Most tobacco users do want to quit and many have tried without success.
The majority of us know that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and increases the risk of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer, and harms every organ of the body. Yet still, over one out of five people in northern B.C. continue to smoke.
A feeling of loss along with the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal and cravings makes it difficult to stop smoking or chewing tobacco.
Many people who smoke or chew tobacco find that it helps them through the tough times of their life - kind of like a friend. They use it to feel better when they feel lonely, anxious, depressed, or even when they’re bored. They may enjoy it socially when they are with friends, or routinely throughout their day.
The reward centre in the brain is stimulated by nicotine within 10 seconds of inhalation, causing a feeling of well-being, improved mood, and increased attention. These feelings can help deal with the stresses of life. It can help you feel more positive, more in control and reduces hunger. No wonder when someone tries to quit, it feels like they’re giving up a best friend!
Unfortunately, these feelings are soon replaced with the discomfort of withdrawal and the cravings for more tobacco. Some smokers who have used tobacco for a while find that smoking simply relieves withdrawal and no longer is even pleasurable.
If tobacco feels like a friend to you, consider this: would a friend damage your health? Take your money? Risk your life?
Tobacco is the unhealthy relationship that you CAN cut from your life!
The good news is that once you have quit, the withdrawal symptoms and cravings will reduce and you won’t need to smoke to feel good!
Most people do want to quit, and often do for these reasons:
- Concern about their health.
- Concern about the cost of smoking or chewing.
- Concern about the health of the people around them.
- There are fewer places where they are allowed to smoke.
- Embarrassment that they use tobacco.
The addiction to smoking is hard to kick, but with a plan that supports and reduces withdrawal, removes the triggers that increase cravings, and helps develop other ways to improve mood, tobacco users can successfully quit!
Access to free nicotine patches, gum, lozenges or inhalers are available through the BC Smoking Cessation Program at your local pharmacy. You also may be eligible for assistance to purchase smoking cessation medications.
This article was first published in the Winter 2018 issue of Healthier You magazine.