The Ins and Outs of Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Most people are aware that smoking is addictive, meaning when someone attempts to quit smoking they experience physical withdrawal sensations that can be deeply unpleasant. However, it is not actually the smoke itself that is addictive, but rather a chemical contained within: namely, nicotine. It is nicotine that smokers are addicted to, and it is nicotine withdrawal that makes quitting smoking so unpleasant.

To try and combat the difficulties of nicotine withdrawal, smokers are now offered a choice of nicotine replacement therapies. These therapies – referred to as NRTs, for ‘nicotine replacement therapy’ – are designed to give smokers a more realistic chance of quitting the habit, by replacing their nicotine ‘fix’ usually found in a cigarette with a less harmful way of ingesting nicotine. This can come in the form of slow-release patches that are applied to the skin, from inhaling nasal sprays or from chewing gum.

The theory is that if a smoker attempts to quit nicotine ‘cold turkey’ – i.e. ceasing to ingest it completely – they are less likely to succeed in their attempts to stop smoking. As the withdrawal from nicotine can be unpleasant, the idea is that by gradually reducing the amount of nicotine someone ingests rather than stopping it altogether allows people to gradually wean themselves off their reliance on this addictive chemical.

It would seem that it is effective. Studies have shown that smokers are up to three times more likely to quit if they use a form of NRT in the weeks after they stop smoking, so give it due consideration.

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The Importance of Cigarette Filters

Giving advice to smokers on how best to smoke is something of an odd proposition, but it’s advice that could save lives. We all know the health and financial implications of smoking as a habit, and most non-smokers would prefer to see the habit removed from existence altogether, but the fact remains: people smoke. Therefore it is only sensible to offer advice to smokers in the hope that, while they are smoking, they are doing as little damage as possible to their health.

The absolute key issue of so-called ‘safe smoking’ (a juxtaposition in itself) is filters. In America, filters tend to be white to match the color of the cigarette tube itself – while in the UK and European, filters are usually orange. These sponge-like bits of kit are used to inhale tobacco through, and are essential to minimizing the already considerable risk of a smoking related illness.

Filters help to cut out the levels of the toxic chemicals that are contained in cigarette smoke. They can’t remove them entirely, but an effective filter can at least lessen the impact.

This becomes an issue if you prefer to self-roll your cigarettes. It is possible to buy filters, which you can insert in to a cigarette paper as you roll it, but these usually make cigarette rolling machines difficult to use. It may be more time consuming, but in terms of your health it is best to hand-roll cigarette papers and tobacco so you can insert a filter in to device yourself. In the long run, ignoring filters altogether will cost you more than a few extra minutes per cigarette.

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How To Convince A Smoker To Quit: Timing

Smoking is an addiction. That sounds like a simple statement that can be taken as read, but when you are trying to convince a smoker to quit, it’s something you really need to understand. Smoking is often referred to as a ‘habit’, when in reality the stronger term ‘addiction’ is far more realistic. Smokers become physically addicted to nicotine, the chemical found in cigarettes, and can experience uncomfortable and often painful physical symptoms of withdrawal when they try to quit.

The reason this is pointed out is that convincing someone to quit smoking for good is a difficult road, and only by understanding what you are actually dealing with can you have a chance of beating it. A tiny percentage of smokers – less than 10% – manage to quit on their first attempt. Most will take three or more attempts, and some may take over 10 attempts over a number of years to finally kick the addiction for good.

If you are struggling to support a smoker who continually goes back on their word – in your eyes – and starts smoking again, try and keep positive. Acknowledge, both to them and to yourself, that this is a marathon rather than a sprint, and by being continually upbeat your smoking friend or family member can be assured of your support.

Never, ever cast doubt on a smokers desire to quit just because they have failed before – doing so can make them angry, defiant and less likely to quit than ever before. Keep things in perspective, and see every failed attempt as one step closer to the final, successful, smoke-free life.

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