* Smoking kills about 400,000 Americans every year and causes or contributes to many other disorders including ulcers, angina, impotence, cancer, respiratory disorders, cataracts and heart disease. * Most people smoke not because of pleasure but because of addiction. Cigarettes contain more than four thousand chemicals, some of which are known to cause cancer in humans. Nicotine is the chemical primarily responsible for the addiction to cigarette smoking. The body quickly builds up a tolerance to nicotine and requires an ever increasing dose to reach the desired degree of enjoyment, which of course reinforces the psychological and physiological addiction. * Sudden cessation of smoking is likely to cause withdrawal symptoms for a couple of weeks, however if one can overcome these symptoms and quit smoking, they may be able to reduce the risk of secondary disorders caused by smoking. Causes * Often peer pressure or lifestyle causes people to begin smoking, however psychological and physiological addiction quickly ensures these people continue to smoke.
* Symptoms of withdrawal may include anxiety, anger, restlessness, headache, nicotine craving, irritability, decreased levels of concentration and an increase in appetite.
* Stress Management – many smokers smoke when under stress. Avoiding stressful situations and engaging in daily stress management activities such as yoga, meditation and breathing exercises may help to reduce the cravings.
* Exercise – will help you to feel better both physically and mentally. Try to exercise when you feel a craving for a cigarette coming on, this may help to give you greater control to resist your cravings and to gain some physical fitness at the same time. Do not undertake an exercise regimen without consulting your physician if you are over forty, are obese or have some other underlying disorder such as heart disease.
* Cut down – if you cannot quit cold turkey, try to cut down before quitting, but remember the longer it takes you to cut down before quitting, the less likely you will be successful at quitting for good. You really need to set a goal and stick to it.
* Learn to get past cravings – cravings last from a few seconds to a few minutes. When you get a craving try to keep busy, find something to do such as exercise, remember why it is that you are quitting, eat healthy snacks or make a phone call to divert your attention from the craving. The better you get at diversion the fewer and far between the cravings will occur.
* Reward yourself when you reach a goal – if you succeed in reaching the goal of quitting for at least one month, treat yourself to a new outfit or a meal out at your favorite restaurant. You should then immediately set the next goal for example being cigarette free for a further six weeks, and again treat yourself if you succeed in reaching it. Always set a bigger goal than the previous one.
* Avoid passive smoking, as it is thought to be even more dangerous than smoking cigarettes.
* Setting a realistic date to quit smoking, it should not be too far in the future, or during a time when you know you will be tempted to smoke, such as the holiday season when there are many parties.
* Dietary changes – food can sometimes increase the cravings for cigarettes and conversely it can help you through times of withdrawal. Some dietary tips for quitting include: – Avoid caffeine as it increases the symptoms of withdrawal from cigarettes. If you are addicted to caffeine you may be wise to kick the caffeine habit before quitting cigarettes so as to avoid withdrawal symptoms from two drugs at the same time. – Avoid fatty, fried foods, sugar, white flour, salt, junk food, processed food and animal fat. – Take in plenty of fresh juices, and include a diet based on vegetables, fruits, grains nuts and seeds, as these will provide you with plenty of nutrients and will help to cleanse toxins (caused amongst other things by cigarette smoke) from your body. – Drink at least two liters of filtered water daily to help flush toxins from your body.
Treatments for smoking:
* Conventional treatment offers nicotine gum or patches to help quit smoking, however there is some dispute over the long term success of these products on quitting. It is suggested that strong will power and quitting ‘cold turkey‘ is a more successful long term method of quitting. * Natural therapies that may help you through the withdrawal stage include acupuncture and cognitive therapy (helping you to realize your cigarette craving / smoking patterns and to change them).
VITAMIN A – an antioxidant that fights free radicals (of which millions are produced by cigarette smoking), helps to heal tissue and protect against cancer. Vitamin A can be found in leafy green vegetables, alfalfa, fennel seed, parsley, rose hip, kelp, lemongrass, yellow fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese and butter. 10,000 – 25,000 mg daily in divided doses may help. Large dosing is not recommended without strict supervision from a physician as it has potential toxic side effects. Doses over 10,000 iu per day may cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Women of childbearing age are advised not to become pregnant during such a course or within one month after ceasing a course. Other toxic symptoms include headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, brittle nails, abdominal upset and emotional instability.
VITAMIN C – an antioxidant that is destroyed by cigarette smoking. Vitamin C is used in growth and repair of damaged cells, helps with stress and protects against cancer. Sources of vitamin C include tomatoes, citrus fruits, potatoes, berries, brussel sprouts, peppermint, papaya, pineapple, cantaloupe, kale, sweet peppers, alfalfa, parsley, broccoli and cabbage. 5,000 – 20,000 mg daily in divided doses may help. Do not use more than 5,000 mg daily if pregnant. Use esterified vitamin C if you use aspirin. Large doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea, may deplete the body of copper and affect the reliability of oral contraceptives.
VITAMIN E – an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by cigarettes, helps to reduce the risk of cancer, improves circulation and is used in repair of tissue. Sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, alfalfa, dandelion, flaxseed, nettle, soy products, sunflower seeds, whole grains, asparagus, peas, vegetable oils, peanuts, almonds, butter and walnuts. 200 – 1,000 iu daily in divided doses may help. Seek medical advice before using vitamin E if you are taking anticoagulant medication, have diabetes, rheumatic heart disease, thyroid problems or high blood pressure.
ZINC – helps to protect the liver from damage caused by cigarette smoke and is used in the repair of tissue. Zinc can be found in milk, alfalfa, chamomile, dandelion sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, parsley, brewer’s yeast, legumes, rose hip, soybeans, wheat, and other whole grain products. Excess zinc intake may cause copper deficiency. For prolonged periods of zinc intake, copper is recommended ie: 30 mg zinc with 2 mg of copper. Do not use more than 100 mg daily as excess zinc may depress the immune system.
DANDELION – Root – a tonic that helps to protect the liver, which cleanses cigarette toxins from the blood. Use according to label instructions. Do not take if you have gallstones, gastritis or ulcers.
SLIPPERY ELM, MOOSE ELM, RED ELM – helps to reduce coughing and improves congestion in the lungs. Use according to label instructions.
VALERIAN – may help to reduce the anxiety and irritability caused by withdrawal and improves circulation. Use according to label instructions. Do not use alcohol while taking valerian.