Nicotine and Tobacco
Most smokers admit that they don't even enjoy smoking, so why do people smoke? The answer is very simple.
People smoke because it is very addictive.
That's it. That's all it's about. There is nothing more to it. That's the factual, scientific reason why people smoke tobacco. It's as addictive, if not more so, than heroin and we should treat tobacco in exactly the same way. It only takes a couple of cigarettes to become addicted. People who have stopped smoking for years, may smoke one with friends, and the next day they are dashing to the shop to buy tobacco. It is just pure, factual addiction.
If you smoke, or a loved one does, this understanding will help the smoker to stop, because you can quickly drop any pretence or delusion that there is anything pleasant, enjoyable, or good about smoking, and you can relate to it simply as an addiction that you want to stop. In this cold, hard realisation lies the power to stop. "It's an addiction. I don't want this addiction. I will stop."
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
"Healthy body, Healthy mind". We know all about the physical health problems that smoking causes, but we often overlook the proveable scientific fact that smoking creates mental health problems also. The obvious ones are dementia, Alzheimer's disease, reduced IQ, poor memory, and the symptoms of most personality and mental health disorders.
This is simply because the smoker is poisoning their brain with all the most toxic and nasty chemicals imaginable that are in tobacco smoke, and even over a short period, the negative effect on the brain is noticeable and, over a longer period, irreversible.
VOW NEVER TO SMOKE AGAIN
Time and time again, people who give up smoking, sometimes for years, may feel that just "having one or two" with a smoking friend will not addict them. This is a delusion. For the ex-smoker, just one cigarette is enough to get you addicted again.
Realising this cold, hard fact will help you to never touch tobacco ever again. If you are tempted, take 10 deep breaths, remember that you will become addicted again, remember that it is not part of your life, that you will hate yourself for doing it, and say "No thanks."
SMOKING IS AS DANGEROUS AS HEROIN
It is a shared belief amongst many health care professionals that smoking tobacco is as dangerous as taking heroin. Both substances are highly poisonous, highly addictive, and kill.
If you are a smoker then please treat your addiction as being as serious as that of heroin addiction. In this way, you will quickly awaken to the seriousness of this addiction.
Being a smoker means that, at regular intervals in every waking hour of the day, you are poisoning your body, your mind, your emotions, and the same in those around you. It is a slow killer, but just like heroin, it only takes a few days for you to become an addict, and just like heroin, smoking kills.
POISON CANNOT MAKE YOU HAPPY
It is a very simple fact that poisoning yourself by smoking cannot and never will make you happy, content, satisfied, and healthy.
Smoking actually has the reverse influence upon yourself. When we smoke, as we poison ourself, we become very unhappy, confused, malcontent, completely unsatisfied, very unhealthy (in body, heart, mind, and spiritual connectivity), sick, and we can die from the activity. Not a happy activity at all and one that undermines you in all ways possible.
I repeat, it is impossible to become happy, content, satisfied, and holistically healthy by smoking, and that we very quickly become locked into a poisonous habit that is an "insatiable desire" - meaning that it is the mind that creates the desire and because the desire is a thought, it can never be satiated by physical activity. Just like a computer program, the mind keeps coming up with the same desire to smoke as part of the program. What we need to do is stop smoking, break the habit, and not allow the mind to dictate our behaviour. This can be achieved by understanding the human experience and using the seven chakra system is a very useful tool to do this.
Effect on mind
Tobacco is one of the most powerful stimulant plants known, primarily because of its chemical constituent nicotine.
Smoking tobacco makes the mind slothful, lazy, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, confused, impairment of cognitive and sensory abilities, and finally leads to dementia.
It is a "pleasure seeking delusion", it will ruin your life, and the only solution is to stop NOW.
The last cigarette you smoke is always the one you have just finished - don't pick up another one up and do everything you can to stop. It takes about three days of WILLPOWER to stop and then another six months of making sure you don't "just have one." There is no "occasional smoking", it is simply safest to never start or to quit. Changing habits can be difficult and as your local Doctor will tell you it is best to "taper off" the habit by a process of reducing the frequency and amount of indulgence in the habit. Steadily reduce your indulgence in smoking until you can finally let go of the habit. The choice is yours. Only you can make the change.
Caffeine, Nicotine, and Ayurveda
Caffeine and Nicotine increase Vata dosha to a dangerous, unpleasant, and extremely unhealthy level with accompanying symptoms of; fear, anxiety, mental confusion, shaking of the body, increased heart rate, and increased confusion and mistake making.
