Tag Archives: nicotine cravings

Training for a Quitter State of Mind

You are here reading this article because quitting cigarette smoking is a goal that you have set to achieve.

Just like a willing person has to train to run a marathon race, you can also train to quit and win the end of cigarettes fight.

Once you have truly made up you mind to quit you will quickly realize losing is not an option.

I Wonder What It Will be Like When…

A Thumbs Up AttitudeIf you are like many smokers who want to quit you have scanned the web for free tips, advice, and articles on ways to stop smoking and now you have a thumbs up attitude and you are ready to engage and receive support to help you quit for good.

This is the training part of the race to quit. During the training embrace a few of the quitting methods simultaneously  to help you find the best method that works for you.

One helpful tip is to close your eyes and slow down your thoughts while connecting to a peaceful place )like you would in a meditation practice) when the urge to light up is strongest. Imagine a future time where you have already quit smoking for good.  Notice how good you feel. Notice the way people support you and acknowledge your success.

The more you imagine the quitting finish line the sooner you will cross it.

Also spend some time thinking of some nice things you can do for yourself with the money you will save. Let this also be part of your meditation process. You can spend time imagining events, places, things, you can enjoy with the savings.

Drink Plenty of Water

Get use to drinking water. Notice when your mouth begins to feel dry and then drink a tall glass of water before you get really thirsty. Water helps to flush the nicotine and carcinogens out of your system quicker than if you drink it during and after you eat.  Soda and sweetened beverages only enhance and add to cigarette cravings.

If you find you worry that you may need something to do with your hands you can keep them busy by journaling what it is like to have a life as a non smoker. You can reflect on the past harm cigarettes did to you as a smoker, and document your healing progress.

Keep a journal handy when you feel the need to light up, and pour out all your feeling and thoughts without censoring them. This is your journal and no one needs to read what you write. You can write about how it feels when smoking urges arise, and how good it feels when your pass on the urge.

You can write about your progress each step of the way. You will often notice your first page or two often shares a few rants, by the third page you will be filled with inspiration as you move beyond your mind to your deeper inner resources. Journaling can help you stay sane, and also provide glimpses and eventually a deep bond with your inner courage and wisdom.

You Are Learning to Take Better Care of Yourself?

You can also find time to pamper yourself a little more.

Give yourself a spa day! Enjoy the act of washing your face and brushing your teeth more often. Plan a day where you pamper yourself, too.

Don’t think of skipping a day away from your quit smoking training routine. Each morning connect with gratitude and acknowledge that you are not smoking on this day.

Remember life is as precious as we make it. Picture yourself living a live a long and healthy life surrounded by your friends and family. Reflect on those people in your life who are dependent on you, or who think of you as a valuable friend.

By taking better care of yourself and stopping to smell the flowers (your sense of smell will improve, too) take time to enjoy the sunshine and even the raining days that nurture the earth.

You can be the person you really want to be, for you and for your loved ones. Take a stand, and get into a training state of mind. The rest will be easy as you succeed at the quitting marathon.

Smoking Bans – Smokers Not Hire Ready

Employers are using smoking vs. non-smoking as one of the criteria to hire employees.

Whether a person smokes or not could be a deciding factor even before you have been E-Verified.

For smokers looking for gainful employment, their addiction makes the possibilities even harder than they may realize.

Fair Debate for Smokers and Non-Smokers

Smokers are willing and able to work in smoke-free environments and can put up with it in order to work.

Once that craving hits though, they will sneak outside on breaks to have a few puffs of nicotine until quitting time. The working smoker’s perception is they have the best of both worlds – a smoke-free environment on the inside of the workplace and a chance to smoke on the outside during working hours.

The non-smokers want to work in smoke-free environments. A smoking policy inside an employees place of employment will provide an environment free of second hand smoke … except:

What if the employee who smokes reeks of cigarettes

What if the second hand smoke finds its way through open windows, doors, and hallways from around the building.

What if smokers begin smoking in bathrooms, or stairwells?

