Smoking is a practice that began as a ritual as far back in 5000BC, a substance is burned, and the outpouring smoke is breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Mass manufacturing technologies resulted in the making of cigarette in the early 60s.
A cigarette is made from dried leaves of the tobacco plant, rolled into a small rectangle of rice paper moulded into round cylindrical shapes. This was later found to be detrimental to health hence the need to stop smoking.
Smoking is primarily practised to administer recreational drug because the combustion of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue.
In cigarette smoking, these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gases and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine; the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas into a form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs.
In some cultures, such as Native Americans to the Druids, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from Aboriginals to the Mayans, smoking is a ritual from the Chinese to the Balinese. The participants believe it can put them in a trance so that they can experience spiritual euphoria.
In the modern world, smoking became glamourous in the 60s
Data shows there is no alternative to quitting
- Men are much more likely to smoke than women.
- Many studies have been carried out over the past 40 years to look at the adverse effect of smoking. The studies make gruesome reading.
- Smoking is one of the leading risks for early death – 8 million people died from smoking in 2017.
- Three out of twenty global deaths are caused by smoking. In some nations, it’s more than 20% of deaths.
- Smoking deaths typically affect older populations; more than 93% of deaths were over in people over fifty.
- Death rates from smoking are falling but not fast enough as many as still picking up the habit.
- Custom duties on cigarettes, a ban on advertising and support to help people stop smoking has effectively fettered the smoking habit.
You can read more from Smoking – Our World in Data
How I started smoking cigarettes
Let me take you through the history of how I became hooked on nicotine and the initial embrace of cigarettes as a cool thing of swagger. It took many years later to realize the devastation I was making to my mental, physical, psychological and spiritual states. When I did, it was a long-running battle before I finally won and no going back.
On completing secondary school, I had good results. My results were not good enough to get direct entry into a reputable university to study for any of the golden professions in my country. My parents decided that I should spend the next academic year, adding more subjects to what I have attained.
So, I was enrolled at a sixth form school, where I could do the remedial courses. The golden courses in my culture were Medical Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Accountant and Pharmacist.
The exciting thing with remedial classes for the student is that nothing is enforced, you attend classes at your will, and there are no assessments or course works. Implications of this are untold freedom for a pampered teenager!
At first, we would hang out during breaks to chat about lifestyle and politics. Groups began to form based on common interests. I found myself with some carefree lager louts led by Jolly (his nickname). I discovered they have alcohol available and cigarettes. Invariably I got acquainted with them, and in no time, we were drinking during breaks and later on was introduced to cigarette smoking.
The first few days, I would feel like I am choking, but a few weeks later, I got its hang. I exhaled the smoke through my nostrils and started learning to make the circular rings from the exhale of my cigarette smoke.
I got the swagger
Soon, I started missing classes, and as stated earlier, there were no consequences except that, unlike my cohorts, I don’t smoke anywhere near the home I lived with my parents, so Saturdays and Sundays were smoke-free and revision days. At this point, stopping smoking was not on my agenda; I foolishly thought life was good, and I enjoyed my freedom.
Unfortunately, in the weeks ahead, the smoking habit has now taken hold and unknown to me, I was now addicted to nicotine.
Later that year, I attained the good grades required and proceeded to the sixth form. This was where my nicotine addiction got worse, and I started smoking a pack of 20 Rothmans every day. I developed a routine, and I felt the need for smoking to help me think when studying difficult subjects.
I needed to lose the swagger.
Fast forward many years later, when I graduated from engineering school, I was still smoking, and I have tried many methods to stop but no joy.
I tried reducing to 4 sticks a day, but I would smoke 20 with the alcohol some days. It was clear that I little chance of winning the battle stop, so I gave up trying.
I realized I need help, but at the time, there was a minimal amount of work done about helping people to stop smoking. There were peers in the same situation. We would talk about it, but years passed, and nothing changed.
As I write, it has been about 30 years since I gave up smoking for good. I still drink but never had to smoke and no urge to do so either. I do empathize with those who struggle to give up. As discussed, the data does do grim reading and should not be ignored.