In terms of the Ayurvedic Gunas, Caffeine and Nicotine are Rajasic (increases nervousness) to begin with and within minutes becomes Tamasic (slothful, depressing, confused). Both are poisons and neither of them will give you the experience of health and balance (Sattva Guna).
Antidotes to unpleasantly increased Vata;
Antidotes to unpleasantly increased Vata as follows:
- Sesame oil body massage (just do the face and neck if you are pressed for time).
- Drink at least one pint of fresh water.
- Get some fresh air.
- Rest for between 10 - 30 minutes until the unpleasant feeling passes.
It is recommended that you avoid caffeine and nicotine entirely. They are both unpleasant and dangerous poisons that have an unpleasant effect upon the human body, mind, and mood. Is it worth it? Just because others do it does not mean you have to.
Effect on body
Look at smokers. Do they look calm, contented, relaxed, and happy? No. Quite the opposite. They are addicted to a poison that dries up their body, dries up their skin, tightens up every muscle in the body, and poisons the entire physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual system. This will happen to you if you smoke. All smokers will tell you not to start or to quit because they know just how bad it is from direct experience. Giving up nicotine is not the hell that some people make it to be. Changing habits can be difficult and as your local Doctor will tell you it is best to "taper off" the habit by a process of reducing the frequency and amount of indulgence in the habit. Steadily reduce your indulgence in smoking until you can finally let go of the habit. The choice is yours. Only you can make the change.
The effects of nicotine when it enters the bloodstream via the lungs are almost immediate. Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds and stimulates the secretion of adrenaline, thus boosting heart rate, increasing blood pressure and causing greater alertness. The body quickly builds up a tolerance to nicotine's most obvious stimulant effects, though by the time this happens virtually every user is addicted to the substance. The disadvantages of tobacco use are so well known that it is not necessary to dwell on them. Suffice it to say that nicotine is one of the most addictive and toxic drugs known.
One British study showed that a young person who smokes more than one cigarette has only a 15 percent chance of remaining a nonsmoker. And it is harder to stop smoking than to stop shooting heroin. Tobacco addicts who stop smoking can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms such as hunger and irritability within twenty four hours, other physical symptoms may last for weeks.
Tobacco addiction is a leading cause of heart disease, lung cancer and premature death in the West. In 1990 cigarette smoking killed more than 400,000 Americans. The recent fad among young people of chewing tobacco for nicotine's stimulating effects is only slightly less damaging to health than smoking. Chewing yields higher overall doses of nicotine, because much of the nicotine in cigarettes is burned before being inhaled in smoke. But since the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly when tobacco is chewed, chewing is somewhat less addictive than smoking.
Surveys have shown that people who smoke are also more likely to consume large amounts of caffeine.
The health effects of tobacco are the circumstances, mechanisms, and factors of tobacco consumption on human health. Epidemiological research has been focused primarily on cigarette tobacco smoking, which has been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption.
Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). It also causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension. The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how much the person smokes. Starting smoking earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tar increases the risk of these diseases. Cigarettes sold in underdeveloped countries tend to have higher tar content, and are less likely to be filtered, potentially increasing vulnerability to tobacco-related disease in these regions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century. Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide."
Smoke contains several carcinogenic pyrolytic products that bind to DNA and cause many genetic mutations. There are over 19 known chemical carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Tobacco also contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive psychoactive chemical. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine causes physical and psychological dependency. Tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus such as premature births and low birth weight and increases by 1.4 to 3 times the chance for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The result of scientific studies done in neonatal rats seems to indicate that exposure to cigarette smoke in the womb may reduce the fetal brain's ability to recognize hypoxic conditions, thus increasing the chance of accidental asphyxiation. Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers, and is a key factor causing erectile dysfunction (ED).
Dangerous affect on natural hunger
Smoking tobacco can interupt the natural hunger cycles of the body and acts as an appetite suppressant. This is a very dangerous thing as not only is the tobacco poisoning and weakening the body, but it is also stopping us from eating properly and all this leads to a vicious cycle of weakening and illness.
LETHAL CHEMICALS IN TOBACCO SMOKE
At least 50 are known carcinogens (cause cancer in humans) and many are poisonous.
Cigarettes are one of few products which can be sold legally which can harm and even kill you over time if used as intended. There are ongoing lawsuits in the USA which aim to hold tobacco companies responsible for the effects of smoking on the health of long term smokers.
