Each year, smoking cigarettes claims the lives of over 8 million people. According to data from the World Health Organization, smoking is the leading cause of preventable illnesses globally.
People suffering from mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression have often turned to smoking as a coping mechanism. Considering nicotine intake directly leads to dopamine release in the brain, it is not difficult to see why. For this reason, researchers have set out to discover the exact effects smoking has on mental health.
Alternatives to Cigarettes
Addiction is a tough habit to kick. And eliminating nicotine entirely is not a realistic option for many people, especially those who have become so reliant on it for so long. In that case, it would be a good idea to explore alternative options like how to get a nicotine prescription to acquire a vape.
Vaping has been scientifically proven to be a better option than traditional cigarettes. Making the switch will reduce your overall nicotine intake and eliminate the additional harmful ingredients of standard cigarettes.
Over the years, the harmful effects of smoking on the body have been well documented. Cigarette boxes, by law, are now required to have large warning labels explaining the health issues related to smoking and tobacco. But often, people overlook the mental health issues stemming from these products.
This is mainly because most smokers view smoking as a coping mechanism that helps them to feel better, not worse. But this is a risky mindset as the cons greatly outweigh the benefits.
When a person smokes, nicotine can reach the brain within 10 seconds of inhaling. For many people, nicotine directly helps in improving their mood and contributes to relaxation. But overdoing this brain boost can quickly lead to addiction.
When the brain becomes starved of this hit, withdrawal symptoms begin to show, which are often incredibly unpleasant and challenging to live with. To avoid them, a person cannot break the cycle of addiction.
A person suffering from depression is twice as likely to smoke as someone who isn’t. This does not mean that depression directly leads to someone starting to smoke. People who suffer from depression typically have very low dopamine levels, the chemical in your brain responsible for happy and positive feelings.
Smoking triggers the release of dopamine, temporarily boosting your mood. However, in the long run, your body can become conditioned to lower its own production of this chemical and instead rely on outside factors to trigger it.
While some people smoke to reduce their feelings of stress, research has shown that smoking increases tension. On the other hand, tobacco provides an immediate sense of relaxation, leading you to believe that it is your current state.
However, this feeling is very temporary, and your body will start to crave this release more. This craving will lead you to feel more anxiety over when you will be able to satisfy it.
Steps to Quit
As previously mentioned, there are alternative options to explore if you feel like you cannot completely eliminate nicotine, whether temporarily or permanently. But cutting the habit entirely will significantly boost your overall physical and mental health. And you will be surprised how many ways you can release dopamine naturally.
Prepare to Change
Change is hard. We become comfortable in our routines, and having to give them up is a challenging process. To prepare for this, evaluate your relationship with smoking. Then, look at the reasons you began in the first place and the benefits you will gain when you stop, like better physical health, increased concentration, and more money to spend on other things.
It is also vital to address any mental blocks you might have regarding smoking in terms of using it as a stress reliever or a way to cope. Finally, explore better alternative options that can be used as a replacement.
Quitting any habit is made far more manageable when you receive support from your friends and family. If you live with smokers, try to convince them to stop with you. If your family and friends smoke, ask them to refrain from doing it around you, as well as keep their smoking accessories out of your sight.
The further you are into your quitting journey, the easier being around these triggers will become. But in the beginning, removing all temptation will serve you best.
Many people who choose to quit are likely to relapse at some point. It is a natural part of any journey to beat addiction. If this happens to you, don’t allow it to become an obstacle that blocks you from moving forward.
Instead, use the opportunity to reassess what happened and where you fell short, make some changes and try again. Finding the perfect path for yourself might take some trial and error. Switching to a vape is often viewed as a device that can either be an alternative to smoking or as something used to transition away from cigarettes and move towards quitting altogether.