There are a lot of manufactured, synthetic forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) available that are government-endorsed ways to give up smoking. Valuable research is going into these, and as we are convinced of their safety more people are turning to alternative, prescribed drugs to scupper the toxic habit. This is a positive turn for the public’s health and for science, but we mustn’t forget that there are ways to do this without replacing one evil with a lesser evil. There are more natural, decisive ways to quit smoking that eradicate the evil completely, and these should be given careful consideration before turning to chemicals to do the job.
Statistics show that smoking prevalence amongst adults has fallen over the past quarter of a decade, from 46% in 1974 to 19% in 2014, so the intent to quit smoking is clearly there. Nicotine patches and gum have dominated the market for a long time, but recently e-cigarettes have taken centre stage in the quit smoking scene. Whilst they have been proven to help many people get off of tobacco, there is still some debate around the long term effects of vaping.
Despite science’s best estimates, the long-term effects still can’t be known for e-cigarettes as they have only been on the market for the past few years. Whilst the oodles of flavourings involved have been vetted by scientists for consumption in food, the effects of inhaling them once vaporised are unknown. The rest of the liquid (the substantial part) is made up of a mixture of propylene glycerol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), which are widely used in everyday cosmetics and pharmaceutical products – highly synthetic stuff.
But it isn’t necessary to rely on manufactured chemicals and corporate organisations to eschew smoking. First and foremost, you need to think positively. If you think you can’t do it then you definitely won’t do it, because there’s no fight. Build up the strength of your positivity and practice cognitive behavioural therapy. CBT works by changing deeply ingrained behavioural patterns that lead to undesired states, and is a form of therapy that helps millions of people worldwide to fight anything from a stutter to depression. It works best under the expert guidance of a therapist, but once you build up your own self-discipline you’ll be well equipped to fight any destructive urges.
There are also many herbal alternatives you can try, such as valerian and motherwort, which are widely available and are used to treat stress and anxiety. There isn’t enough data to provide any solid evidence that these ‘work’ so to speak, but a recent pilot study showed a 37.5% increase in quit rates after a treatment that combined St John’s Wort and counselling. Critics will insist that such herbal remedies are just placeboes, but even if this is the case a boost in your positive thinking will be massively beneficial.
Most of all though, it will be about changing your routine, both mental and physical. Identify the times, places and moments when you particularly crave cigarettes and try and fill them with something else, be it a run, dancing at a party or washing the dishes after dinner. Even changing what you eat can help: fruit and vegetables do not go well with cigarettes, whereas meat does, according to one study. These are all ways that will help eradicate nicotine from your life completely and build up your mental strength, whereas feeding the addiction with NRT keeps the wound open and prone to infection.