Tag Archives: smoking cravings

Raising the Smoking Age, Black Market Cigs & 4 Billion for Health Care

This week the news reported several tobacco related stories.

As the senate passes a bill to protect young Americans from the effects and dangers of smoking, smokers are red hot over the recent tax hikes and smoker’s helplines are getting busier by the day.

Also, Big Tobacco is feeling a little pain this week after paying their annual settlements.

Associated Press Reports on Bill SB 1049

The house will soon review a smoking age bill the Senate voted on and passed on April 15th to raise the smoking age from eighteen to nineteen years old.

The goal of this bill is to reduce the number of youth smokers by keeping tobacco products away from high school students.

The Senate vote was twenty-five for, and five against. In the same story it was reported that in the State of Texas alone roughly one-fourth of the high school students smoked cigarettes in 2006.

If this bill passes, the tobacco supply aimed at eighteen year old smokers would not be available legally.

Big Tobacco Yearly Annual Settlements

Also in the news, Philip Morris USA made its annual tobacco payment of four billion dollars as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement which is paid to reimburse states for smoking-related health care costs.

In total, Big Tobacco agreed to make about $206 billion in annual payments over more than two decades.

However, not all states are using the funds as specified.  The American Cancer Society in New England reported that only a small percentage of funds targeted for tobacco prevention programs were allocated. This lack of responsibility is putting children and youth at risk for taking up the nasty tobacco habit.

Red Hot Over Cig Tax Creates Busy Helplines

The tobacco tax in Arizona was only thirty-nine cents a pack a few weeks ago.

With the new government tax add on of a little over a dollar, the Arizona Tax Revenue department is worried about their share of the taxes being undercut due to smokers seeking alternative ways to buy their smokes.

With cigarettes at just under seven dollars a carton in Mexico, black market tobacco products may soon be infiltrating the area along with the resale of cigs purchased at the Indian reservations.

At the same time, calls to the Arizona stop smoking help line are up, as reported by the Tuscon Citizen news.

The Arizona Smoker’s Helpline is web based and offers a test for smokers. It is designed to provide a score on each of six factors that describe individual smoking behaviors. They understand that people phase in and out of wanting to quit and they know how to support smokers in taking the next step to really quit for good.

First learn why you smoke. Is it …

  1. Stimulation – If you smoke for stimulation, try a brisk walk, dance around the room, change your state in another way.
  2. Handling – If you like the way a cigarette feels then try other things to keep your hands busy. Take up a hobby
  3. Increasing Sensation of Pleasure –  Create some new activities in your life that are stimulating and enjoyable without being destructive.
  4. Reducing Negative Feelings – If smoking is a crutch for coping with emotions there are many great programs designed to bring emotional highs and lows into balance.
  5. Cravings or Psychological Addiction – Try products like NicoDrops, nicotine gum or patches to remove your focus on cigarettes while incorporating hobbies and other activities to divert your attention.
  6. The Habit – Begin noticing every cigarette you smoke and ask yourself if you really want it.

Get Free of CigarettesThese six factors are more extensively explained at the Arizona Smoker’s Helpline and offer a way for becoming more conscious about your reasons for smoking. If you are just thinking about quitting their free web-based smoker’s helpline is really worth checking out.

Once you have a better understanding of why you light up, you may be more inclined to know what steps to take to stop your nasty tobacco habit.

Are Cigarettes Your Best Friend?

Occasionally I hear a smoker say that they cannot possibly give up smoking because a cigarette is their best friend.

Some friends can be highly toxic to your well-being, and a cigarette is one such friend to beware of!

There comes a time in life when we should take inventory of how we choose to spend our time.

Each step of the way life gets a bit closer to target death. We all know that we cannot live forever!

There is always one certainty in life and that is the knowledge that the ultimate end to every human being who lives is cessation of life.

Picture of Man With Gun SmokingDeath is our final frontier and we hold zero knowledge of what really happens when we arrive and cross over to this state titled death.

So why do people choose to entertain cigarettes as their best friend?

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

And the Message Is…You Can Control Your Actions

Quit this nonsense!

Short and sweet, direct and straight to the point – just don’t light up.

Sounds concise huh?

It is as difficult or as simple as you want to make it.

You can take control of this habit.

Picture of Light BulbUse this knowledge to stop your previous actions and make that small change in behavior that gives you a big health advantage.

It is only as difficult as you want to make it out to be, so don’t baby yourself or rethink it over.

You have the control, now use this knowledge to not light up again.