Stop Smoking

Smoking causes or worsens many diseases and damages almost every tissue and organ in the body. Smoking causes the vast majority of cases of lung cancer and causes or exacerbates many other diseases, such as lung diseases, diabetes, cancer, and diseases and conditions of the cardiovascular system including hypertension, blood clots, high cholesterol, and stroke. Smoking also increases the risk of certain complications of pregnancy and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Reasons, Occurrence and Risk Factors

Smoking is a hard habit to break because tobacco contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Like heroin or other addictive drugs, the body and mind quickly become so used to the nicotine in cigarettes that a person needs to have it just to feel normal.

There are several reasons which drive people to smoke and they are:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Over Workload
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral problems such as aggression
  • Family member who smokes
  • Lack of education past high school
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor financial or social status
  • Poor school or academic performance
  • Showing style statements

Symptoms

There are many symptoms of smoking and smoking-related ailments with dependence to nicotine, a harmful substance found in tobacco and some common symptoms are:

  • Bad breath and yellowing of the teeth
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Frequent or recurrent lung infections and other diseases, such as influenza, common colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) and rapid heart rate
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Low oxygen levels in the blood
  • Low tolerance for exercise and fatigue
  • Nicotine-stained fingers and teeth
  • Premature aging and wrinkling of the skin
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Smoker’s cough (an ongoing loose cough that produces phlegm) and hoarse voice
  • Smoky-smelling clothes and hair

Signs and Tests

  • Nicotine Test Kits: This easy to use nicotine testing kit detects tobacco use by testing for nicotine and Cotinine in urine.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests are done to find any percentage of nicotine in the blood.
  • Chest X Ray: If the patient has respiratory complaints such as persistent cough and shortness of breath, a chest x-ray should be done to find smoking affects.

Prevention

Smoking tobacco is both a psychological habit and a physical addiction. The act of smoking is ingrained as a daily ritual and, at the same time, the nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporary and addictive effect.

  • Stay energetic: Keep yourself distracted and occupied, go for walks.
  • Keep your hands/fingers busy: Squeeze balls, pencils, or paper clips are good substitutes to satisfy that need for tactile stimulation.
  • Keep your mind busy: Read a book or magazine, listen to some music you love.
  • Find an oral substitute: Keep other things around to pop in your mouth when you’re craving a cigarette.
  • Good choices include mints, hard candy, carrot or celery sticks, gum, and sunflower seeds.
  • Drink lots of water: Flushing toxins from your body minimize withdrawal symptoms and helps cravings pass faster

Treatment

Nicotine Replacement Therapy: In nicotine replacement therapy, which is the cornerstone of most smoking cessation programs, another source of nicotine is substituted while the cigarettes are stopped. Currently, three forms of nicotine replacement therapy are available over the counter: nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges, while two forms are available by prescription, an inhaler and a nasal spray.

Medications: Medicines such as varenicline (Chantix), Nicotrol Inhaler and Nicotrol NS, and  bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban, Wellbutrin) are available to stop smoking.