Okay, I know what you’re saying: “Not another article telling me the same things about how smoking is bad and that I should stop.”

Sure, it’s a no brainer, smoking is harmful to your health; even the box itself is littered with warnings! But what if you’re only a “social smoker”? Could sneaking a cigarette once a while on the back porch while the kids are asleep really be that dangerous?

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Thing is, because of the disease causing properties of tobacco, there is no safe limit for cigarette smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, compounds and carcinogens; hundreds of which are toxic.

This is what happens to your body after a single cigarette:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure both increase and the blood flow to the capillaries decrease.
  • Carbon monoxide levels increase and take the place of oxygen in some of the red blood cells, preventing oxygen from reaching vital organs.
  • Little finger-like cilia - which keep airways clear of phlegm - are stunned causing the tiny muscles in your airways to constrict.
  • Measurable changes to the immune system takes place.

So yes, turns out that is impossible to be “a little bit of a smoker”. So then, why doesn’t everyone quit?

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users wanting to quit. However, it’s challenging. Fact is, nicotine addiction is a tough one to beat.

Here’s the good news: new studies suggest there might be an alternative way to stop using tobacco by tricking your brain. Smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. On the one hand nicotine provides a temporary and addictive high, and eliminating that regular fix will cause your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms, but because of nicotine’s ‘feel-good” effect, you may also become accustomed to smoking as a way of coping with stress, anxiety, and even boredom. However, studies have proved that you can override the need for a powerful drug like nicotine by tapping into the power of your brain.

We have a few tips on how to outsmart your brain:

  • Change your point of view to that of a non-smoker. Stop saying: “I’m giving up smoking.” Giving up implies a loss, but the reality is that you’re gaining so much more; your health and energy, money, self-control, and the self-respect that comes with creating your own reality.
  • Commit. Be accountable; tell friends and family, and post it on social media.
  • Identify your triggers. Do you smoke a cigarette with you morning coffee, or with a glass of wine in the evening? Shake up your routine or add another activity.
  • Delay, delay, delay. When the urges come, have a plan. Take ten deep breaths, drink water, or go for a run.
  • Get moving! In a 2006 Austrian study, 80% of smokers who combined exercise with nicotine replacement therapy successfully quit. The success rate was only 52% for those who used nicotine replacement alone.
  • Get rid of that familiar scent on your clothes, in your house, and in your car.
  • Don’t even take one puff, nope not ever! Your mind will trick you into thinking that one cigarette won’t hurt. Don’t give in. One puff WILL HURT! One leads to two and the rest is history.
  • Reward yourself. Take whatever you would have spent on cigarettes and put it in a jar. This is your “Rewards Jar.” Celebrate your successes, you deserve it.

31 May is World No Tobacco Day.

Commit to quit. You can do this!

Source: webmd.com, helpguide.org, psychologytoday.com, treated.com, mindfithypnosis.com, blackdoctor.org, whyquit.com, verywell.com, nerdfitness.com, zenhabits.net, dovemed.com, mindpowernews.com, euro.who.int, naturalsociety.com, independent.co.uk, tobaccofreekids.org, stopsmoking.stanford.edu, www.abc.net.au, mirror.co.uk, thehealthsite.com, timeslive.co.za, livecience.com, health-e.org.za, womanshealthmag.co.uk, Colombia.edu, redonline.co.uk

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.