Many diseases are associated with smoking. According to a recent study, smoking cigarettes or tobacco causes around six million deaths every year. Aside from this, the same research team also reveals that second-hand smoking generates an average of six hundred thousand deaths on a yearly basis. Therefore, it is only proper to conclude that even a non-smoker may still be exposed to the risks of smoking.
Approximately 37.8 million adults in the United States are said to be currently smoking cigarettes, and 16 million are living with a smoking-related illness.
Tobacco consumption is a powerful addiction because nicotine stimulates specialized neural receptors in the brain, just as all other highly addictive substances do. Most quitters fail in their initial attempt because their cravings are just too strong. — Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Though it is said that smoking has declined by almost 21 out of every 100 adults, still cigarette use is a burden to the health of not only the smoker himself but his family as well.
It was discussed in the first part of this blog that smoking could affect not just the physical fitness of a person. The mental and psychological health is also affected and in a massive way. Stress can be useful to motivate someone to be productive, but if in excess, it can cause other mental health issues like anxiety. Smoking can bring about this problem, with stress and also anxiety.
Now, we move on to other mental health effects due to smoking.
When people face a life problem, which usually is about the work or the love aspects of their lives, they typically first feel anxious. Looking ahead they feel uncertain about what if anything they can do about the problem. — Susan Heitler Ph.D.
Smoking And Depression
There is a newfound correlation between smoking and depression. Studies have found that smoking rates among adults are twice as high when diagnosed with depression. Withdrawal symptoms are more severe and prevalent in people suffering from depression, and they have a harder time dropping the habit. This mood-altering effect of nicotine has to do with how it stimulates the dopamine centers of the brain.
Dopamine, otherwise known as the happy hormone, is responsible for a person’s feeling of euphoria or happiness. Nicotine triggers its release in the brain to cause a change of mood amongst depressed individuals. There are scientific evidence and study that cigarettes are utilized as a quick dopamine fix to stave off depression. However, smoking also deactivates the brain’s facility to create its own dopamine. The result of this is that a prolonged smoking habit causes a person to be reliant exclusively on smoking to suppress their depression.
Smoking And Schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia are three times more likely to smoke than usual and are also inclined to smoke in more significant amounts. The reason being that nicotine helps to suppress their schizophrenic symptoms or side effects of medication. Schizophrenia is a severe mental health condition that can cause harm to the person who has it, and to those around the one suffering from the disease. A person with schizophrenia who also happens to be smoking, in the long run, can make it worse as the withdrawal indicators can compound with schizophrenia’s symptoms, adding complexity to a treatment.
It is well-known that smoking is much more common among people with mental illness, especially depression and schizophrenia. However, most studies that have looked at this association have not been able to determine if this is a cause-and-effect relationship. —
Dropping The Habit
The best method for stopping smoking is to start early, have a plan, and be resolute in it. Cold Turkey or completely cutting off smoking abruptly has the tendency to cause an even graver relapse since longtime smokers may not be prepared for severe withdrawal effects. Being made is still the best indicator of success, and here are some guidelines that can help.
Find Alternative Ways To Relieve The Stress
Smoking habits are reinforced due to the temporary high it provides when stress. Seek other ways to relieve stress like meditation, exercise, a hobby, and having a balanced diet.
Find A Support System
Family and friends can provide support in dropping the habit. A concerted effort can be to quit smoking with similar family members or friends and keep each other in check.
The data on quitting rates suggest that smokers are not doing themselves any good by signing up. In the case of programs that use nicotine replacement devices, they may be doing themselves harm. — Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Be Informed Of Withdrawal Symptoms And How To Go About It
Educate yourself on what withdrawal symptoms will be like and how severe. It would help to have a store of fresh fruits, clean water, and high fiber food to stave off symptoms.
Finally, if cutting the habit proves too difficult, seek out medical attention. There are therapies and nicotine replacement practices that can help ween off the addiction. Further advice can be provided by your respective doctors and can point you to services better equipped to cope with withdrawal.
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to improve your health, and there are many effective options available that can help someone stop smoking. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.
Have you ever wondered why many people in your life want you to refrain from smoking? Are you interested to find out about the top reasons why they want to transform you into a non-smoker? In this article, our primary focus will be on the different reasons why your partner, family members, and friends want you to quit smoking today. It is essential to identify these reasons so that you will understand their insistence on wanting to change your bad habits. They want you to:
The effects of smoking on physical health are commonly known topics in today’s time. However, studies have shown that smoking can affect a person’s mental health and psychological capacity, as well. The effects may differ from person to person but having more comprehensive knowledge of smoking, and its impact can help in the effort to stop it for people who want to quit.
Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable illness. It causes more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States—41,000 of which are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.
