Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Options To Smoking

A wooden "no smoking" sign

According to Centers for Disease Control statistics, over 5 million people worldwide die from smoking each year. Therefore, it's essential not to start smoking if you don't currently smoke and to quit smoking if you do smoke. One the best ways to prevent and stop smoking is to engage in new activities. From extracurricular activities for nonsmokers to replacement therapy for current smokers, smoking alternatives may save your life.

Preventing Smoking

The Centers for Disease Control has a major worldwide initiative that proposes athletic participation as an alternative to smoking. One theory on why people begin to smoke is that they are bored and want a way to pass the time. Sports and other extracurricular activities will decrease the likelihood of boredom. Furthermore, if you are physically active, you will have healthier lungs that are less tolerant of cigarette smoke. Thus, if you do slip and try a cigarette, your lungs' immediate aversion to the smoke may cause you to think twice before you try another cigarette.

Should anyone ever offer you a cigarette or if you suddenly get the urge to buy cigarettes and begin smoking, look around you for immediate activities to engage in. Go to a place that does not allow smoking, visit a movie theater or get a scoop of ice cream. Delay the urge to begin smoking and you may lose interest, especially if the activity you choose over smoking is fun and worthwhile.

Quitting Smoking

Once you begin to smoke, you will probably have a tough time quitting due to the physically addictive properties of nicotine. National Institutes of Health and American Lung Institute research suggests that nicotine replacement therapy may increase your chances of quitting. Replacement therapy options include over-the-counter smoking alternatives such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges, and prescription alternatives such as nicotine nasal spray and a medication known as bupropion hydrochloride. If used correctly, replacement therapy will give you enough nicotine to reduce common smoking withdrawal symptoms. While smoking cessation products may help you quit smoking, you must not rely on them as permanent alternatives. You should also not use more than one nicotine product at once, or you may suffer a nicotine overdose.

Once you no longer have a physical dependence on cigarettes, you will still need to find lifestyle alternatives that will get your mind off smoking. Many people turn to food to fill the smoking void. However, doctors do not recommend that you follow this approach since it may lead to obesity, high cholesterol and/or diabetes. Consider more productive hobbies such as knitting, learning an instrument or bike riding.

At first, you will probably think about smoking all the time. Make a note of all the activities that at least cause you to think about smoking less. Increase those activities and decrease any activities that add to your smoking-centric thoughts.

Oral Alternatives

Some people who try to quit smoking find it helpful to chew on things to satisfy any lingering oral fixation. Gum, toothpicks, mints and lozenges are all relatively risk-free ways to keep your mouth busy so that you don't pop a cigarette in there instead. To avoid an increase in sugar levels, look for sugar-free products. Although a gum-chewing habit may lead to some jaw complications, in the long run its far safer than cigarette smoke. If you are a former smoker and find yourself grinding your teeth or biting your nails, pick up a pack of gum and see if that helps quell your oral fixation.

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