant medication (where available), bolstered by counseling.
Plain Withdrawal Method: After a year only about 4% of smokers who quit without any outside help succeed. Nevertheless, most people try to quit alone and may have reported activities that can help the process of withdrawal. The primary obstacle in trying to quit alone is making the behavioural changes necessary to eliminate the habits associated with smoking. Excellent books, tapes, and manuals are available and are strongly recommended to help people who want to quit without other assistance.
Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine replacement products provide low does of nicotine that do not contain the contaminants found in smoke. They are proving to be twice as helpful as other standard quitting methods. Replacement products include nicotine patches, gums, nasal sprays, and inhalers. Nicotine replacement helps prevent weight gain while it is being used but people are still at higher risk for gaining weight when they stop all nicotine.
Side Effects of Nicotine Replacement: Side effects of any nicotine replacement product may include headaches, nausea, and other gastrointestinal problems. People often experience sleeplessness in the first few days, particularly with the patch, but the insomnia usually possess. Patients using very high doses are more likely to experience symptoms, and reducing the dose can prevent them.

Outside Support
People who have such outside help have the best record for quitting, with success rates of between 25% and 35%. (Those who are counseled and use nicotine replacement and antidepressant Zyban have the best chance). According to recent research the two most successful behavioral interventions are supportive care by a clinician, or training in problem solving or coping.

Anti-Smoking Mouthwash: A newly invented mouth rinse shows potential as an effective smoking deterrent. The rinse makes cigarettes taste terrible for five to eight hours after use. Anecdotal evidence indicates that it is quite effective in helping people quit smoking, but the product is still under investigation and not yet available.
Social Pressure (Denormalization): An effective overall current method for reducing smoking is the concept of denormalization. Essentially, this is the processes of making eh smoker fell that what he is doing is abnormal it is best instituted by laws and local regulations making smoking inaccessible in public places raising prices, and putting stricter limitations on cigarette advertising. It needs be emphasized, however, that even if smokers have all the public and professional support available, quitting is still a solitary and difficult process. It requires mostly the individual’s will of the mind.
Tips for Quitting
Below are some pragmatic tips that can assist with quitting smoking. For those desirous of achieving this goal, it is the resilience and self-determination that matter most.
Decide on a specific quit date: For some people, choosing a particular date to quit is helpful when no or low stress is anticipated for at least the first three days afterward. If smokers lose their nerve on the chosen day they must not get discouraged but should simply choose another one as soon as possible.
Let the body and mind heal during withdrawal: Retreat from the work when cravings become over-whelming, take naps, warm baths or showers, meditate, read novels. Assist the body in getting rid of nicotine, drink plenty of water, eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grants, and fiber-rich foods. Carrots, apples, and celery are good munching food. When cravings occur, hold your breath as long as possible or take a few deep rhythmic breaths. Use meditation or relaxation and deep breathing exercises. In fact, taking deep breaths when the urge to smoke occurs in a good stopgap measure.
Get family and friends involved: Tell all your friends and family that you’ve already quit so you’ll be embarrassed if they catch you smoking. Pay a family member or friend if they catch you smoking. The amount should be large enough to be a deterrent, but not too large as to be ridiculous. If your partner smokes, try and persuade him or her to quit or at the very least not to smoke, around you and others.
Exercise: An enjoyable exercise program is a great asset. Studies continue to show that smokers who exercise, vigorously if possible, can greatly increases their risk for weight gain. Moe the muscles when craving occurs. Dance, run, walk jump up and down, stretch, do push-ups. Yoga is an excellent exercise program for quitting.
Maintain a healthy diet: Eat plenty of fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables. This is also a useful way of satisfying oral cravings without adding many calories. Drink plenty of water and healthy beverages. Weight gain is a problem in quitting. One study reported that a low calorie diet during withdrawal and for the first few weeks helped women prevent weight gain and improved abstinence significantly compared to those on a normal diet, even when subjects went off this diet later on.

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