Then an environment is not truly smoke free and for employees a non smoking is really non-existent.

The Win/Win/Lose

Hospitals and other smoke-free conscious employers are pulling out the stops for justifying their no smoking policies.

With the current healthcare reform policy, employers are justifying the testing of potential employees.  Nicotine tests similar to random drug testing are qualified and being administered.

If non-smokers are hired it is less likely the employee will be hospitalized for ailments related to lung cancer. Insurance cost savings is the rationale for these tests because they can save on costly medical expenses in the future.

Medical costs will be considerably less because symptoms related to asthma, bronchial infections, and allergies will not exist.  Families will be healthier and have less cause to visit the doctor or fill a prescription.  Insurance premiums will not have to cover as many catastrophic illnesses related to smoking and second hand smoke.

If a ban on hiring smokers is embraced by businesses in all 50 states, a long road of tough economic times will be facing those that smoke if they refuse to quit.  Smokers will feel defeated not because they lack the skills to perform their jobs but lack the skills to quit smoking to gain and keep their jobs.  Being a smoker will have a stigma that has obvious and detrimental consequences.

Quit While You Can

These bans are the sign of the times and smokers need to prepare to move with them.  If you are currently unemployed, be aware that your smoking addiction is a possible criterion as to whether you land the next job.

Still working and smoking? Higher insurance rates especially for smokers and other unnecessary risk takers are certain to be the norm. Cessation Programs may have some provisions that give you a timeline to quit before your insurance rates and premiums are dramatically increased.

An important part of your life may be your career.  Do not let smoking be the thing that ends it.

References:

  1. WHO POLICY ON NON-RECRUITMENT OF SMOKERS OR OTHER TOBACCO USERS
  2. Smokers Not Hired

MayoClinic.com Provides Tips for Coping With Nicotine Cravings

Tobacco users are accustomed to having certain levels of nicotine in their bodies. Because of its addictive qualities, when a person quits using tobacco, nicotine cravings are likely.

A new feature on MayoClinic.com provides users with 20 ways to bust nicotine cravings.

Sample tips — which can help users overcome the urge to smoke and ultimately quit smoking for good — include:

  • Move. Do deep knee bends, run in place or climb the stairs. A few minutes of brisk activity may stop a nicotine craving.
  • Replace. Try a stop-smoking product instead of a cigarette. Some types of nicotine replacement therapy — including patches, gum and lozenges — are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription.
  • Call for reinforcements. Team up with a partner who doesn’t smoke for a quick chat or brisk walk.
  • Drink up. Sip a glass of ice water slowly. When the water is gone, suck on the ice cubes.
  • Clean the closet. Discard any clothes yellowed by cigarette smoke or damaged with cigarette burns.

In addition to tips for fighting cravings, the Quit Smoking Center on MayoClinic.com offers helpful information about stop-smoking products and techniques, and how to develop a plan for quitting.

About MayoClinic.com

Launched in 1995 and now visited by more than 10 million users a month, this award-winning Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.

Produced by a team of Web professionals and medical experts, MayoClinic.com gives users access to the experience and knowledge of the more than 2,000 physicians and scientists of Mayo Clinic.

MayoClinic.com offers intuitive, easy-to-use tools such as “Symptom Checker” and “First-Aid Guide” for fast answers about health conditions ranging from common to complex; as well as more in-depth sections on more than 25 common diseases and conditions, healthy living articles, videos, animations and features such as “Ask a Specialist” and “Drug Watch.”

Users can sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter called “Housecall” which provides the latest health information from Mayo Clinic. For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.com.

nicoti.pngTo obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. MayoClinic.com is available as a resource for your health stories.

Rochester, MN (PRWEB) October 31, 2007 —

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Smoking Bans Help People Quit, Research Shows

Nationwide, smoking bans are on the rise in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Research shows that bans decrease the overall number of cigarettes people smoke and in some cases, actually result in people quitting.

One reason bans help people quit is simple biology. Inhaling tobacco actually increases the number of receptors in the brain that crave nicotine.