(nail polish remover)
|Carbon Monoxide (CO)
(car exhaust fumes)
|Table 1 - Source: Health Education Authority (UK) - Lifesaver|
This is not an exhaustive list of chemicals contained in a cigarette but it gives examples that many people will be able to recognise and relate to the harmful health effects of smoking cigarettes.
THE DESIRE TO QUIT SMOKING MUST BE 100% OTHERWISE YOU WON'T STOP
Not only do we need to stop the habit of smoking, but we will also need to learn new healthy habits (and hobbies/activities) to replace smoking.
Giving up smoking is not easy. It is a long process, that requires contemplation and preparation (to combat cravings and to keep you not-smoking) and on average it takes a smoker four or five attempts to quit smoking for good. Typically you go through several phases during this time, each of which plays a decisive role in the long-term success of the quit.
Each phase brings different issues, so the help and advice you receive will need to change, depending on which stage you're at. One day, you will start looking upon yourself as a non-smoker who couldn’t imagine starting again, rather than an ex-smoker.
learning to consciously enjoy each smoke-free inbreath
The smoker must learn to appreciate and love fresh air. It is my own experience that we cannot deeply enjoy lungfulls of fresh air and smoke at the same time - unless we are a very obstinate person. You will keep forgetting to relish the fresh air, so you need to practice. Write it in your diary, at the start, middle, and end of each day, practice breathing only through your nose and taking big lung fulls of fresh air, breathing right down into the abdomen, so that your abdomen rises and falls deeply with each conscious breath. While you are practicing conscious breathing, enjoy, relish, appreciate, and learn to love the cool fresh air. If you keep practicing three times a day for just three days in a row, then you will be much less likely to have any desire to smoke tobacco. You might also want to use a smoking aid, like nicotine lozenges, to stop any anxious craving for tobacco, caused by the physiological addiction.
If you learn deep relaxation breathing and also learn to consciously enjoy each inbreath of smoke-free air, then very soon you will quite naturally just stop smoking - that is my direct experience. It appears that the mind makes the decision for us and sticks to it, if we learn to consciously relish each smoke-free inbreath then we will really not want to smoke. We cannot do both things at once. It is my deepest recommendation to learn deep abdominal relaxation breathing and also learn to consciously enjoy each inbreath of smoke-free air.
The seven phases of quitting
1. Pre-contemplation: smoking isn't a problem
In this phase, you're not thinking about giving up smoking.
You don't feel smoking is a problem and you have no desire to stop. The negative effects of smoking are rationalised or denied in favour of benefits such as enjoyment, pleasure and a way to relax.
You're also at this stage if you think you 'can't' give up because you haven't the willpower or you're worried about effects such as weight gain.
2. Contemplation: smoking has disadvantages, but I'm not yet ready to quit
In this phase you are aware of the pros and cons of smoking, but aren't yet ready to do anything about them.
For some smokers, these contradictory feelings about smoking stop them from moving on to the next phase where they prepare to quit. Usually, though, a smoker will make an attempt to give up smoking within the next six months.
Unfortunately only half the smokers in this phase succeed in quitting for longer than 24 hours in the course of a year.
One thing that appears to motivate smokers at this stage is the raised awareness of smoking - you become aware of information about dependency and the effects of smoking, as well as the different ways of stopping.
Advice from your GP about the benefits of giving up can push a smoker from contemplation into the preparation phase.
3. Preparation: you want to quit and you prepare to quit
A smoker in the preparation stage sees smoking as a problem that needs tackling. The intention to change behaviour in the near future is clear, often within a month.
You will start to read about the different ways to stop smoking and draw up a list of ideas to help.
These preparations may include setting a date for quitting, and establishing what kind of help you think will support your decision, eg talking to a doctor, enrolling in a stop-smoking clinic, using NRT or acupuncture.
4. Action: you stop smoking
The action phase starts on the day you quit smoking. This phase lasts until not smoking has become second nature - this can be as soon as four weeks, although on average it takes six months.
During the action phase, help should be as concrete as possible, eg strategies for dealing with withdrawal symptoms, correct use of nicotine replacement therapy, exercise and nutritional tips, etc.
5. Maintenance: you are more comfortable as a non-smoker
In this phase, your newly achieved smoke-free lifestyle is better rehearsed. You have experience of handling cravings, and the intervals between risky and difficult situations increase.
Unfortunately because the worst is over, you can drop your guard and forget how difficult it was to give up smoking in the first place.
The temptation is to have 'just one' or become a social smoker. This way of thinking will stop you moving into the next phase: sucess.
