Who knew that smoking was going to take over so much of your life? But here you are – ready and willing to act on your decision to quit smoking.
Not everyone in your life will understand what you’re facing. And then there are the ones who’ll say, “Be strong and just do it!” As you try to smile through your clenched jaw, you’ll think to yourself “If only it was that easy!”
Then there are “those” people, mostly uninformed (present company excluded!) who flaunt the latest medical horror stories about disease and smoking, hoping that will convince you to quit smoking.
What these well-meaning friends and family are missing is that you already have the desire to quit smoking. That right there places you half-way to your goal.
The last half is going to be difficult and frustrating and time-consuming. So when the “helpful” people ask whether or not you’ve quit yet, you say,
“Yes – I’m becoming a non-smoker.”
That’s better than saying, “I’m trying to quit.”
➡ You know that you really want to quit, and you know it’s going to be much harder to stop than it was to start. How long it takes you will depend on several factors, but they will be specific to you.
➡ Just because one person was able to quit sooner than you, don’t let that get you down. Every day you make the effort to quit smoking is one day closer to your goal, no matter how long or short that timeframe is.
Are you ready to learn how to be a fighter and put down that lighter? Let’s do it.
First Step: Know Your Enemy
Do you want to rely on a product that is killing you to reduce the stress you are feeling?
- Nicotine creates a biochemical reaction in your body that has an immediate effect on your mood, your ability to reason, and your metabolism.
Even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day your body feels the results and side effects of the more than 4,000 chemicals being pumped in through the lungs.
- The more you smoke, the higher the level of chemical dependency that is reached.
Even light smokers become dependent on cigarettes. It’s a physical dependency on the nicotine as well as the psychological and stress-related dependency on the act of smoking.
It is only a matter of seconds after that first puff that nicotine starts to have an effect on your central nervous system, and the rest of your body.
- Certain areas of the brain, when stimulated by nicotine, help you think more clearly. Other areas of the brain in the pleasure center are stimulated and can make you feel more relaxed and less anxious.
- Nicotine also affects the hormones produced by the body, which creates a chemical dependency on nicotine and the accompanying craving.
Heavy smokers have become dependent on heightened levels of hormones, stimulated by nicotine, which can have an addictive quality. They need a cigarette at certain intervals of time.
- After the stimulation of the hormones starts to fall, they need another cigarette to bring them back into the comfort zone. If they do not get that cigarette, the craving begins.
Interestingly when you smoke and exhale, not all of the smoke you dragged into your lungs with each puff is exhaled. It takes several hours to rid the lungs of the last cigarette – sometimes as long as 24 hours.
But we know…smokers don’t wait 24 hours between each cigarette.
This will cause the heart rate to increase, raise your blood pressure and cause rapid shallow breathing.
Have you been diagnosed as being Pre-Diabetic or with Type 2 Diabetes? Here’s the bad news…
Nicotine also tells the body to dump more glucose into the bloodstream to help defend you and blocks the release of insulin which would help the cells take up the glucose in the blood.
Smokers often feel that cigarettes are an appetite suppressant and this may be the reason. When there is a hyperglycemic effect (more glucose in the blood), it may suppress the appetite of the smoker.
- Nicotine may also slightly increase your “basal metabolic rate” which is the base rate at which the metabolism runs and burns calories.
Guess what else will also increase the basal metabolic rate while NOT causing the damaging health effects that smoke does? You’ll probably hate me for this…It’s exercise.
- In the long run, nicotine and the other chemicals will also increase the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) that damages your arteries. This increases the likelihood that the smoker will have a heart attack or stroke.
Simply put, these chemicals make you feel pleasure and feel good which encourages the smoker to seek that peace and happy feeling again and again. It will also increase the release of glutamate which is a transmitter involved in learning and memory.
- Researchers have found that glutamate may create a “memory loop” of the good feelings that you receive from the nicotine and further drive the desire to use the source of the drug.
The real damage that happens to the lungs happens from the smoke itself.
➡ While inhaling, smoke particles are also deposited into the lungs. These particles are bits of hydrocarbon that damage the lung tissue and cause cancer.
➡ The particles are deposited into the alveoli (small air sacs in the lungs) and because of their weight, they do not leave.
➡ The body scrambles quickly to try to neutralize the hydrocarbons and other chemicals that are deposited but unless the smoker smokes only one cigarette every 3 days the body is unable to keep up the housekeeping duties.
There are only two questions you need to ask and answer in order, to guarantee your success in quitting.
1. Do you want to quit and why?
The first question will be the reason you want to quit. It will carry you through the rough times when the urges may become intense or you watch your old friends smoking. But if you know WHY you are quitting, you’ll stick with it.
➡ It might be that you wake up one morning and realize that you’re slowly killing yourself.
➡ You might have just gone through a three or four day cold without being able to smoke, and realizing that you’ve gotten through the worst of the physical withdrawal, you just continue without smoking.
➡ You might be asked why you want to quit by your spouse or your children and realize that you can make a difference in their lives by modeling strength.
The reason doesn’t have to matter to anyone but yourself. And no one else really needs to know what the reason is. But YOU must have a reason that is powerful, strong and pulls at you.
2. The second question – what will you do to address the urge to smoke when it does? Because it will.
- That answer lies in your willingness to try things that are designed to help you instead of just ‘toughing it out’.
Winners ask for help, find ways around their problems and get answers.
You’re here now, so you are obviously considering this whole quitting thing. No, it won’t be a piece of cake, but I can show you how to be a fighter and put down that lighter while making it as painless as possible…
After I tell you the immediate healing effects that quitting nicotine will have on your body and your mind. Stick with me, you may be surprised.
Coming up: Part 2- Nicotine And The Immediate Benefits Of Putting Down That Lighter.