I was influenced by my friends to start smoking. Unfortunately, I have become addicted. I have tried to stop smoking in vain. What can I do to quit the habit?
Robert, Form 4
You have fallen into a trap under peer pressure. Cigarettes contain tar and thousands of other harmful chemicals. The main ingredient — nicotine — is addictive. Therefore even if somebody wants to give up smoking he finds it difficult to do so. If he continues smoking there is enhanced risk of many health related problems like hypertension, heart problems, chronic bronchitis, buerger’s disease, etc.
When a person habituated to smoking tries to give up he has a strong desire to smoke at fixed intervals. If he does not smoke, he feels restless, anxious with dry mouth, palpitations, etc. features of withdrawal syndrome, compelling him to smoke again. However with a strong determination one can overcome these symptoms. They will be troublesome for a week or so and then he can stay without tobacco.
A good strategy is to keep oneself occupied at the time when it is time for smoking. When craving is intense, going out in fresh air, doing some other work and or eating something harmless like pea nuts can divert the mind from smoking. Gradually the craving for smoking will reduce and one can be comfortable without it.
Tranquilizers and anxiolytic drugs are used to help overcome troublesome withdrawal symptoms. E-cigarettes have emerged in the past decade where nicotine is available in form of an inhaler without other harmful chemicals. Transdermal patches of nicotine are also available. Use of this is said to avoid many health hazards produced by cigarette smoke and also reduces addiction. But these are in very early stages to be evaluated for their health effects. Studies have shown breathing exercises of yoga to aid in quitting smoking and other addictions.
It is also important to take a healthy nutritious diet which supplements necessary vitamins and minerals because smoking tends to deplete necessary vitamins, particularly B.complex.