Dried tobacco leaves are the major ingredients in chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Tobacco leaves contain nicotine, a kind of drug. Producers of this product add nicotine and other additives and chemicals to make smoking a more pleasurable experience. A study by the American Lung Association has observed that the average cigarette contains about 600 different ingredients. When you light a cigarette, these ingredients burn and create at least 7,000 chemicals. To say that these chemicals are injurious to your health would be an understatement. Many smokers find it difficult to quit smoking due to their nicotine addiction.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal
Nicotine is responsible for tobacco addiction. A person may experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops smoking. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:
Long-term smokers have a higher risk of experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Your symptoms might worsen at certain times of the day or in some locations. One may also associate various places, people, or times of the day with smoking.
The “cold turkey” experience
Physical withdrawal from nicotine isn’t a permanent thing. It is temporary but coping with your body’s reaction can be very difficult. Nicotine withdrawal can be managed with smoking cessation aids. Quitting smoking without aids can also be referred to as quitting “cold turkey.” The cold turkey approach makes smokers feel withdrawal symptoms even two hours after their last smoke.
Peak withdrawal symptoms occur about three days after your last smoke. Then, as your body becomes used to not taking nicotine, the withdrawal symptoms will subside.
Smoking cessation aids
There are several kinds of cigarettes. In the same vein, there are several kinds of smoking cessation aids that can combat the urge to smoke. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that there are five types of cessation aids that helps nicotine withdrawal:
- OTC lozenges
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine patches
- Nasal spray
- Inhalers: Nicotrol
These methods work by putting small amounts of nicotine in the body. As you keep taking the product, the amount of nicotine taken will reduce. The goal is to decrease nicotine dependence gradually without experiencing the difficulties of quitting cold turkey.
Prescription oral medications are also available for smoking cessation. Examples include Zyban and Wellbutrin. It is important to note that these drugs do not tackle nicotine withdrawal directly. Instead, they send chemical signals to the brain to mimic the nicotine effect.
How to manage nicotine withdrawal
Here’s the thing: no matter how hard you try, you will experience some withdrawal symptoms at some point in your quitting journey. You shouldn’t allow these symptoms to overpower your resolve. Here are some tips that can help you to quit smoking successfully.
Nicotine improves the mood and helps you feel well. However, what you’re feeling isn’t a true sense of well-being, but a false one. A slight depression comes on if you don’t take the drug. However, exercising for 30 minutes each day can beat the feeling of depression and fatigue. Exercise beats depression by stimulating the release of “feel-good” endorphins in your body. exercise also improves your sleep quality. You can get the best results by not exercising before bedtime. All exercises should be done 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
Rest and sleep
The body does a lot of work in the process of ridding itself of nicotine dependence. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with feeling that extra bout of tiredness while you’re withdrawing from nicotine. But you can combat this by going to bed earlier. Your body detoxes itself when you’re asleep.
Distract yourself a bit
People sometimes gain weight in the process of quitting smoking. Why? Because they resort to food as a means of fighting their cravings for a cigarette. This is another reason why people put off quitting – in order not to gain weight. You must find some other distraction when you begin craving a cigarette. You could play a game, read up your favorite blog, or go for a walk. What you’re striving for is to rid yourself of temptations and focus on something different.
Live a smoke-free life
Your family members and friends should respect your new lifestyle. They have no other option but to. Ask them to refrain from smoking around you. They can smoke outside, but not within your living quarters or your car.
In the past, you used cigarettes as a stress reliever. But this won’t be the case now. You have to find healthier ways to deal with stress. Physical activity like cleaning the house, walking, or gardening can reduce stress while distracting you from nicotine cravings. Meditation or deep-breathing techniques can calm you and avoid taking out stress in a less constructive way. It is just important that you do what works best for you.
Be accountable to someone
Be honest with your accountability partner. You must tell them everything about your withdrawal, including the challenges you’re experiencing. Your partner can guide you appropriately on how to overcome the craving.