“If you had a smoker compared to a nonsmoker and were able to do imaging study of the brain, the smoker would have billions more of the receptors in areas of the brain that have to do with pleasure and reward,” says Richard Hurt, an internist who heads the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center.

So, removing the triggers that turn on those receptors is a good thing.

“If you’re in a place where smoking is allowed, your outside world is hooked to the receptors in your brain through your senses: your sight, smell, the smoke from someone else’s tobacco smoke or cigarette. That reminds the receptors about the pleasure of smoking to that individual, and that’s what produces the cravings and urges to smoke,” Hurt explains.

Hurt adds that bans help decrease the urge to smoke in another way: They de-normalize it. For example, where smoking is considered the “norm” – as it was in so many countries in Europe for so long – more people smoke. In places where smoking is no longer the “norm” – in California, for example – there are fewer smokers.

Smoking Ban SignResearch shows that nicotine replacement medications – like nicotine gum, patches or inhalers – double a smoker’s chances of quitting. So do counseling and therapy. Add a smoking ban, and Hurt says the chance of successful quitting is even better.

Click to learn more about > smoking bans.

Source: NPR

Chantix Helps Smokers Quit

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The first time Brian Kelly quit smoking, in the 1990s, he had nicotine cravings like crazy even though he was using a nicotine patch and nicotine gum.

This year when Kelly decided again to try to kick the habit he returned to the patch and gum, until he read on the Internet about Chantix, a prescription anti-smoking pill approved a year ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s like a wonder drug as far as I’m concerned,” said Kelly, 63, of Martinsburg.

Kelly said he quit smoking in three weeks – a date he set through a quit-smoking class at Waynesboro Hospital in Pennsylvania – and didn’t face the withdrawal symptoms that occurred the first time he quit.

Chantix, made by Pfizer, blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain so people don’t get a buzz from smoking, nor do they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking, said Dr. Paul Quesenberry, a family doctor with Cumberland Valley Family Physicians in Chambersburg, Pa.

“It’s been a really amazing addition to our regimen for getting people to stop smoking,” Quesenberry said.

Still, it’s not an immediate fix.

How long it takes to stop smoking with Chantix varies from patient to patient, but usually it takes weeks to months because people have to learn to break the habit as well, Quesenberry said.

According to Pfizer’s Web site, smokers should start taking Chantix one week before their quit-smoking date so the drug can build up in the body. They can keep smoking during that first week.

Dr. Dwight Wooster, a pulmonologist with Newman, Wooster, Kass, Bradford, McCormack & Hurwitz at Robinwood Medical Center, said he recommends his patients try to reduce how much they smoke before they start Chantix. Of the 22 patients for whom he has prescribed Chantix, about 17 already have quit smoking.

Most people take Chantix for up to 12 weeks, according to Pfizer.

The most common side effects include gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and constipation, and difficulty sleeping, doctors said.

Quesenberry said most people he’s prescribed Chantix to haven’t had problems with side effects.

Most people who experience side effects will tolerate them because the benefit of quitting smoking is so huge, he said.

Dr. Sanjay Saxena, a family doctor with Hagerstown Family Medicine, said he’s had patients ask about Chantix, whether they’ve tried other smoking cessation tools or not, because they’ve heard how successful the drug has been for others.

Health benefits

Kelly began smoking at age 7 when he was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., because it was a tough neighborhood and smoking was cool.

When he quit the first time, Kelly had been smoking as many as 4 1/2 packs a day.

He began smoking again around 2001 after several deaths in his family and got up to a pack and a half a day.

Since he quit with Chantix, Kelly feels terrific, he said.

His breathing has improved, and he no longer has a smoker’s cough.

The carbon monoxide that gets into the bloodstream from smoking can lead to heart disease and strokes, Quesenberry said.

Smoking also can lead to chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and cancers, including lung, mouth, esophagus, and cervical and bladder cancers, he said.

