Are you a smoker yourself, or do you have a loved one who smokes? Then you could benefit from reading this article! We share with you a lot of information about tobacco that you probably don’t know and some tips to help you or your loved ones to finally switch to the non-smoking side.
Tobacco: become too commonplace? Light on this phenomenon
According to the WHO, most tobacco users start before the age of 18 and almost a quarter of them before the age of 10. This is one of the reasons why smoking among young people is referred to as a “pediatric disease”. Underlying this phenomenon, we cannot ignore the central role of social influence on the initiation of this experience.
When we are young, we are attracted to everything that is forbidden, new, exciting. We think much more about the pleasure and the advantages that this new experience can bring us, than about its consequences. Because yes, we can think that holding a cigarette in our hands can make us “cool”, “to be able to chat with the smoking group between two classes, at the exit of the high school, of the university”, “to do like the others during the parties”…
This brings a feeling of belonging to a group which is undoubtedly pleasant. But, what at the beginning was just a harmless desire to test a new experience, can quickly become a real addiction, because we forget all too often the many harmful effects resulting from the addiction to this substance.
Tobacco: a real addiction
Tobacco is a real addiction, which has psychological, physical and financial consequences. Dependence on the product will however depend on the length of time the product is taken, as well as on its frequency.
A significant consumption of tobacco in the individual leads to both a physical dependence: to the gesture for example and to a physiological dependence, due to the nicotinic receptors that “feed” on nicotine in our brain. This leads to wanting to take it again, once, twice and leads to the dependence on the product.
We can also talk about the notion of “craving” or in other words, psychic dependence, which means that the person concerned can no longer imagine living without his or her addiction. However, you should know that this feeling of addiction, with tobacco, only lasts 3 minutes!
In addition to the addiction, the burning of tobacco generates substances such as: ammonia, tar, hydrogen cyanide, benzene which modifies the DNA, and which can then lead to cancer. It is responsible for nearly 85% of lung cancers, and affects those around us who can be called “passive smokers”.
But don’t panic, there is still time to stop and get rid of the harmful effects of cigarettes!
Be sure: quitting smoking is possible, thanks to smoking cessation. The term can be frightening and sometimes associated with negative connotations, but here is something to clear up your questions on the subject:
Smoking cessation lasts from a few days to a few weeks. It is defined by the cessation of tobacco consumption, with the aim of freeing oneself from the induced dependence and lasts approximately 15 days to 3 weeks.
In general, the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal appear within 24 hours after cessation, are at their maximum at 48-72 hours and mostly subside in 10-30 days depending on the level of dependence, then disappear after 6-8 weeks.
It should be noted that some disorders may appear depending on the individual such as sleep disorders (insomnia, restless sleep), anxiety, weight gain …
How to quit smoking?
- Be accompanied by a competent professional: a psychiatrist and/or a psychologist, tobacco specialist, addictologist…
Among the possible therapies, we find behavioral and cognitive therapies. A psychotherapy that is based on motivation, allows the patient to make the most of the process he or she is undertaking, offering him or her a benevolent accompaniment, without medication. It is one of the only non-medicated approaches whose effectiveness has been scientifically demonstrated. It can be done in a group or individually. In this therapy, the important thing is to de-dramatize, to reinforce self-confidence on the path taken and to identify more effective strategies.
It also allows to set up avoidance strategies: patches, electronic cigarettes, chewing gum…
These strategies can also be used alone with care.
If your goal is to quit on your own, it is important to set achievable goals so that you don’t get discouraged too quickly. Even if your quit doesn’t last, the process is essential, don’t be too hard on yourself. You could replace this irrepressible need to smoke by a healthier substitute:
If you have a passion that allows you to really invest yourself, don’t hesitate to do it more than usual! And if you miss the gestures, if you need to keep your mouth busy, there is always the option of chewing gum.
- Other alternatives: there are many alternatives to cigarettes, such as gum, nicotine sprays … Which are often used to support the cessation of smoking. These alternatives do contain nicotine to satisfy the receptors, but they do not contain all the toxic and chemical components that a cigarette contains.
In case a psychotherapy is not accessible for you, it is also possible to get information on the platform: tabac-info-service.fr or at 3989 where you will be able to communicate directly with a tobaccologist, for you or a loved one. This number is available from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday (no surcharge).
- What does a life without tobacco mean?
-> From 48 hours without tobacco:
Nicotine is expelled from the body in large part. The nerve endings begin to regenerate.
The senses of taste and smell improve.
-> After 72 hours:
- Breathing becomes easier
- Lung capacity increases.
- Energy increases.
You now have some keys to motivate you to quit smoking, so we don’t want to hear any more excuses, just get started!