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We all know that smoking is one of the biggest risks you can impose on your health. Unfortunately, nicotine is highly addictive and a lot of smokers out there find it too difficult to quit because of the withdrawal symptoms and a severe habit.
Smoking usually starts because of seemingly innocent reasons – wanting to fit in as a teenager or a college student, not wanting to miss out socially or being stressed at work or because of difficult relationships. However, addiction will sneak up on you very easily and getting rid of it is going to be a long journey requiring some serious effort.
Nonsmokers might find it very hard to understand the addiction. In contrast, if your family member or loved one is struggling, you should keep an open mind and a calm approach, because they need all the help and support you can provide.
Increased Health Risks Of Smoking
Around 480,000 deaths in the United States are caused by smoking every year. This is 1 in every 5 deaths. Smoking causes even more deaths every year than HIV, alcohol or drug use, traffic collision injuries and firearm-related incidents all combined. (Source)
Smokers are at a much higher risk of developing heart disease like coronary heart disease, stroke, damaged blood vessels, blood clots and high blood pressure.
Furthermore, smoking damages your lungs and puts you at a risk of respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Sad fact: smokers are about 12 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers.
And of course the most feared disease of them all – cancer. Not only does smoking increase the risk of developing lung cancer by 25 times, it can cause cancer in almost all parts of your body.
It’s especially important to quit smoking if you’re a woman. Not only when you’re pregnant, but also when you’re already trying to conceive. If you’re a smoker, you’re at a higher risk of developing different issues like premature birth, ectopic pregnancy, membrane ruptures and an early separation of placenta.
You’re also more likely to have a miscarriage, stillbirth and at a higher risk of birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome. Keep you and your (future) baby safe and seriously consider all of the risks associated with smoking.
How To Quit Smoking & Treat Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine addiction is both physical and mental. Pulling through the physical withdrawal symptoms requires a very strong mindset. Nevertheless, the longer you’ve steered away from cigarettes, the easier it will get to manage those cravings and over time your withdrawal symptoms will get smaller and smaller.
If you’ve developed a strong smoking habit, it will be very hard to figure out ways to do with that time instead. Try to get your mind off of smoking as much as possible. Studies have shown that all types of exercise (from yoga and Pilates to HIIT workouts) have positive effects on reducing your cravings to smoke.
Not only are you keeping yourself occupied, you’re actively helping your body to get rid of the toxins you’ve put in it. You’ll also feel that you’re not out of breath every time when taking the stairs or running to catch the bus, because your body is getting used to the physical activity.
If you’re used to having a cigarette after a meal, when driving your car or drinking coffee or alcohol, it is extremely important for you to replace your smoking habit with a healthier one. Try walking up and down the stairs for around 5 minutes, or go for a quick walk. This helps to distract your mind, reduce cravings and also get in a small workout!
Another tip is to practice deep breathing whenever you feel a craving. Some studies have shown that if you do it every 30 minutes, you’ll feel less cravings to smoke and it helps you manage withdrawal symptoms like irritability and anxiety.
Diet & Supplements
Healthy and balanced diet is extremely important if you’re trying to quit. Smoking reduces the amount of nutrients in your body, which in the long run can be very dangerous.
Fun fact: Meat can make cigarettes taste better. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables make cigarettes taste a lot worse, so try incorporating more fresh foods into your diet.
Adding foods high in antioxidants to your diet is crucial. Antioxidants help fight free radicals and prevent further cell damage in your body. Cell damage leads to premature aging, but also makes your body more susceptible to harmful cell growth. You should also eat plenty of foods containing vitamin C like bell peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes, blackcurrants and more.
Some of the foods that contain high levels of antioxidants are dark leafy greens, blueberries, carrots, eggplant, broccoli and many more. You can also add high antioxidant supplements to your diet like CoQ10, Black Currant Oil, Lycopene, Borage Oil, Olive Leaf Extract or Organic Ceylon Cinnamon to boost your healing process even more. These supplements will help prevent DNA damage and give your body lots of nutrients.
Tip: If you feel that drinking coffee is a huge trigger for you, try replacing it with green tea. It’s high in antioxidants, makes your metabolism work faster and gives you energy!
As we already mentioned, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing heart disease. If you already struggle with any, supplementing with high quality Citrus Bergamot, Berberine, Organic Ceylon Cinnamon or CoQ10 will help protect your heart.
But what about stress, anxiety and irritability? Our Holy Basil will take care of all that. Also, take Magnesium Glycinate to help manage stress even better and get a good night’s sleep. These are also great if you’ve started doing more exercise after quitting – they help your body adapt to stress and Magnesium (but also Electrolytes!) will help reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery.
To get rid of the mucus and coughs that might’ve been worrying you, supplementing with Bromelain is a great way to naturally cleanse your body and reduce inflammation.
And if you’re feeling tired all the time (this is a common withdrawal symptom!), start your day by taking a few MCT Oil capsules. These will give you instant energy, because those fatty acids will be immediately burned for energy and not stored as fat.
Likewise, there are plenty of small tricks to get you off of cigarettes. Download an app where you can track all the money you’ve saved since you quit, and track the days for how long you’ve been cigarette free. Try to pay more attention to what’s around you and enjoy life without the need to smoke cigarettes.
To conclude, nicotine addiction is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. Make the decision to quit now and use everything in your hand to get rid of it. You and your loved ones will all win. The trick is to be positive, make a proper plan (and stick to it!) and remove all tobacco products from your life.