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6 Effective Alternatives To Smoking!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

According to a study conducted by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington on Quit Smoking, it was noted that India gained 35 million smokers each year keeping the smoking rate to 13 per cent.

Smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the world. Almost everyone for sure knows and are aware that smoking is a poor choice of habit to follow. But why do they still hold on to it? Why not just quit smoking?

Quit Smoking

Smoking as an Addiction

Addiction to smoking a cigarette is mainly caused due to the presence of Nicotine among the many other chemicals found in it. When you inhale the nicotine, it immediately rushes to your brain, where it produces feelings of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. The very idea of all this can be tempting, which is why many depend on it.

The physical part of it is the inhalation, smoking gets complicated when it becomes a habit. You see, when it is a habit you start craving for it and moulding your lifestyle accordingly. It starts with smoking a puff during breaks to a puff before a meal and then another after and before you know it you are an addict! But it’s not just a habit, your emotions come into play and keep you trapped in the cycle. It is never too late to quit smoking. But what re the best ways to quit smoking?

It is not impossible to quit smoking. But it sure does require commitment from your side. If you don’t have the will, just go through our other blogs to get an idea about the kind of health failures you might face in the future. Hopefully, that should give you the much-needed motivation to quit smoking:

Behavioral therapy and Nicotine replacement therapy i.e. nicotine chewing gums are very effective. Nicotine chewing gums helps in controlling the acute cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Evidence has shown that using NRT helps increase the chances of quitting by about 50% to 70%.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Why is it important to quit smoking?

The real question is- Don’t you want to live? Imagine a life where you can actually predict your death. A slow painful death all because you couldn’t get rid of one harmful habit called smoking. Does such a thought appeal to you? If you were going to throw away your life and everything you have built for yourself just over a mere addiction, why take so much effort anyway. Right?

But it is not too late to take the first step! Just quit smoking. Believe in yourself and stick to the plan. Did you know that:

  • Within 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop
  • 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal
  • Within three months after quitting, your lung function increases
  • Within nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease
  • Within one year after quitting, heart disease risk drops
  • Within five years related cancer risks are cut in half

Also Read: What Causes Yellow Teeth: Unpacking Oral Health Misconceptions

If you are having a hard time coping with quitting, remember that you are not alone. Here is a list of alternative coping techniques to help you quit smoking:

Avoid alcohol and other such triggers especially stress during the first couple of weeks of quitting smoking, and indulge yourself in music, relaxation, massage, and other hobbies to divert you from the urge.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Alternatives for smoking

  • Medication- Famous way to treat the addiction to smoking is by using the Nicotine replacement therapy which comes as gums, sprays, patches, tablets, lozenges and inhalers. You can buy these without any prescription. Also, medicines called bupropion and varenicline can also work.  
  • Flavoured toothpicks- These are completely natural as it is made of bamboo or birch-wood. Therefore, it lasts for several hours, giving a solid workout for the mouth and keeping the teeth clean. It is primarily designed to curb the craving for smoking cigarettes.
  • Dark Chocolate- It helps as eating one helps increase dopamine levels in the brain much like the nicotine in cigarettes. Read more about the health benefits of dark chocolate
  • Yoga- Physical activity can be a very good distraction to stay calm and stress-free. And doing some ‘asanas’ can just curb your craving for smoking and make you want some peace instead!
  • Exercise-The endorphins released after a good workout helps in elevating the mood and also provides a sense of satisfaction. Read more about the health benefits of exercise
  • E-cigarettes- Although it is highly debatable, e-cigars can be effective in keeping your smoking addiction at bay. But we don’t recommend that you use it as an aid! Turn to it only if you really run out of options and under careful monitoring.

Read More: 10  Ways to Quit Smoking

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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