Lesa Spedden, 32, of Chambersburg, Pa., took Chantix to quit smoking so she would have more energy and to be an example for her children.

“I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say, ‘Now, you can’t do this.’ Meanwhile, I’m there huffing and puffing in front of them,” Spedden said.

Spedden said she truly enjoyed smoking and wanted something to help her not enjoy the habit. Chantix helped curb that desire. After taking the drug a few days, smoking cigarettes developed an unpleasant, bitter taste, she said.

Smoking didn’t appeal to her anymore.

The most immediate benefit is getting rid of the expense of smoking, Quesenberry said.

Chantix can be pricey and sometimes health insurance doesn’t cover it, but the flip side is the expense of cigarettes, Quesenberry said.

A one-month supply – a 1-milligram Chantix pill per day – would cost $60 to $65 without insurance coverage, said David Russo, pharmacist and owner of Russo’s Rx in Hagerstown.

Other options

Other options for smokers wanting to quit include the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler and the anti-smoking drug Zyban.

Saxena said Chantix has been more successful than other treatments, but there’s still a place for those other treatments. He’s had at least one patient who experienced bad nausea with Chantix.

For that person, he might recommend the nicotine inhaler, which gives smokers nicotine as well as something to do with their hands rather than handle a cigarette or turn to more food as a substitution.

Quesenberry said he typically hasn’t recommended the nicotine patch because it causes skin irritation, and smokers usually don’t like it because it doesn’t deliver that quick nicotine buzz as a cigarette does. Instead, the patch provides a slow release of nicotine.

While the taste of nicotine gum isn’t pleasant, it does a better job of providing a nicotine buzz, like a cigarette, he said.

Quesenberry said he would prescribe Zyban for smokers with significant co-existing anxiety or depression because the pill is actually an anti-anxiety medicine, marketed for the latter purpose as Wellbutrin. The drug, generically known as bupropion, was approved by the FDA in May 1997 as an anti-smoking medication and marketed under the name Zyban.

If someone specifically asked for Zyban because they knew someone who quit with it, Quesenberry would prescribe the person that drug, he said.

Wanting to quit is a big factor in succeeding quitting, local doctors said.

Quesenberry said he won’t prescribe Zyban or Chantix for smokers who don’t want to quit but say they want an anti-smoking drug because a family member wants them to quit, because they have to want to quit themselves.

A bit of psychology is involved, he said.

“Once it’s in the heart and they want to do it, it doesn’t take much. It’s getting people to where they’re ready to stop that’s the big deal sometimes,” Quesenberry said.

“If you’re not motivated, no medication is going to work,” Wooster said.

For more information about Chantix, check out this Web site:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s patient information sheet for Chantix: www.fda.gov/cder/drug/InfoSheets/patient/vareniclinePIS.htm.

Source: JULIE E. GREENE, The Herald-Mail Company

Try Acupuncture to Quit Smoking

Bloomington, Minn. – Millions of dollars are spent each year on smoking cessation treatments, including the nicotine patch and hypnosis.

But on smoking cessation treatment being used more often may be the ticket to a smoke-free future.

Studies suggest that acupuncture may aid in the fight against smoking addiction by relaxing the body and reducing cravings.

By using an acupuncture needle to stimulate certain points on the body, pain-modulation endorphins are released,” says Sher Demeter, LAc, associate dean for the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Bloomington, Minn.

Picture of Ear Acupuncture“This is often compared to experiencing a runner’s high which can also cause a mood-lifting effect. Not only can acupuncture be used to treat problems associated with chronic pain, headaches, digestion, insomnia, irritability and nervousness, but it also has been used as a smoking cessation tool.”

Demeter adds that acupuncture may help a smoker relax and feel less anxious, reduce the cravings for nicotine, decrease the frequency of withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, and help eliminate toxins in the body.

“A person should commit between six and eight weeks of treatment while visiting two or three times a week. It can take a month for the body to clear its system of toxins so it is important to reevaluate after a few weeks,” say Demeter.

