What is smoking and why do people tend to do it? It is a rather serious question since we all know how harmful it is. So why would somebody taste death, that too, so frequently? And how can we eradicate this problem? First off, smoking is the act of inhaling the smoke of a burnt substance and allowing it to enter our bloodstream, most commonly; tobacco and tar. It is addictive. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a drug, hence, has a riveting character. What is an addiction? Being enthralled by something in such a way, that it is nearly impossible to stay away from it. This might seem like an over exaggerated statement or a normal consequence of simply being interested in something but addiction is far worse than that.
Addiction might make a person lonely and isolated. However, letting go of addiction may not be an easy victory too. It can be life-threatening. A person, who has discontinued the use of a drug, he/she was addicted to might face either physical or psychological, or even both, abnormal behaviors or features. They may be, goosebumps, vomiting, emotional instability, insomnia or muscle pain. These symptoms are called withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawing a drug, in an environment which is supervised and safer is far more effective and easier. Now to answer the main question;
What makes people choose to smoke?
While many people might claim that it is just their choice for a way of living, there are several factors that may provoke a person to smoke.
- DEPENDENCY: Sometimes, smokers feel that they need a cigarette to remain calm during an intense situation. They have developed a psychological dependency on cigarettes to maintain their mental stability and provide them with the ability to keep their emotions in control during hard times. It provides them with a sense of alertness simultaneously keeping them calm. Nicotine when enters your body, activates certain receptors in your brain which stimulate the production of the hormone, dopamine, which makes you feel relaxed. This is the reason, why smoking is so addictive. Nowadays, when stress levels lean towards staying high, people tend to find a way, which is relatively easier, to reduce that degree of constant worry. Many times, people who are under pressure or tension, since an extensive time period, due to the financial crisis, or unhealthy relationships, disturbing house and work environment or any other personal or economic reason, are more likely to end up smoking.
- SOCIAL INTEGRATION: It is perfectly natural to look up to your adults and follow them. Many young adults copy the way their elders act, their hobbies, way of speaking etc. In some cases, they might imitate their elder’s smoking habits too and develop their own. Peer pressure is one of the major reasons why a person might start smoking. Although it is believed that teenagers are easily impressed and try to adapt other people’s activities, adults may also have a conforming nature when it comes to certain things-here specifically, smoking. It is likely that if someone around you is smoking, you might too just for the sake of social interaction or mixing up well in a social gathering. Being a social smoker might lead a person to develop a habit.
- WEIGHT LOSS: Smoking lessens your sense of taste and smell and hence your appetite. It is researched that smokers weigh seven pounds less than people who don’t smoke. It is also believed, although it might not be completely true, that models smoke to maintain their weight. This is probably the reason why people who quit smoking gain weight.
It is boldly written on cigarette packets that ‘smoking kills.’ It is hazardous to health and may cause dreadful diseases. Nicotine is a mood-altering drug present in a cigarette, which activates certain structures in your brains in mere seconds and instantly makes you feel energized. Once that wears off you may start feeling tired and develop a craving for more. Withdrawal symptoms from the discontinuation of cigarettes may seriously affect the brain and cause depression, anxiety, headaches and even trouble in falling asleep.
Components of cigarettes affect all parts and systems of your body and cause them severe damage. Starting from respiratory issues, smoking is one of the major reasons for the cause of breathing or lung problems. When we inhale cigarette smoke, air sacs or alveoli get filled up with tar which leads to a series of different chronic conditions, which may be; lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Ceasing the use of tobacco may cause temporary congestion and discomfort since the lungs and air sacs begin to heal. Nicotine may also affect the cardiovascular system and cause peripheral artery disease.
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Smoking weakens the walls of arteries, may cause the blood to clot and may increase the risks of strokes. Besides causing damage to the smoker, people around the smoker may also inherit damage. This is known as passive smoking. Many children who are around smokers might develop asthma, constant coughing or even bronchitis.
There are many ways to control and inhibit the use of cigarettes. Counseling is important since it will provide you with professional advice on how to go about leaving cigarettes. It also provides an environment which is much safer to overcome the withdrawal symptoms. There are herbal treatments too, to reverse the effects of smoking. Indian tobacco or lobelia is known to lessen the impact of nicotine consumption. It has been found to taper off amphetamine addiction. Lobelia can be easily available in dried form, liquid or suppository form as well. However, it should be used under the care of a doctor since it may cause respiratory symptoms.
Green tea is also one of the main herbal remedies to aid the withdrawal of smoking. It helps keep the body filled with elements which diminish the urge to smoke and helps detoxify the body. Lobelia tea is often drunk with green tea for such purposes. Peppermint helps in lowering the craving for nicotine. It also relieves stomach pains and hence may reduce stomach aches caused due to withdrawal. Chewing on the herb or a stick of peppermint gum lowers the craving for smoking in the same way actual smoking does, but only with no harm attached to it. Including lots of fruits in our diet, drinking water, exercising which promotes relaxation of muscles and mind and avoiding gatherings which may involve smoking etc., also helps quit smoking.
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Acupuncture is a process in which exceptionally thin needles are injected at certain pressure points of the body which help stimulate energy flow and reduces main in the body. This process of medical treatment originates from Chinese culture. Acupressure is a similar process like acupuncture but instead, it involves manual work. These processes have shown to help people quit smoking since they help improve the energy profiles in the body, the same effect that dopamine has on the body.
Smoking, no matter how relaxing it may be, causes the body to go through some utterly horrific conditions. It is better to adapt natural alternatives to overcome this addiction and give ourselves a chance towards a better, healthier life.