Tobacco is becoming a larger threat to the number of smokers increasing daily. Aside from the carcinogenic materials, it is dangerous because of its addictive effect. Nicotine, when consumed often enough and in large enough doses, causes a serious dependence that can’t easily be beaten. While it may be obvious when it comes to alcohol or other drugs such as heroin, not many know exactly how nicotine affects our systems.
How Does Addiction Work?
The type of tobacco and type of cigarette filter determine how much of the substance is inhaled. Tobacco can also be chewed, which releases noticeably more nicotine. Once the substance enters our bodies, it is almost instantly absorbed into the bloodstream and then arrives at the brain; this is where the trouble begins.
Drugs influence us by activating the ‘reward centers’ located in our brain; the release of hormones makes us feel better. Tobacco is different from other drugs in that the feeling of euphoria it gives us doesn’t last as long. Also, over repeated exposure, your organism won’t be as sensitive to nicotine as it once was, and you’ll need an increasingly larger dose in order to reach the same ‘high’ as before. Therefore, smokers who begin with a cigarette or two a day end up smoking dozens daily.
Effects on the Body
While all smokers have a unique experience and some are more sensitive than others, the ways in which our body changes are the same for everyone. As already mentioned, nicotine reaches our brains insanely fast once we take it in, and influences us in a number of ways.
When you first start smoking, you’ll most likely have an upset stomach and dizzying headaches. After a bit of time, these problems become unnoticeable as your body gets used to the level of nicotine. The problem begins when the nicotine becomes a requirement for your body to function properly. The positive effects aren’t a conscious need; your body becomes addicted to the neurological effect this drug has on it.
The day can’t begin without a cloud of smoke, as we begin to link smoking to certain activities and create habits. For example, a cigarette alongside a cup of coffee has become a morning ritual for many people. To keep the sensation going throughout the day you have to keep smoking, as the feeling of focus and relaxation seems to fade and becomes harder to achieve over time.
Is It Possible to Avoid Addiction?
In most cases, it’s too late as soon as you begin smoking. This is why in most cases we’re not talking about prevention, but withdrawal. But can we prevent people from smoking in the first place?
The best approach is to be an example of yourself. When someone is not a smoker or has overcome an addiction, that is a large influence. Further, while children often imitate celebrities and use them as role models, parents can affect their development more than anyone. Simply staying in touch with your children and talking to them steers them in the right direction. What they see in movies or online isn’t a deciding factor, so don’t think your opinion is irrelevant. Peer pressure is a large influence on teens as many of them want to fit in, but you can also prepare them for this beforehand. Furthermore, make the most out of smoke-free zones. Passive smoking is a serious issue, and if someone is in such an environment often, they might suffer symptoms similar to an active smoker.
In the worst case, they might want to try smoking, even simply out of curiosity. Is there a safe way to approach their needs? You’ve likely heard of electronic cigarettes. The biggest benefit of these devices is that they can be modified in a large number of ways. For example, some businesses such as Hoopers Vapour have begun providing e-cigarettes that contain no nicotine. Smoking e-cigarettes, or vaping, is an accurate simulation of the real thing, so it provides an almost realistic experience but without the addiction.
Is it impossible to stop? No, everyone can do it. It certainly won’t be easy, though. People get into the addiction fast, and the longer you smoke the harder it is to break the habit. A smoking cessation process takes effort, and many people fear that the withdrawal might be too painful for them to endure.
When you don’t smoke for a certain period, withdrawal effects start to kick in. You might feel a craving, anxiety and a bit depressed. Some people have trouble sleeping, and others gain weight. The frustration that comes from the nicotine craving is immense, and people tend to find comfort in food. All of these symptoms come from physical dependence on nicotine. It becomes harder to do everyday tasks when you’re tense, so find something that relaxes you.
There’s a number of ways you can ease the process for yourself. Find a reason to stop, something that can motivate you. Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Going ‘cold turkey’ is not the smartest move you can make, so plan a bit ahead, talk with friends and consult a doctor regarding different withdrawal methods. There are classes you can attend, counseling, and professionals often recommend pharmaceutical products that contain small amounts of nicotine to lessen some of the withdrawal symptoms; this is called nicotine replacement therapy. Gradually decreasing your nicotine intake is a good approach, as it will give your organism time to get used to the lower dosage. Most importantly: find something to do. Don’t sit around and wait for the worst, get active and go for a walk. Clean around the house, or have a night out with a few friends.
It is important to understand how nicotine affects our body, and we need to know how to avoid this type of addiction. Drugs are incredibly dangerous, as they have an effect on us both physically and mentally. When you feel that you’re ready to stop, find a source of motivation and never forget about your friends; you’re not alone in your troubles.