Smoking: The Addiction Cycle
It is common knowledge that a smoking habit is difficult to break, but it helps to look at the physiological reasons as to why that is so hard to do.
Much of the addiction involves developing a dependence on nicotine. When nicotine reaches the brain, there are notable positive effects in a person’s performance, at first. It improves their mood, sharpens their concentration, relieves stress, relaxes the muscles, and reduces appetite. Continued use, however, changes the brain and makes it reliant on nicotine – a restricting the brain of nicotine would then cause withdrawal symptoms. This high and lows cycle reinforces the smoking habit and fuels the addiction.
Younger people are more susceptible to nicotine dependence and addiction cycle due to a lack of impulse control or societal or environmental pressures. A diagnosed addiction can also lead to other types of addiction if the effects can hide each other’s downside. For example, withdrawal symptoms can be numbed with the use of alcohol and drugs, adding a layer of reinforced behavior that needs to be broken through.
Smoking And Its Psychological Symptoms
As mentioned, compared to the physical health aspect, new studies and research are being found regarding smoking’s mental health effects. Use of nicotine has been proven to have some mental benefits (hence the appeal) but is this still the case in prolonged use? The following are some of the findings regarding the matter.
For many folks, it’s only when they have fallen into a dark hole of hopelessness that they finally feel so bad that they reach out for professional mental health services. — Susan Heitler Ph.D.
Smoking And Stress
Stress is a common phenomenon shared by everyone; it affects us when we are made to cope with something we are unfamiliar with or what we deem unpleasant. ‘Self-Medication’ is the term used for when smoking is used to relieve stress, and there is some fact in doses of nicotine can alleviate stress.
These effects are, however, temporary. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to nicotine increases anxiety and tension. Heightened feelings of stress are linked to nicotine withdrawal and smoking acts as a way to temporarily relieve the feeling of stress but doesn’t outright cure it. The need to relieve stress can fuel addiction to smoking due to how smoking acts as a quick fix from withdrawal.
On the next blog, a few more effects of smoking to a person’s mental health will be discussed. The blog will include a discussion on the correlation of smoking with depression, and also schizophrenia. How to help yourself break the habit of smoking is also part of the blog’s topic.
The bottom line is that of every ten people successfully quitting, 9 did so by themselves whether by slowly reducing the amount smoked or going cold turkey and only one used drug therapy and/or counseling. — Nigel Barber Ph.D.
Some people find it very difficult to do so, but with strong will and motivation, it can be done. While a majority of smokers want to quit, according to study – 70% of smokers try and abstain from it, they fail miserably. Like any other addiction (drugs, sex, gambling, and alcohol), smoking is hard to beat. But it can be done, and it must be done if you value your health more than that cigarette puff.
Smoking is on the rise today among teenagers at an increasing rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in 2012, 7% of middle schoolers and 23% of high schoolers in the United States have taken up the smoking habit. Even more alarming is that there are more than 3,200 teenagers who smoke their first cigarette every day. It can be anyone, and it can be your child.
Smoking is becoming a rampant habit among teenagers today. While it may start innocently, note that seasoned smokers start during their teenage years – giving rise to smoking-related problems during adulthood. To discourage them from forming a habit, consider the following advice.
The number of negative health effects related to cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke provide a myriad of reasons to quit smoking. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.
If you are already starting your journey in quitting smoking, then that is one of the most significant things you can thank yourself for doing. Not only this decision creates a long-lasting effect on your life, but it will also make a valuable advantage in your overall health and well-being. However, everything about it purely does not go in a way that you can easily handle. There are temptations, cravings, stress, and drawbacks that you need to experience. And with the entire struggle, there is a tendency that you will emotionally, physically, and mentally bend and break. From there, you might lose the will power and motivation to continue appreciating the reason why you want to quit smoking. With this instance, you might want to listen to psychologist advice.
Path On Becoming A Successful Non-Smoker
When it comes to fulfilling a desire, you have to make sure that you don’t only picture yourself with the idea. There must be a consistency of saying no to smoking. With that, you have to remove all the doubt on your ability to change and see things through. If you decide to finally commit yourself to be a smoke-free individual for your entire life, things will genuinely become different. Yes, the whole process is complicated because smoking already associates with a psychological condition. However, with the help of proper motivational techniques, for sure, you can still make it work. Because in this type of addictive condition, a positive attitude is the most reliable asset you can have.
Picturing An End Result
Towards the journey of quitting your smoking habit, you should be able to imagine yourself as a non-smoker. Think about what your life could have been if you are not at all engaged in smoking addiction. It could be as close as a few months or a year from today. Picture yourself having more money in your wallet, or having more energy and away from other types of diseases. By thinking of a life without cigarettes, you can begin to like the idea of quitting because there is a lot that you can gain from the changes you are about to make.
