Nicotine Addiction

Hi today I am going to write about nicotine addiction due to a recent reader who sent me her case scenario, we will call her Ms. A:

I am 33 & have been smoking daily since i was 16. Over the years i gave up for 1 year only but started again (stupidly). Had a bit of a rough time through teens & when i was 23 had an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in losing the baby & 1 of my tubes. from there I found out I wouldn’t be able to have children naturally, smoking has put these things to the back of my mind which was great short term but long term i have ran away & never faced up to these things.

Like Ms. A, nicotine addiction is a struggle many people face worldwide.  I have heard this issue from many patients who try to quit, do well for some time and then slowly get back into the habit and give up quitting all together.  You see from what I gather, smoking relaxes people and it gives people pleasure.  The nicotine affects the part of the brain responsible for pleasure so I hear it is very addicting and people build tolerance ( the need for more of the substance to create the same affect) in a short period of time.  Now remember that nicotine is really bad for you.  Nicotine can build up in your lungs and produce lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and  increases wrinkles/aging.  In women, it can cause earlier menopause, miscarriages and premature births.  In men, it can also cause problems with erections. Also, there are some people out there that believe it you smoke cigars or a pipe they are less toxic but these people can get mouth and throat cancer.  In addition, people who are around people that smoke all the time around them, ( passive smoking ) are affected as well and can develop any of the above consequences as well.

Who Are Smoking Today:

  • Anyone at any age
  • It  is  a world wide problem

What Are Some Things People Can Do To Quit:

  • Substitute the addiction, by substituting it by chewing sugarless gum or candy
  • Eating when one is craving the nicotine, with healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, some people initially substitute the cigarettes for food but then get a food addiction and you do not want to be in that predicament
  • Exercising, work outs or just going for a walk around the block/s works as well
  • Get a new hobby, when stressed out, read a book, listen to music, sing, dance, watch television, talk to others, get your mind to think about something else
  • Be patient, go to support groups and take it one day at a time, it is a slow process but it can be done

Things Not To Do:

  • Be aware of situations that trigger your smoking habit like drinking an alcoholic beverage maybe when you are trying to quit, try drinking water, tea, coffee or juice  instead
  • Try to avoid social activities where smokers are everywhere like a bar or nightclub until you have quit and can handle the temptation better
  • Substitute the cigarette times with something else, for example, instead of taking a smoking brake, take a fruit brake or a walk brake, another activity that is better for you
  • Substitute smoking after meals habit with watching television, talking to others like family, spouse, children, neighbors or friends

Where To Get Help:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling such as Nicotine Anonymous
  • Combination of both ( Whatever works for you)
  • Family, children, grandchildren,friends, neighbors, church group members

Please Note: I do not mention nicotine patches  or nicotine gum because many of my patients whom have tried to quit with those, have not been successful.  In my observation, when one decides to quit cold turkey and takes the proper steps, with a good support system, then they are they able to successfully quit in time.  You have to try what works for you the best.

When You Are Ready:

  • Make the decision and stick to it, as much as you can, taking it one day at a time
  • Get ready for temptation ( have the sugarless gum or candy at hand)
  • Get ready for withdrawl:
  1. You can get cranky or moody, just take it one day at a time, try to do something else and keep busy
  2. You can gain weight, try your best to eat healthier, fruits and vegetables, and you will not see the weight gain ( which can discourage you )
  3. Braking habits is a long process, it may take a few times before you quit completely, practice positive self talk every morning, such as saying to yourself, ” I can do this” or ” I am an amazing person and I don’t need to feed my body this poison, my family needs me and I need me too”
  4. Trouble sleeping, take natural herbal teas, any of them that are caffeine free and if you put a little bit of milk in it, it helps calm you, naturally
  5. Have faith, you will get through it, lean on other people too, it helps
  6. Keep going to the support groups until you stay clean for a long time, you determine the length of time
  7. Keep visualizing yourself doing all the things in your life you want to do, with no cigarette smoking in this image

Back to my reader’s case, I hope this has helped in giving you ideas on how to quit and on the other side of your story, when you feel ready to face those issues you can go to an individual counselor in your area and work out your problems. See in order to solve problems, one has to face it, take steps to deal with it and put forth maximum effort to overcome them.  I know you can, you wrote me your story and reached out, so you are already taking the steps to get better.  Good luck on your journey, I am proud of you that you have come this far.

Message For My Readers:

I invite you to ask me about any addiction problem, remember this site is an opportunity for all of us to learn from each other and support each other. I am a firm believer in hope.

Good Luck, I know You Can Do This !!!

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