Because smoking is an addiction, quitting is not as simple as getting a few acupuncture treatments and then never craving another cigarette. “The success rate is similar to other smoking cessation treatments and programs, in order for the treatment to be effective, you have to make positive lifestyle changes and maintain those changes by using your own free will,” says Demeter.

“You can not quit smoking with just acupuncture but it can help reduce the nicotine cravings by reducing the physiological and emotional stress associated with quitting smoking.

For additional resources on smoking cessation, visit http://www.nwhealth.edu/nns, a Web site focusing on natural approaches to health and wellness hosted by Northwestern Health Sciences University.

Source: Spooner Advocate

Dealing With Nicotine Withdrawl

Everybody knows that nicotine withdrawal comes with the territory of quitting smoking but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It can be hard and even frustrating for the person quitting to deal with withdrawal and for those around the person.

But understanding what’s going on, physically and psychologically, can help and can assist you in helping a friend quit.

When smokers quit, they begin to go through some changes, some physical, some emotional. The physical symptoms, while annoying and difficult, are not life threatening.

Nicotine replacement products such as the patch or gum can help reduce many of these physical symptoms. For most smokers, the bigger challenge is the psychological part of quitting.

This psychological part of smoking is really hard to beat because smoking becomes linked to so many things – things like waking up in the morning, eating, reading, watching TV, drinking coffee, etc. It’s like a ritual.

Your body becomes used to having a cigarette with certain activities and will miss this link when you first become smoke-free.
Woman Yanking HairIt will take time to “un-link” smoking from these activities.

Unfortunately, the patch or gum can’t relieve the psychological need to smoke. That’s why it’s so important for the smoker to create a plan to deal with situations that trigger their urge to smoke. Smokers can also ask friends and family for support with simple things like walking around the building before class instead of having a cigarette.

Stop Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms

If and when a smoker goes through withdrawal, they need to keep this in mind. Even though they may not act like themselves, and they may feel rotten, these feelings will pass. After 30 days or so, and after they’ve quit smoking, all this will be behind them. In the meantime, here are some of the withdrawal symptoms smokers may experience and what they can do about them.

Craving – This is the body’s physical addiction saying, “I need nicotine now!” Each craving will last for only a couple of minutes and will eventually stop happening altogether in about seven days. Smokers should use nicotine replacement products to help reduce cravings.If the smoker still feels the urge, they can admit out loud to themselves or someone else that they are having a craving. Then they should count to one hundred and let the feeling pass – and it will, usually within a couple minutes.

Difficulty Concentrating –  “Help, I quit smoking and I can’t concentrate!” Some people say nicotine helps focus their attention. When they quit smoking, the increased blood flow and oxygen can lead to a feeling of mental fogginess.If this happens, they should try making lists and daily schedules to keep organized, then set aside some total relaxation time when they don’t have to concentrate on anything!

Fatigue/Sleeping Problems –  Trouble sleeping and fatigue are common symptoms of withdrawal. Because nicotine increases one’s metabolism to an abnormally high rate, when people stop smoking their metabolism drops back to normal, making them feel like their energy level has dropped.So what can they do? They need to get their body used to the new metabolic rate by getting plenty of sleep, whenever possible. Although sleep patterns may be interrupted at first, this is normal and temporary.

Irritability –  If you have snapped at someone or had a new non-smoker snap at you, you know what we are talking about. Irritability is caused by the body trying to adjust to the sudden disappearance of all those chemicals it’s been used to. The best way to handle this is for smokers to simply be honest with those around them that they are trying to quit and they do not feel like themselves.

Source: American Cancer Society

Be True To Your Quit

During the Early Days (daze) staying quit seems out of reach, like if only you could just have that one puff it would, could, should set you free!

Think before you reach.

One puff could equal one to two packs for the next five, ten, or twenty years, or perhaps a lifetime of smoking.

You have the power.

Picture of EyesWill you choose to deny or comply?

What will your choice be?

Will you choose to be chained to addiction or opt to be free?