Create A Good Influence Circle
If you encircle yourself with persons who are always smoking, it will be more likely that you will end up copying their habit as well. But if you change and try to choose only those individuals that can influence your growth, you will never feel the need to smoke. Honestly, there is genuinely no point of making a big deal out of your decision of quitting. But when you are with the wrong people, the process can become twice as hard to do. Befriend those who will not only encourage you to stop smoking but will also contribute to your overall development.
Always Prioritize Your Health
A person’s mental, physical, and emotional health is fragile. Therefore, you need to take care of it, no matter what. By prioritizing your overall health, you do not just allow yourself to have a better balance. You also reduce the risk of having any damaging conditions that smoking can cause. With that, exercising becomes a key factor for better living. It does not have to be intense, though. Daily activity, such as walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, and so on, can immensely make a difference. Allow your mind and body to heal.
It seems that early on during their quitting attempt smokers who had more general interference with their cognitive function relapsed sooner. — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
Try To Reward Yourself
Quitting on smoking requires too much energy. That is because you allowed the brain to function with its existence. With that, you need to reward yourself for every victory over your cigarette cravings. Make a habit of setting up small goals of rapid achievements. Let your hard work pay yourself. Since smoking is an expensive habit, trying not to light at least five cigarettes a day, you will amaze how much money you can save with that. The positive reinforcement will allow your mind to focus on the significant side of not smoking a piece of cigarette.
It is easy to decide to quit smoking immediately. However, the process of executing it will be the hardest part of the idea. You will more likely experience issues along the way, and persistency is difficult. It would feel like every time you try; you know that you will be most likely to fail. Additionally, the beneficial factors may not be as visible as you would expect it to be. That is why you get easily swayed from continuing the effort. But no matter how little the chances are, it will show overall progress no matter what.
Of the many harmful chemicals found in a piece of cigarette smoke and tobacco, nicotine is the primary substance responsible for addiction. It acts to increase the amount of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is in charge of the reward pathway. Its design is to reward the body with pleasurable feelings for essential behaviors that are vital for human survival. Psychologists believe that too much use of tobacco or cigarette can cause repeated dopamine surges due to its nicotine content. With this particular process, it desensitizes the reward pathway system, making it less responsive to daily stimuli.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), nearly 68 percent of adult cigarette smokers want to quit smoking, but they often don’t feel confident in their ability to do so, especially if they have made previous attempts to quit. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.
How The Addiction Functions
As the body’s system adapts to the continually increasing levels of dopamine, the body becomes dependent on nicotine. Therefore, to get the same pleasurable effects, more and more nicotine gets required. However, nicotine is not the only harmful substance to blame for a cigarette or tobacco addiction. Because at the very least, acetaldehyde is also responsible for nicotine dependence. Tobacco smokers who inhale absorb it as quickly as cigarette smokers. However, depending on the size of the tobacco or cigarette smoke, the chemical content can be higher.
Aside from that, the genetic makeup seems to play a role in addiction susceptibility. Meaning, some individuals become prone to dependence compared to others when exposed to nicotine. That explains why when these people become addicted, they become less able to quit. And since many genes are more likely to get involved, the brain responds differently.
The development of tobacco or cigarette addiction depends on the amount and speed of the brain’s nicotine absorption. The chemicals get through the brain in seconds with just single smoke inhalation. It immediately results in a rewarding effect. And because smoking only allows a minute of pleasure, individuals light up more to feel the same satisfaction. With that, the buildup of a functioning aggressive reward pathway becomes present in the brain.
In general, people start smoking as teenagers and continue the habit into adulthood as a way to help them relax or cope with life’s pressures. Those in chronic pain may start or continue to smoke because they believe it helps alleviate the stress and discomfort associated with their condition. — Scott Dehorty MSW, LCSW-C
In addition to the physiological basis, experts explain that there are behavioral factors that also strengthen smoking addiction. It includes the habit of lighting a piece of cigarette, taking a puff every after a meal, smoking due to boredom, and socializing with other smokers. These are all associated with the rewarding effect and are the reasons why it seems hard to break the habit.
It is no secret that tobacco and cigarette smoking is one of the leading cause of premature deaths. That is due to its association with specific lung diseases and cancers. But what adds to the alarm is consuming it with or without direct puff increase risk of cardiovascular diseases. It means it can become the source of strokes and heart attacks.
Another thing that people should watch out is the habit of smoking when pregnant or exhaling smoke near a pregnant woman. That is due to the oxygen deprivation to the fetus, which eventually causes fetal growth retardation. The nicotine and other harmful chemicals in the tobacco or cigarette can cross the placenta and affect the fetal circulation. It creates learning and behavioral issues in the child. In most unfortunate cases, it has the potential to increase infant deaths.
