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Breaking Free: Strategies for Successfully Giving up Cigarette Smoking

March 15, 2023

Mountaineer News

Wellness Wednesdays

(Mountaineer News) - Welcome to another Wellness Wednesday, where we explore essential topics for maintaining good health and well-being.

Today's topic covers the importance of quitting smoking for improved health and the difficulties of achieving it.

Quitting is easier said than done...

Quitting smoking is often seen as a simple matter of breaking a bad habit. However, the reality is that smoking is not just a habit but rather an addiction.

Smoking addiction is a complex condition that affects the brain and body, making it incredibly challenging to quit. Quitting cold turkey can be difficult and is not always a successful experience for everyone. So, for those who have tried and failed to stop using tobacco, you are not alone. What's important is finding a quitting method that works for you.

The Facts...

Addiction is characterized by compulsive behavior and the inability to stop despite negative consequences. Nicotine, the primary addictive substance in tobacco, is a potent stimulant that alters brain chemistry, producing a pleasurable sensation and triggering the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure.

Over time, the brain becomes dependent on nicotine, leading to cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the smoker tries to quit. These symptoms can be intense, including irritability, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, making it difficult to quit smoking without proper support.

In addition to the physical and psychological challenges of quitting, smokers also face societal pressures and cultural norms that can make quitting even more difficult. Smoking has long been associated with relaxation, socialization, and even rebellion, making it difficult for some smokers to give up the habit entirely.

Quitting smoking is not just a matter of willpower or breaking a habit. It's a complex process that requires addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Many smokers report that quitting is one of the hardest things they have ever done, with some needing multiple attempts before successfully quitting.

As we all know, smoking is a leading cause of preventable death and disease, causing lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illnesses. Quitting smoking is not an easy task, requiring a lot of determination and commitment. It can be challenging to break the cycle of addiction, but with the right mindset, support, and resources, it's possible to quit smoking and lead a healthier life.

Here are some tips to help you quit smoking on your own:

  • Set a quit date: Choose a date to quit smoking, and mark it on your calendar. This will give you a goal to work towards and help you stay focused.

  • Create a plan: Develop a plan that outlines your reasons for quitting, your triggers, and strategies for managing cravings. It can be helpful to write down your plan and keep it with you for reference.

  • Seek support: Talk to friends, family, or a healthcare professional about your decision to quit smoking. They can offer encouragement and support, and may have helpful tips for staying smoke-free.

  • Try nicotine replacement therapy: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. NRT comes in the form of patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, or nasal sprays and can be purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor.

  • Practice stress-reducing activities: Smoking is often used as a way to cope with stress. Finding alternative stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing can help reduce the urge to smoke.

  • Avoid triggers: Identify triggers that make you want to smoke and try to avoid them. For example, if you usually smoke while drinking alcohol, try to avoid alcohol until you feel confident in your ability to resist the urge to smoke.

  • Celebrate small successes: Quitting smoking is a journey, and every day smoke-free is a success. Celebrate your progress, even small successes, and reward yourself with something you enjoy.

The West Virginia Tobacco Cessation Quitline is an excellent resource for those who desire to quit smoking but encounter difficulties in doing so independently.

By dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 877-966-8784, participants can receive guidance and support from certified phone coaches specializing in tobacco cessation. These coaches are highly trained and committed to helping individuals quit smoking and overcome the challenges associated with tobacco use.

The Quitline offers personalized support and guidance to individuals looking to quit smoking, including free nicotine replacement therapy and access to a wealth of resources and information on tobacco cessation.

Participants in the program can receive individualized guidance on developing a personalized quit plan, managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and staying motivated throughout the quitting process.

In addition to general support for quitting smoking, Quitline also offers specialized programs for specific groups of tobacco users. For pregnant smokers, a specialized program is available to address the unique challenges and concerns of quitting smoking during pregnancy. Spit tobacco users can also access specialized coaching and support to help them quit their tobacco use.

For more information, visit the West Virginia Tobacco Cessation QUITLINE OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

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