Anyone from a family who has been a smoker for some time will be well aware of how difficult the habit can be to kick. From using cigarettes as a crutch during the tough times to trying to speed up your metabolism to aid weight loss, there are a vast number of reasons why people choose to smoke.
Once started, it is a tough habit to break, and the market is awash with pills, programs, and electronic cigarettes. But what if there was an easier way to reduce your cravings and kick the addiction that required less effort on your part? Read on to learn more.
Why Is Smoking Addictive?
The addictive nature of cigarettes comes from the nicotine they contain. The substance is present within the tobacco leaf, and when burned, it’s inhaled along with the smoke. An addictive chemical, nicotine causes a rush of adrenaline when it’s either inhaled, as in the case of cigarette smoke, or when it enters the bloodstream. It also triggers dopamine in the brain, which is the ‘feel-good’ element that makes cigarettes so appealing. It also means that the smoker wants to continue smoking in an attempt to recapture that initial feeling.
Over time, the body becomes tolerant to the effects, meaning that the habit must be sustained to enjoy the same benefits, as with any drug or addictive substance. This results in both a psychological and physical addiction and is extremely hazardous to your health.
What Can I Do?
We have all heard the story about the family member or colleague who managed to quit smoking overnight and claims that they found it easy. This is unlikely to be the case. As smokers smoke, the body and brain grow used to the dopamine hit received, but this can only be sustained through continuing to smoke. Once you stop, the withdrawal symptoms will kick in, such as:
- Snacking and weight gain
- Disturbed sleep
- Persistent coughing
Many of the suggested methods for quitting, such as pills or going cold turkey, require an element of willpower and commitment which is hard to maintain. There is, however, another solution.
As we discussed, nicotine can also be absorbed through the bloodstream. Nicotine patches are transdermal patches that release nicotine through the skin and into the bloodstream. The patch allows the smoker to continue to get their nicotine fix – the thing they crave – without any of the other harmful effects of smoking. Over time, the amount of nicotine entering the blood is reduced, and the smoker is slowly weaned from the habit.
While you are likely to still experience cravings with the patch, they are far less disruptive or distressing than those who attempt to go cold turkey. Also, an option such as an RD Medical transdermal patch helps to put you in control; you decide, with your doctor, when and how much to reduce the dose of nicotine. This feeling of taking charge can help boost the appeal of quitting, and leaves you more likely to make a long-term lifestyle change for the better.