Handling The Addiction
Smoking cessation produces withdrawal symptoms. These include irritability, cravings, attention deficit, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and increased appetite. These psychological effects become the reason why a lot of smokers are having a hard time quitting the habit. Most of them can’t handle the withdrawal symptoms and when they force to stop it, the harder it gets.
However, treatment for cigarette and tobacco addiction is possible. Some experts use behavioral therapies partnered with nicotine replacements. Samples of these are nicotine gums and patches. The use of these medicinal counterparts promotes low addiction potential. It reduces toxicity associated with other harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke and tobacco products. It helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms as well.
…knowing the specific predictors of early relapse in people who are quitting smoking may be useful so that professionals planning smoking interventions can do a better job of targeting the most important factors. — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
Cutting off the smoking habit is entirely hard to do, particularly to those individuals who started it in their early years. It requires an extensive amount of motivation and encouragement to decide not to light or puff a piece. It needs proper guidance and clinical evaluation too. But once individuals recognize the importance of not smoking, they will soon appreciate how the mind and body function.
Many people find it hard to overcome their smoking addiction, especially if they have been doing it for a long time already. A lot of them also think that the human body craves for more cigarettes if they decide to quit their bad habits. What they do not know is that the more they smoke, the more they harm themselves as well as those surrounding them. At the same time, there is also a high likelihood that they would suffer from stress and anxiety. However, if you are not one of these individuals as you have finally stopped smoking, then be sure to share your story to everyone.
Quite a bit of research has already shown that when smokers are trying to quit (so we’re talking early on during abstinence), their brains react differently to stimuli in the environment depending on the relationship between those stimuli and nicotine. Stimuli that aren’t associated with smoking (or some other form of nicotine intake) get less attention and show overall less activation of important brain circuits while nicotine associated cues light up the brain just as if nicotine was on board (even though participants were drug free at the time). — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.
Before anything else, it is crucial to emphasize the fact that you have done such a wonderful step in taking good care of yourself. Take this moment to congratulate yourself for having the courage to confront your smoking addiction and deciding to live a healthier lifestyle. Remember that what you did was a challenging and bold move, but you were able to survive it all.
For sure, at this point in your life, you are already enjoying the various benefits and advantages of taking away smoking out of your life’s pictures. Do you feel happier and lighter these days? Have your sleeping patterns improved after you stopped puffing cigarettes? Did your mental health show significant positive changes because of your recent lifestyle change? Do not be surprised to discover that you have reaped all these benefits because you truly deserve it. You did well in helping yourself become a better person. Now, it is your time to motivate others and show them that just like you, they can also change.
The locals will tell you about better wines from here, more dependable cars from there and brighter school children from almost anywhere. But no matter where you go, American tobacco is considered superior to all others. — Stephen Mason Ph.D.
Below are the top reasons why you must help others to quit smoking too:
To Lessen Second Hand Smoke
A recent study shows that second-hand smoke is more dangerous compared to the smoke inhaled by the person smoking. As such, the adverse effects of cigarettes have become available not only to smokers but even to smokers. If you want to lower down the chances of inhaling second-hand smoke, it is best if you will dedicate your time in educating others why they have to say goodbye to smoking for the rest of their lives.
To Help A Loved One
Is someone in your life addicted to smoking? Do you want to help this person live longer? If yes, then be sure to extend your helping hands to this individual. Let him feel that you are always by his side no matter what happens. Take every opportunity you can get to discuss to him the adverse effects of smoking. Keep in mind that the conversation may be awkward, mainly when the other person is not willing to listen to you. Nonetheless, it is not a good reason to stop your calling in helping others overcome smoking addiction. Keep on reaching out to the other person until everything gets better.
To Improve Your Mood
You may not know this, but the mere act of talking about things that make you happy or how you survive specific challenges and struggles in life can be beneficial on your part. You will be surprised by how recognizing your good deeds can transform you into a likable person. You will start to see your worth until you can experience the different effects once you have an improved mood. Be proud of your accomplishments. You have reached this point in your life because you were dedicated to achieving a specific goal. Now that you are done pursuing such a goal, it is time to focus on other objectives.
Just because you have finally overcome addiction does not mean that the others can also do it. Whether you like it or not, the truth is that a person’s decision on what to do with his life is all up to him. Your role is merely to guide that individual into the right path. Do not get easily disheartened or discouraged if you have not successfully converted a smoker into a non-smoker. It is still the other person who will decide for himself. As long as you did your part, there is nothing to worry about. Choose to move on to better tomorrows.
After three days your sense of smell and taste improve. Within 10-15 years, your risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses return to a nonsmoking level—if you quit smoking before these diseases develop. — Amy Copeland, Ph.D.