6. Termination: you are a non-smoker
You have mastered your addiction and put an end to your reliance on cigarettes. You are fully aware of what triggers your need for a cigarette and can comfortably handle situations without tobacco.
At this stage, cigarettes are no longer part of your life and you give little thought to smoking - you are a non-smoker.
But remember, once a smoker, always a smoker. Even years after giving up, 90 per cent of ex-smokers who are tempted to have one puff return to their old levels of smoking.
Setbacks are a natural part of quitting.
It usually takes four or five attempts before a smoker quits for good. While this means relapse is part of the quit process, there's no getting away from the disappointment you'll feel if it happens.
If you start to smoke again in any of the phases from four to six, you're back to the ambivalence of the contemplation phase (2). This is because, though you may want to stop smoking, you have in effect chosen to start again.
Although an attempt has failed, it doesn't mean you can't or will never give up. The important thing is not to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions or believe you're helpless in the face of your addiction.
Instead, you need to look at what worked and what didn't and use it to prepare for your next attempt.
Changing to loose leaf (roll your own) tobacco
To begin the process of stopping smoking, some people find it is advantagous to change to a loose leaf (roll our own) tobacco. It has less additives, less toxic chemicals, less taste, and can help "de-glamourise" smoking.
Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly (repetition/reinforcement), tend to occur subconsciously, without directly thinking consciously about them. Habitual behavior sometimes goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting them, because it is often unnecessary to engage in self-analysis when undertaking in routine tasks. Habituation is an extremely simple form of learning, in which an organism, after a period of exposure to a stimulus, stops responding to that stimulus in varied manners. Habits are sometimes compulsory.
It is easy to think "I must stop smoking" but it is more difficult to actually do it.
Why is this? Due to some of these reasons;
- We don't really want to stop
- Habits can be difficult to change
- Physiological addiction to nicotine
- Pleasant associations with smoking (coffee, big meals, alcohol, drugs, sex, relaxation, etc..)
- It represents a relaxation break or feeling at home
- We are not prepared to live a more healthy lifestyle
- We are habitually attached to smoking
Before you stop smoking, plan a healthy routine
When you stop smoking, you will be taken by suprise by how quickly you recover your health and how much energy you will find you have. For this reason, it is HIGHLY RECOMMEND (from direct experience) that you think seriously about this FACT and make a plan for what to do with this extra energy. It is often this very return of life-energy that panics just-stopped smokers into running for a pack of tobacco!
So BE PREPARED, and make a healthy routine plan BEFORE YOU STOP SMOKING, so that you can slip into a new healthy life-style without too much trouble.
BEFORE YOU STOP SMOKING, begin a daily routine of gentle stretching, healthy eating, and a daily walk. Then your body will be prepared for starting a healthy life-style. Be gentle and sensible. Learning very gentle hatha yoga postures (asanas) is useful. Join a local hatha yoga class so that you get professional instruction, otherwise you might hurt your physical body.
You might find gentle tai chi and swimming useful.
Also, tidy up and organise your life before you give up, so that you are prepared for a more energetic daily routine.
If you plan to give up smoking, you must be ready to embrace a more healthy life-style, and this may involve changing some of your social relationships. So it is worth being prepared for this - PLAN AHEAD.
A smoker must learn to enjoy the simple act of breathing before and whilst you give up.
The only thing between the smoker and a healthy lifestyle is the habit of smoking. There are so many other more healthy and harmless activities to enjoy...
Reduce to zero
With such an addictive habit, with physiological addiction to a substance (nicotine), it is difficult, although not impossible, to give up immediately. It is suggested that we taper down our intake and frequency of smoking week by week, reducing our intake until we can finally let it go.
Start by reducing:
- How many you have a day
- How much of the cigarette you smoke - smoke only half a cigarette
- The amount you inhale - take less drags
Take five deep breaths before you light your smoke. As you smoke, focus on your breathing and take plenty of deep breaths of air between drags on your tobacco. Gradually begin to enjoy the simple act of breathing and realise that you can enjoy breathing instead of smoking! It's cheaper and doesn't destroy your health.
Finding replacements to smoking
Sometimes when we try to give up, we find that we need to find something else that replaces smoking. This brings us to question: Why do we smoke? Often, smoking gives us a sense of "being at home" and if so, then we will need to find out "Why we don't feel at home?"