I have been there, and I know what it feels like to want to go out into the cold looking for a smoking area, especially now that smoking is banned indoors in most countries. I used the Cognitive Behavioural Quitting (CBQ) method is a unique sequence of simple scientific techniques that removed my need to smoke. It will not work for everyone, and we don’t all have our brains wired the same way.
I now know what real freedom is—nothing like a life of freedom devoid of addiction.
Benefits of quitting smoking
- Save money
- Improve your health
- Become more sociable with family and friends
How does one stop smoking
Here are the most popular approaches. You may have to try one or two to find what works for you. I have tried the Cold Turkey Nicotine Replacement before settling for CBQ and succeeding.
Cognitive Behavioural Quitting
is derived from Cognitive behavioural therapy and neuroscience.
It enables the individual to change how they think about smoking to overcome the addiction to nicotine and break the habit’s behavioural part.
This method deals with the Mental Dependence on Smoking by splitting the addiction into mental and physical aspects.
Mental dependence is a feeling and a desire to smoke. The body’s dependence on nicotine is the physical aspect of smoking. It is also believed that the mental part is the greater of the two hence the need to focus on it.
The CBQ method removes mental addiction; once this happens, nicotine’s physical withdrawal becomes a non-issue. Easily the most successful method!
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) like Nicotinnel, Nicorette (gums, patches, inhaler etc.) work by giving the individual a small amount of nicotine, but without the dangerous effects of inhaling tobacco smoke.
Unlike CBQ, I abstained from smoking because I am in denial of my desire for cigarettes. That was stressful for me and short-lived.
Going Cold turkey
Going Cold turkey is to stop smoking all at once without medication or nicotine replacement products. Quitting this way is very challenging and unlikely to produce a successful result or be effective, although it did work for some people. Those who are most successful in quitting smoking cold turkey know what to expect and prepare themselves for withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Nicotine withdrawal can be more intense when the individual abruptly stops smoking. However, the withdrawal phase is only temporary. Although the symptoms can be uncomfortable, they will go away.
Known effects of withdrawal from nicotine include:
Weight changes, Constipation, Cough, Cravings, Depression, Diarrhoea, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Fatigue, Headaches, Inability to concentrate, Increased appetite, Insomnia, Nausea, Sore throat, and Anxiety.
To succeed with this method, you need to
- Get in the Stop-Smoking mindset
- Create new habits
- Avoid temptation
- Prepare for Nicotine withdrawal
If Quitting nicotine cold turkey does not work for you, don’t give up. Try other methods, and you can succeed.
Stop Smoking with Hypnosis
Many people aspiring to stop smoking, patches, chewing gum, nicotine lozenges, counselling, and other smoking cessation methods will not work. If you are one of those, don’t give up. Hypnosis is another option for you to explore. Research work on hypnosis proves that it could help in some cases.
What Hypnosis is about
Hypnosis is defined as an altered state of awareness in which you appear to be asleep or in a trance. Clinical hypnosis may be used to treat certain physical or psychological problems. For example, it is frequently used to help patients control pain. It is also used in various other conditions such as weight issues, speech disorders, and addiction problems.
There are different views about the way hypnosis works. Some people believe that when you are hypnotized, you relax and concentrate more and are more willing to listen to suggestions — such as giving up smoking, for instance.
Even though you appear to be in a trance during hypnosis, you are not unconscious. You are still aware of your surroundings, and — despite what many stage performers may claim during an entertaining show — you cannot be made to do anything against your will. In fact, brain tests performed on patients during hypnosis sessions have shown a high level of neurological activity.
Hypnosis for Smokers
During hypnosis for smoking cessation, a patient is often asked to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking. For example, the hypnotherapist might suggest that cigarette smoke smells like a truck exhaust or that smoking will leave the patient’s mouth feeling extremely parched.
A popular smoking cessation hypnosis technique called Spiegel’s method focuses on three clever concepts:
- Smoking poisons the body
- You need your body to live
- You should respect your body and protect it (to the extent you’d like to live)
The hypnotherapist teaches the smoker self-hypnosis and then asks them to repeat these affirmations anytime the desire to smoke occurs.