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Surviving Quitting Smoking
Surviving quitting smoking
n/aMonday, January 14, 2008
Quitting smoking is no different than kicking an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Some even suggest it might be harder to avoid a relapse with cigarette smoking than it is with illicit drug use, as the availability of cigarettes (because they''re not illegal) trumps that of illicit drugs.
Perhaps the most telling testament to the difficulty of quitting is the number of people who routinely say "I''ve tried to quit smoking more than once." In fact, those people are very common, says Michael Fiore, M.D., M.P.H., who has acted as director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin since 1992. According to Fiore, the average person who has successfully quit smoking has only done so after five or six failed attempts.
What this underscores is that many smokers are fully aware they need to quit, it''s just that the difficulty of quitting can be overwhelming. However, it''s not impossible, as the more than 40 million ex-smokers in America alone can attest.
A big problem for many smokers trying to quit is handling the craving for nicotine. Nicotine increases the levels of chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, attention and memory, making it far more difficult to avoid a craving than many people might think. Smokefree.gov, an online resource designed to help those trying to quit, offers the following tips when trying to quit.
∗ Replace cigarettes. Many people chew gum in lieu of smoking cigarettes. To make that beneficial, make sure the gum is sugarfree to avoid damaging teeth. Some people simply reach for food when a nicotine craving hits. If you take this road, make sure the food you choose is healthy, such as fruits and vegetables (i.e., carrots, celery, apples).
∗ Learn to relax. Because nicotine affects chemicals in the brain and, in turn, mood, quitting can make a person cranky and restless. In fact, nicotine withdrawal and depende...