In 2008, the Canadian Lung Association stated, “Tobacco kills about 45,000 Canadians a year. That’s more than the total number of deaths from car accidents, suicide, murder, fires, AIDS and accidental poisonings combined”. It has been shown that smoking increases your chance of heart disease, lung disease and many different types of cancer. It also damages your eyes, oral health, immune system and can lead to osteoporosis. Even though the dangers of smoking are well documented, many people are still caught in the habit. Why? It is a powerful addiction.
Cigarettes are mostly made from the tobacco plant, which contains highly addictive nicotine. Once a cigarette is lit, it contains over 4000 chemicals which mix together to form tar. This is why smoking, at any level, is dangerous for the health of all those exposed. The trouble is that cigarettes are not only physically addictive, they are also psychologically addictive, as associations are made between smoking and daily activities.
While the act of quitting is incredibly difficult, the health benefits are substantial. The Canadian Lung Association reports that within one year of quitting smoking your risk of dying from a heart attack drops by half. Naturopathic Doctor, Sara Celik gives a few additional facts. “Within 72 hours, your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed via urine. Within 21 days, you may notice a stronger immune system, elevated energy levels, and a calm, relaxed body.”
TIPS TO STOP SMOKING!
- LIST IT – Write down the reasons you want to quit smoking on a card and place it where you normally keep your cigarettes. Review the list during times of temptation, then wait and re-read until the urge has passed.
- MAKE A STATEMENT - Set a specific day to quit, tell at least 10 friends that you are going to quit smoking for accountability, and then DO IT!
- CLEAN HOUSE - Throw away all cigarettes, butts, matches, and ash trays.
- USE SUBSTITUTES - Instead of smoking, chew on raw vegetables and fruit to avoid weight gain, not candy! If your fingers seem empty, play with a pencil.
- BABY STEPS – Don’t focus on the next week, month or year. Take the process one day at a time. Try to replace overwhelming negative thoughts such as “I can’t do it, it’s too hard” with positive, optimistic messages.
- EAT WELL – Clean up your diet and drink plenty of fresh fruit & vegetable juice during the first three days after you quit, to help flush nicotine out of your system.
- VISUALIZE – Imagine yourself as a non-smoker without the side effects of nicotine and the satisfaction that comes from being in control of your life.
- FIND FRIENDS – You are not alone! Realize that 40 million Americans have quit. If they can do it, so can you! Join a support group. It appears that doing so can increase success rates.
- STRESS LESS- When you need to relax, try stretch management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises rather than reaching for a cigarette.
- BE PREPARED – Journal your triggers, feelings and accomplishments. Avoid situations that you associate with smoking (i.e. drinking alcohol) and set up a plan to be prepared when faced with temptation.
- GOLD STARS - Each day, reward yourself in a positive way by celebrating your accomplishments! Buy yourself something with the money you’ve saved or plan a special reward as a celebration for quitting.
- ADDITIONAL HELP – Consider a 30-day supplement program to help expel mucus, repair the respiratory system, reduce cravings and help curb the effects of nicotine addiction in the brain. Celik explains that Naturopathic Doctors support the use of specific herbs, vitamins and amino acids to help make quitting easier!
Lung Support: Your lungs bring fresh oxygen into your body and remove carbon dioxide and other waste gases that your body doesn’t need. Optimal lung function is vital for your body to receive the oxygen it needs to power your bodies every process. If the respiratory tract is not in good health, it can become sluggish and result in congestion and/or poor functioning. Look for herbs to help expel mucous from the respiratory system, as well as soothe inflamed tissue and bronchial passages. Examples include mullein, thyme and fenugreek. In addition, consider antioxidants (such as N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, Vitamin C) that help to protect the respiratory system, allowing it to repair and rebuild faster.
Craving Reduction: Look for ingredients such as green tea extract, GABA and L-Tyrosine which work to help curb the effects of nicotine addiction in the brain.
Stress Management: Look for ingredients that help promote restfulness and relaxation as smokers often report anxiety and insomnia as problems associated with attempts in quitting. Examples include hops, skullcap, lemon balm and 5-HTP.
-This column in sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach-