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Don't Quit trying to Quit: Time to stop smoking!

Heart, Men's Health, Women's Health | June 26, 2019 | Author: Naturopath

cancer, heart

Don't Quit trying to Quit: Time to stop smoking!

Smoking is associated with many health concerns, not just the big ones like cancer, kidney and heart disease, but other disorders such as bad circulation, frequent illnesses, cataracts, gum disease, erectile dysfunction and premature aging can all be associated with smoking.

Other seemingly minor side effects like bad breath, lack of energy and dull skin may be accepted as normal to the smoker.

Toxins

The toxins from cigarette smoke travel throughout the body and can cause free radical damage and disease. Giving up, no matter how long someone has smoked, will have an immediate positive effect on the body. Cigarettes smoke contains a poisonous concoction of over 4000 chemicals, 60 of which are known carcinogens (cancer causing) and known or are associated with causing cancer in humans. Other chemicals have a toxic effect on all parts of the body, some take the place of oxygen in the blood. Tar, resulting from burning tobacco, causes a sticky brown residue to build-up in the throat and lungs. Breathing deeply through filters only forces toxins further into the lungs. Filters on cigarettes do not remove toxins!

Ready to quit yet?

‚ÄčThe addictionThe addiction

Nicotine is a highly addictive, poisonous chemical which causes blood vessels to constrict, impede blood flow and cause oxygen deprivation throughout the body. Without adequate oxygen, the systems of the body cannot function properly, causing distress and damage.

The body has to remove all traces of nicotine for cravings to go away.

The Habit

I am too stressed to quit

Have to smoke a cigarette when you feel stress? "I would like to give up but I have so much stress going on at the moment" is often the first comment when asked about someone’s smoking habits. Reaching for a cigarette when feeling stressed is actually the worse thing to do. The stimulating action which nicotine has on the body can increase adrenaline and exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Smoking when stressed relieves the feelings of nicotine withdrawal, but it does not help with stress. It is important to identify what is causing the stress and plan how to reduce or remove the culprits. Choose relaxing techniques to help with any acute stressful situations instead of reaching for a cigarette.
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First smoke of the day

Due to the addictive nature of nicotine, it will start calling you often as soon as you wake up, but it can also be a habit to have a cigarette, similar to that first cup of coffee. These habits can be changed. It is important to have enjoyed a restful and full night sleep so you wake up feeling replenished. Needing to have a coffee or a cigarette for the stimulating effect on your body might mean you are not getting a good night rest. Employ some good sleep hygiene and aim for around 8 hours of sleep.
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Limit your supply

Smoking a cigarette without thinking, as a habit, may be costing you your health as well of your finances. Be conscious of lighting up and limit your supply. Make it harder to get to the pack so you have time to think whether you should have one.

Major health concerns

When you stop smoking you lower your risk of deveoping serious diseases and disorders such as:

  • Lung cancer and other cancers
  • Heart Disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung diseases
  • Infertility

How to help yourself

How to help yourselfMaking the decision to give up any addiction is one which only the individual can make. Whilst loved ones stress over the smoker’s choice, they cannot make that person not smoke. But quitting cigarettes will give you immediate benefits on your health, as well as reducing the long-term risks of disease.

There is no easy way to give up and there may initially be negative side-effects to begin with.

Being aware of possible withdrawal symptoms and employing ways of supporting the body through these will help.

Side effects of giving up smoking

Unfortunately, the process of eliminating cigarettes from your life can come with some side-effects such as:

  • Irritability/anxiety/frustration 
  • Trouble concentrating
  • GI tract upsets
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain 

Symptoms can be worse in the first few days of quitting with unpleasant reactions such as headache, constipation and a cough, but most symptoms resolve within a few weeks. Symptom relief is the main aim to helping people win the battle to quit, as it is usually the symptoms of withdrawal which cause people to relapse.

Nicotine replacement therapy is designed to help heavy smokers who make a choice to quit break the habit. Products available come in nicotine gum, lozenges, inhalers and patches.

Prescription medication is available through your doctor.

Natural Therapies

Some natural therapies can support the body through withdrawal symptoms.

Natural TherapiesMagnesium. Supplementing with magnesium can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
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Melatonin is a hormone usually produced over night by the body. In some people the level of melatonin may be low and this has been associated with addictions. Supplementing with melatonin has shown promise in supporting the body cope with withdrawal from drug addiction. It can help sleep quality and quantity and is a potent antioxidant.
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Vitamin B complex. Not only can stress exacerbate the need to smoke, trying to quit smoking can also cause a degree of stress. Vitamin B complex aids in the body's ability to deal with stress and symptoms of withdrawal.
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Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) contains an abundant amount of antioxidant. It can help with detoxification, weight maintenance, tissue repair and recovery and support the central nervous system.
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Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). The actions of this herb make it useful for nervous tension, stress, anxiety and alleviating insomnia.

Ask for Help

It is hard to give up smoking and not many people are able to achieve it in one attempt. Don’t give up on giving up.

Let family/friends/work colleagues for support and patience.

If you need additional help talk to your doctor and naturopath.

Call the Quitline – 137 848 which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Healthy Habits

Use this opportunity to make positive changes to lifestyle to help break the smoking habit and encourage optimum health.

Healthy HabitsBeing more active physically can help with stress and aid relaxation, as well as raise self-esteem.

Make healthy dietary choices. Eat a regular healthy balanced diet. This is not only beneficial for general health, supporting blood sugar levels and combating disease, but will help in the body as it detoxes and support healthy elimination. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and fibre. Drink fresh juices and clean water. Avoid foods which stimulate such as caffeine and sugar.

Practice stress management techniques

Visit the dentist

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References

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-alerts/news/whats-in-a-cigarette-smoke-tobacco-smoking-chemicals

https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-au/professional/special-subjects/tobacco-use/smoking-cessation

https://www.cancer.org.au/policy-and-advocacy/position-statements/smoking-and-tobacco-control/

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/cessation/quitting/index.htm

https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=17ace3fc-fb01-45c3-8617-1beb81404fc4

A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412948/

Cigarette smoking decreases tissue oxygen. https://www.superpharmacy.com.au/admin/blog/edit/5764

The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/

Melatonin in drug addiction and addiction management: Exploring an evolving multidimensional relationship https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033744/#B118

The impact of smoking cessation on objective and subjective markers of sleep: review, synthesis, and recommendations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15801567

Melatonin as an antioxidant: under promises but over delivers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27500468

Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focussed intervention: a randomized clinical trial: study protocol

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290459/

Henry, Osiecki; The Nutrient Bible 9th Edition, Bio Concepts, AG Publishing; QLD, Australia

Fisher, Carole; 2009, MATERIA MEDICA OF WESTERN HERBS, Vitex Medica, New Zealand.

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