Tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs due to its chemical composition that causes a craving in the brain in order to induce pleasure. Nicotine, one of the more than 7,000 compounds in tobacco, is the primary cause of its addictive nature. In the United States close to 70 million people were found to use tobacco (Volkow, 2016). Accordingly, approximately half a million Americans die annually as a result of cigarette smoking. This is because tobacco contains harmful chemical compounds such as acetaldehyde, tar and carbon monoxide. The harmful chemicals are responsible for the damage of body organs, and also increase the chances of infection with various diseases since it depresses the body’s immune system (Volkow, 2016). Thus, quitting smoking is the sensible resolution for a person determined to live a healthy life. The following is a personal health initiative including an action plan for quitting smoking with, methods, results, reflection and recommendations as well as a diary record.
Like with other forms of addiction, quitting smoking is also a gradual process and immediate quitting is not easy to all smokers due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The following steps are advised by the Mayo Clinic Staff (mayoclinic.org, n. d)
- Accept that smoking is a problem that needs to be solved.
- Understanding the risks associated with cigarette smoking
- Determine the date of quitting and lay down a quitting strategy. For example, a withdrawal method involving reducing the number of cigarettes that one smokes in a specific period of time.
- Talk to a health personnel to advice on the various therapies.
- Get rid of cigarettes stock.
- Lifestyle change by looking for a substitute activity such as chewing to distract the brain from the urge.
- Inform friends, family and your social circle for social support
Since self-willingness is essential in accomplishing any task, self- help interventions are effective in smoking cessation. Knowing the risks of smoking as well as the benefits has been found to be vital in self-help. It includes reading materials on smoking (Babatunde, 2012). Also, depending on the extent of addiction or daily consumption, seeking therapist advice is also important. There are various therapies that can be followed by an addict as outlined by Small and Kennedy (n. d.). They include cold turkey, nicotine patch, nicotine gum, bupropion, nasal spray inhaler and nicotine inhaler. On the other hand, people have tried quitting in vain and seeking social support has been found to aid in behaviour control. A research by Mermelstein et al. (1986) found that partner and friends can encourage a smoker in efforts to quit. Since smoking is a habit, keeping the mind busy is a way of coping with desires to smoke. Thus, whenever the craving feeling starts, a smoker should engage in an activity that will engage the brain (Rigotti, 2012).
A weekly plan to quit smoking: Information Sheet of the daily activities
|Cigarette Craving||Time and Severity|
|Number of Cigarettes Smoked|
|Other Observed Body Changes|
Table 1. A table to record observed changes in the body of the smoker
There are several obstacles that can be present when a person decides to quit smoking. First, individuals may be afraid of gaining weight after giving up smoking. It is thus necessary to counsel individuals about the positive changes in the organism that will result from quitting and persuade them that giving up smoking will have a positive impact on their health in any case. The problem of the additional weight can be easily eliminated with the help of a healthy diet and physical exercise. The other important concern is the fear that an individual will not be able to cope with stress without nicotine. In this case, the counsellor should encourage the person to change their way of thinking and lifestyle: different types of activities, positive thinking and improved health outcomes will help the individual to reduce their level of stress.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Research has shown than non-smokers have a longer life expectancy than those who smoke cigarettes and quitting smoking is therefore recommended for people who want to live longer. The quitting process can either be immediate, as recommended by various health practitioners, or it can be gradual, depending on an individual’s level of addiction. The benefits associated with quitting smoking should always motivate those who have decided and are willing to quit smoking. The benefits of quitting smoking include saving money that would otherwise have been used in the purchase of cigarettes. Besides, quitting would enhance environmental conservation from the pollutant gaseous compounds emitted by burning tobacco. Most importantly, it would be an initiative that would maintain personal health, free from the risks associated with tobacco consumption.
Volkow, N. D. (2016, January). Tobacco/Nicotine (Publication No. 16-4342). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website: https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/tobaccorrs_1_2016.pdf
Small, R. E., & Kennedy, T. D. (n.d.). Methods to Facilitate Smoking Cessation: Guidelines and Treatment Modalities. Retrieved May 15, 2016, from http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/418531
Mermelstein, R., Cohen, S., Lichtenstein, E., Baer, J. S., & Kamarck, T. (1986). Social support and smoking cessation and maintenance. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 54(4), 447.
Babatunde, O. A., Omowaye, O. A., Alawode, D. A., Omede, O., Olomofe, C. O., & Akinyandenu, J. (2012). Smoking Prevalence, Willingness to Quit and Factors Influencing Smoking Cessation among University Students in a Western Nigerian State. Asian Social Science, 8(7), 149.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Quitting smoking: 10 ways to ride out tobacco cravings – Mayo Clinic. mayoclinic.org. Retrieved May 15, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/in-depth/nicotine-craving/art-20045454.
Rigotti, N.A. (2012). Strategies to help a smoker who is struggling to quit. Journal of American Medical Association 308(15), 1573-1579
Appendix A: Personal Health Initiative Diary
Entry 1 – 02/09/2016
So, today is Monday and the first day without cigarettes. Perhaps it would be tactically correct to quit-smoking on Tuesday (most people have a hard day Monday), but I was already set at the beginning of the week. Therefore, doing my morning rituals and do not smoking, I felt myself rather joyful. The next day was also easy.
Entry 2 – 02/10/2016
The second day was more difficult than the first. My consciousness is constantly wandered around smoking and everything connected with it, as a smoker, it turns out, is related to smoking, almost all! In fact, all actions are divided into logical pieces of smoke breaks, and by giving up cigarettes, I now constantly bumping into these unoccupied point. By the end of the day I was tired of telling myself, I will be more good. But still I persevered.
Entry 3 – 02/11/2016
Again, the hard day. Memory always reminds me that I smoked here and there, and over there too, and after a meal, I seem to be getting any heavenly bliss of cigarettes, because as it is after a meal I want to smoke the most. But there are a lot of positive sides. I stopped coughing! But cigarettes are already choked me hard, my friends did not even have to turn around to determine that I have them catch up, a cough has been my business card.
Entry 4 – 02/12/2016
Today is easier, but not as I expected. Almost all of my friends who quit smoking said that the most difficult are the first three days, and then, they say, everything is like a clockwork. I do not know whether this was true, but my fourth day brought a lot of troubles. It is not so easy to forget the habit with which you lived for a long time, and the beliefs how well I will be healthy and look great when out of me, finally, all the muck out.
Entry 5 – 02/13/2016
I have very slow relief! Although not as fast and strong as I would like. At work, there are not too many places where I can smoke, I do not have much time to smoke and not too many opportunities to break. A new positive effect, I began to sleep better! More precisely, it is better to rest during sleep!
Entry 6 – 02/14/2016
It is good that I quited smoking on Monday, and not on a weekend. I had to redo all the work that has accumulated over all the years of smoking. And it’s called vacation. One time I was not ready to smoke in spite of the seriousness of anything. Moreover, for some five minutes, I found a bunch of very weighty arguments in favor of a single cigarette. These minutes were so difficult.
Entry 7 – 02/27/2016
So, the second week without cigarettes is coming to the end. Not to say that it was easy, but I did not adhere to the brutal attacks of smoking. The main problem for me personally was (and still is) that I smoked at home, not only on the balcony or the kitchen, as most smokers, and where desirable. As a result, the house reminds me that it is possible to smoke. Trying to distract yourself from these thoughts, I began to eat everything that comes to hand, and I think that this process becomes uncontrolled.
Entry 8 – 03/04/2016
I have seen and felt that life without cigarettes is possible, and is healthier and more comfortable without them, and the craving for smoking, it is just a long-term habit!