FINDING HEALTHY NATURAL WAYS TO RELAX
Cooking, stretching, swimming, hatha yoga, simple chi kung exercises, relaxation breathing, and meditation are common ways to relax by healthy and natural methods. Relaxation breathing is probably a good place to start as you can do this anywhere and it doesn't cost a penny. The technique is simple, just make the outbreath several seconds longer than the inbreath. As you relax, try to make the outbreath twice as long as the inbreath without straining. If you continue doing this for 3-5 minutes you will experience a deep and satisfying relaxation.
Nurture disgust and aversion to smoking and 100% committment to stop
THE DESIRE TO QUIT SMOKING MUST BE 100% OTHERWISE YOU WON'T STOP
The mind has adapted to the habit of smoking and we may think that we enjoy it. This is a large part of the problem with trying to give up - we still think that we enjoy it. This delusion of enjoyment needs to be counteracted by nurturing disgust towards smoking. Not disgust towards others, but disgust at our habit of smoking.
It is good to want to stop smoking and it is good to think about it, but until we nurture 100% committment to stop then we will not be able to resist the temptation to start smoking again. Without 100% committment we will fail. So we must NURTURE THE DESIRE TO STOP until it is 100% and only then can we succeed.
Think of somethings that really disgust your senses, things that you would not want in your mouth; vomit, excrement, poisonous gases, etc... and build up a conscious association of those things with the act of smoking, so much so that you feel disgusted by your smoking.
Hypnotherapy might help in this matter.
Visualize yourself in the future sitting in a comfortable chair, happy, content, peaceful, satisfied, and imagine that future self thinking; "I used to smoke, but that was a long time ago. I am so glad that I stopped otherwise I would not be experiencing these healthy conditions."
Now visualize another future you, lying in a hospital bed with a respirator fixed to your face, in agony because of the cancers and other diseases that have manifested due to smoking, thinking; "I wish I had stopped smoking when I had the chance, now I just want to die to stop all this pain and discomfort."
Other useful visualizations:
- Visualize yourself being offered a cigarette and politely declining
- Visualize yourself relaxed, peaceful, contented, happy, and not smoking
- Visualize yourself eating healthy, fresh, satsifying meals
- Visualize yourself taking healthy walks, swimming, stretching, and engaged in any other exercises that you like
- Visualize yourself NOT having a smoke first thing in the morning
- Visualize your lungs as being healthy and you are enjoying deep breaths of good fresh air
THE NON-SMOKING AFFIRMATION
- I don't want to smoke
- I don't need to smoke
- I choose not to smoke
- I don't smoke
- I enjoy breathing
- I am happy not smoking and I enjoy not smoking
I KNOW ALL THIS - BUT I LIKE SMOKING!
The success in quitting will focus upon understanding the nature of the after-effects of smoking. They are all in the above text. So admit and be ok with the fact that you love smoking, but you are giving up because of the poisonous gases and the long term very painful health problems.
You will miss smoking for several weeks after stopping and there will be times of temptation, but focus on your reasons for giving up.
AFFIRMATION: "I like smoking but I am a non-smoker because of the poisonous and dangerous after-effects. I have given up and I have done the right thing and I will stick by my decision."
If you enjoy smoking then you will have to focus on the harmful impact on your health that smoking brings.
Create a healthy diet
The more fresh vegetables, salad, fruit, fruit juice, and water that we can include in our diet will help to move the tongue away from those dietary associations that are linked to smoking;
- Red meat
- Rich foods
- Very sweet dishes
We don't have to give these things up, but it is advisable to stop having these things whilst we are giving up smoking. Give your digestive system a break for the week whilst you are giving up smoking and switch to the lighter, fresher, and cleaner foods - at least until you have completely stopped smoking.
Learn and do hatha yoga
Many people have had great success in quitting smoking by taking up Hatha Yoga. You can study the basics from the Hatha Yoga section of the HELM website, but before you actually do it, YOU MUST JOIN A LOCAL HATHA YOGA CLASS AND BE TAUGHT BY A QUALIFIED TEACHER, otherwise you may harm your physical body.
LEARN RELAXATION BREATHING
Study and practice from the HELM RELAXATION BREATHING PAGE.
Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
|Timeline||Benefit - What happens when you quit|
|3 - 9 months||
|Table 1 - Quitting Smoking Timeline - What happens when you quit smoking.|
- The influence of the gunas upon the chakras produces our holistic behavior
- The Three Ayurvedic Doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
- Holistic Purification
- Understanding human anatomy
- Understand, Love and respect your body
- Physical exercise: walking, swimming, stretching, tai chi, etc...
- Hatha Yoga for holistic health
- Nutrition and diet
- Chakra One Positive Affirmation