HELP Me Quit Tobacco

I am long addicted to tobacco!

How do I quit it?

No, I won’t be able to quit it!

These are certain inhibitions that people do have at the thought of quitting tobacco. Despite knowing the repercussions of this habit, people can’t muster the strength to quit it, due to the negative feedbacks from other people regarding the process of quitting. It might seem a little difficult but it is not so. It just requires a pinch of correct effort in a right direction.

The components of such motivational intervention build around the 5Rs: Relevance, Risk, Rewards, Roadblocks and Repitition.

Pharmacotherapy: These drugs are not available over the counter and are generally available only upon presentation of the prescription.

  1. Bupropion : Non-nicotine drug for treating tobacco dependence. Its optimum levels in blood are achieved within 8 days of initiation of therapy. Hence, with the initiation, a quit date is decided within a week. the dosage prescribed are 150 mg once a day for first three days, followed by 150 mg twice a day for 7 to 12 weeks.
  2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): NRT is a method of substituting the nicotine in the tobacco product by an approved nicotine delivery product so that the tobacco user does not have uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms upon stopping the tobacco product. The gum is available in different strengths and can be used on either at regular intervals or on an as needed basis. Tapering can be considered after 12 weeks. All types of NRTs viz. Nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, and nicotine nasal spray have been shown to have similar success rates. 
  3. Varenicline: It is a prescription medicine taken as a pill twice a day. It works as a partial agonist of nicotine receptors in the brain. It lessens the physical pleasure from taking in nicotine and helps lessen the symptoms of nicotine craving. 
image source : https://www.wired.com/2009/04/smokedepression/

Non Pharmacotherapy: Its a good sign if the patient doesn’t require medications to quit tobacco. There are certain non pharmacological aids that might be valuable

  1. Yoga: The nature of the mind is to seek happiness and ecstasy. Sometimes, the mind cannot find this in the area of the five senses and when this happens, it starts to crave. The human mind seeks the highest peace and in search of that higher ecstasy, it is lured into addiction and dependency. While smoking can thrill in the beginning, its charm fades in a while. In no time at all, many health problems insidiously creep in. And then the smoker ends up wanting to shake off the habit. But to no avail. Because the smoker is always in need of that ‘one last’  drag. Yoga practice helps develop the body, mind and soul, bringing a lot of health benefits. Yet, it is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher.

Kapal Bhati Pranayama (Skull shining breathing technique)

  • Blood circulation is improved.
  • The nervous system is rejuvenated.
  • Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels) and helps resist the urge to smoke.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing technique)

  • All the accumulated stresses are relieved.
  • Calms the mind.
  • Purifies and balances the nadis (subtle energy channels).

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

  • Expands the chest.
  • Blood circulation is improved.
  • Relieves stress and minimizes the urge to smoke.
  • Excellent for people with respiratory ailments.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)

  • Opens up the lungs and improves the flow of oxygen into the body.
  • Calms the mind.
  • Reduces anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Fends off smoking.

​​Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand pose)

  • Helps nourish the brain with better blood flow.
  • Effectively calms the mind.
  • Helps relieve stress and depression, thus eliminating the urge to smoke.

Shavasana (Corpse pose)

  • This pose should be practiced at the end of each session. It lets the body slip into a deep, meditative state of rest.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Rejuvenates the body.
  • Reduces blood pressure and anxiety.​

Hypnosis: Hypnotic techniques are meant to pacify the conscious mind and achieve a trance like state. Therapists use combinations of suggestions and words to have this effect on the quitter. Hypnotic induction can occur within guided sessions or through the use of administered tapes (self-hypnosis). Entering a hypnotic trance is a very deep state of altered awareness. It has been proven that people actually experience more brain activity during hypnosis. This heightened brain wave allows a person to focus in on their specific goal. (information courtesy: https://www.quitgenius.com/resources/hypnosis-for-quitting-smoking

Acupuncture: Acupuncture experts target certain areas of the body for certain conditions. When it comes to helping smokers quit, pressure points in the ears are especially effective in suppressing cravings. In between acupuncture treatments, ear seeds can be used at home — which work as a form of acupressure. This involves placing tiny balls on the ear with adhesive tape in targeted areas. This technique allows the quitter to self-treat by applying pressure to points on the ear to help temper the urge to smoke. After acupuncture, the quitter may experience fewer cravings, decreased irritability, improved mood, improved bowel movements and improved sleep. (information courtesy: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/want-to-quit-smoking-acupuncture-can-help-you-with-cravings/)

Quitting is not a difficult task.

In view of the huge mortality and morbidity burden due to tobacco use, it has become imperative to take urgent steps to curb the growing menace.   It’s a curvy road which can lead to a liberated and healthy mind and soul.

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