Aside from being a very dangerous habit that affects almost all parts of the human body, cigarette smoking is very addictive. In fact, nicotine, which is the main addictive substance in tobacco cigarettes, is more addictive than heroin.
In the US, cigarette smoking is the primary cause of avoidable deaths and illnesses. It accounts for one every five deaths, and it is the reason more than 16 million Americans suffer from chronic diseases.
Although there has been a decline in the number of adults who smoke (from 29% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013), it is still important to note that the unwanted effects remain as significant over the past few years. People get sick and die from harmful substances emitted by tobacco combustion, whether first hand or second hand.
There have been plenty of studies regarding the negative effects of cigarette smoking, and it is unquestionable how it is directly related to lung, heart, digestive, and other chronic illnesses. Nonetheless, the fact remains that people find it hard to quit the deed without having to go through various stages of nicotine withdrawal, with quite a large number requiring the assistance of professionals.
How Does One Get Addicted to Cigarette Smoking?
Nicotine is the most prevalent substance found in cigarettes, which is also the culprit as to why these cancerous sticks are so addicting. Nicotine affects our bodies by affecting brain chemicals called dopamine and noradrenaline. These chemicals handle your mood and stress levels.
As soon as you inhale nicotine from tobacco cigarettes, it immediately goes up to your brain and alters the way the chemicals as mentioned earlier are produced. As a result, your mood becomes calmer, you feel pleasure, and experience lesser anxiety. As compared to the sudden high experienced when taking illegal drugs, nicotine high is more subtle, light, and short-lived. As soon as the effect wears out, you begin craving for another stick, and the addiction begins.
The more you smoke, the more you become tolerant to a particular nicotine level, so you will need more amount of the substance to get that same nicotine high. Moreover, at the same time as your dopamine and noradrenaline levels are boosted, the other parts of your body become recipients of highly cancerous and hazardous smoking byproducts. To name a few, smoking releases formaldehyde, benzene, radon, cadmium, carbon monoxide, and many more into the blood stream.
These harmful substances reduce the body’s fundamental nourishment by decreasing the vitamin C supply by 40%, promoting faster bone degeneration, and lessening your oxygen intake, among others. These negative effects, of course, are not felt until they result in illnesses. The short term pleasure and mood enhancement that nicotine brings makes cigarette smoking feel good rather than dangerous.
Although the effects of nicotine do not produce hallucinations and extreme brain activities, the availability of cigarettes has made them easily accessible, which is probably why many people are into smoking. The same rationale is also accountable for the data that shows how nicotine is harder to quit compared to heroin.
Is There Such a Thing as The Most Effective Way to Quit?
People who are addicted to nicotine through cigarette smoking are often advised to consult a physician for professional help. In some countries, public health services include support groups for people who want to quit smoking.
The decline in the number of smokers in the US shows that more and more people realize how detrimental smoking is to their health. Many more are interested in quitting but are unable to do so due to the extent of their nicotine dependence.
There is no such thing as the ‘most effective way to quit smoking’. It all depends on how determined you are in stopping the habit, and which method most suits your lifestyle. Whether you want to quit cold turkey or do a gradual adjustment in your daily dose of nicotine smoking sticks, it always depends on how much determination you have. The most important thing to remember is that you are quitting the deed for your health’s sake, therefore, to rebuild your once-damaged biological system.
There are plenty of options for those who want to use supplements and devices that help in stopping the habit. Nicotine patches and gums have been created and are now flooding the market. There are support groups, physical activities, sports groups, and other communities that are formed for the sole purpose of helping people quit smoking. There are also herbal and organic supplements that claim to help in achieving this particular goal.
Regardless of which one you choose, always keep in mind that the optimum goal is to keep your body in good shape. After bombarding it with harmful chemicals, quitting smoking is the right time to replenish the lost vitamins and minerals that smoking took its toll.
Being aware of what your body needs is equivalent to extending your life span, contrary to shortening it by smoking cigarettes. Apart from strengthening your immune system, the intake of sufficient nutrition ensures that your body does not give in to withdrawal symptoms, and it develops a strong defense against the after-effects of smoking and nicotine addiction. When your body is healthy, you feel a lot better, and that explains why you should use vitamins and minerals to help stop smoking.
What Vitamins and Mineral Should You Take?
There are different vitamins and minerals that smokers, ex-smokers, and those who are trying to quit should take. Timing is also fundamental for some nutrients to prepare the body for when you quit smoking, and to boost the immune system for when you have already left the habit.
The following vitamins and mineral are among essential nutrients that you should take when quitting smoking.
Vitamin C is responsible in building the immune system and fighting off illnesses such as coughs, colds, prenatal problems, skin ageing, and more. When you smoke, as much as 40% of your vitamin C supply is stripped and excreted quickly from your body, making it reasonable to take an extra amount of the vitamin to balance things off. Once you are done with your final cigarette stick, you can decrease your intake to the prescribed level (approximately 1000 mg per day) to help you avert from nicotine cravings. The same vitamin is also effective in flushing out heavy and poisonous metals inside your body brought about by smoking, such as lead and cadmium.
Another vital nutrient, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps remove free radicals from your system. When you get rid of the cancer stick, you will want to get rid of the residue that it left in your body. Taking the right amount of vitamin E helps rebuild damaged cells, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risk of developing cancer and heart attacks.
Calcium, an important mineral that helps in maintaining healthy bones, is also flushed out from our body due to the presence of nicotine. As a result, bones degenerate faster and become weak in the long run. Taking your daily dose of calcium helps replenish this loss, and prevents osteoporosis and other illnesses related to calcium deficiency.
When you smoke or quit smoking, your immune system goes down and you are prone to get ill anytime. Beta Carotene keeps the immune system up, but it should be known that this vitamin is better taken once your nicotine intake is significantly decreased in the process of quitting. Studies find that combining beta carotene with smoking can cause cancer. Instead of taking supplements as you smoke, you can eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta carotene to help strengthen you immune system. Natural beta-carotene can be processed in its entirety and will not cause harm in the long run.
Smoking depletes your energy, making you feel exhausted without sufficient nutrients and oxygen in your body. B-complex, which includes B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 vitamins are essential in processing and breaking down your food and nutrients into usable energy for your daily activities. Make sure to take your B-Complex vitamins separately, at least an hour apart, since vitamin C is known to interfere with some B vitamins.
When you smoke, your body’s magnesium levels drop and become imbalanced with calcium. As a result, calcium deposits are formed in the muscles of the heart. The latter, then, is unable to function normally. Deficiency in this mineral also leads to more serious conditions such as hypertension, liver damage, angina pectoris, and heart attack.
This mineral is vital in preventing the accumulation of poisonous metals from smoking. After you quit, Selenium aids in flushing out toxic chemicals and, therefore, helps cleanse your body to bring out the fresh and healthier you.