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QUITTING SMOKING: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE AND WHAT TO EXPECT

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Quitting Smoking: What It Feels Like and What to Expect


When you smoke, nicotine reaches your brain in just seven seconds. It causes a release of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure. So every time you light up, you’re giving yourself a mini-high. And as anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows, quitting isn’t easy. The physical and psychological addiction to nicotine is strong, and cravings can be intense. But there is good news. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health – and it’s not as hard as you might think. With a little preparation and perseverance, you can overcome cravings and eventually quit smoking for good. Here are seven things to know and expect when quitting smoking.


The First Few Days Are the Hardest 

The first few days after you decide to quit smoking are often the hardest. You may have intense cravings for nicotine and feel irritable, anxious, or depressed. These symptoms are normal and usually peak within the first three days. Some common withdrawal symptoms include: Difficulty concentrating, Restlessness, Insomnia, Headaches, and Dizziness. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and your body will go through withdrawal when you stop using it. To help you get through the first few days, it’s important to have a plan in place. This might include things like avoiding triggers (such as being around other smokers), having alternative activities to do when you get cravings (such as taking a walk or chewing gum), and reaching out to friends and family for support. The intensity of your cravings will lessen over time, and eventually, they will go away completely.



Alternative Products Might Help 

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to quitting smoking, some people find that using alternative products, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), can help. NRT comes in various forms, including patches, gum, and lozenges. It provides your body with a small amount of nicotine to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If you’re considering using NRT, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. Some people are not able to use NRT products, such as those with heart conditions or pregnant women. On the other hand, if quitting smoking instantly is not for you, you might consider vaping as a stepping-stone to quitting cigarettes. Vaping does not combust tobacco and is significantly less harmful than smoking cigarettes. You can also try e-liquid with various nicotine strengths to help wean yourself off gradually. Make sure to lessen the nicotine strength over time until you no longer feel the need to vape. 


The First Noticeable Results 

One of the first things you’ll notice after you quit smoking is that your sense of taste and smell will improve. This is because nicotine and combustion numb or even damage these senses. After a few days or weeks of being smoke-free, you’ll be surprised at how much better food tastes. The sense of taste and smell aren’t the only things that improve after quitting smoking. Your skin will also look better, and you’ll probably notice a decrease in wrinkles. This is because smoking causes your skin to age prematurely and damages collagen production. On the other hand, you might also notice some changes in your appearance that are not as desirable now, such as stained teeth or fingers. These changes are usually temporary and can be remedied with good oral hygiene and regular cleaning.



You May Gain Weight 

Weight gain is a common concern for people who are trying to quit smoking. And while it’s true that you may put on a few pounds after quitting, it’s important to keep things in perspective. The health risks of smoking are much greater than the risks of gaining a few pounds. Research shows that most people who quit smoking only gain about 5 pounds on average. And while there is some evidence that quitting smoking can lead to weight gain in the long term, this risk is small. It can even be connected to food tasting better, and not smoking suppressing your appetite. So rather than worrying about weight gain, focus on the many health benefits of quitting smoking. 


Your Risk for Disease Decreases Significantly

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the world. It’s estimated that smoking cigarettes cause nearly 6 million deaths each year from illnesses like lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. But when you quit smoking, your risk for these diseases decreases significantly. In fact, within just a year of quitting, your risk for heart disease is cut in half. And after 15 years of being smoke-free, your risk for stroke is the same as someone who has never smoked before. On the other hand, your risk for some diseases, such as lung cancer, does not decrease as quickly. Lungs tend to take a long time to heal after years of smoking damage.



You’ll Save Money 

Smoking is an expensive habit. The average smoker spends about $2,500 per year on cigarettes. And if you live in a state with high tobacco taxes, like New York, your smoking habit could cost even more. But when you quit smoking, you’ll quickly start to see the financial benefits. In just a year of being smoke-free, you’ll have saved enough money to take a nice vacation or make a significant dent in your debt. And the longer you stay smoke-free, the more money you’ll save. 


Your Lifestyle Changes 

Quitting smoking can also lead to positive lifestyle changes. For instance, you may find yourself being more active now that you’re smoke-free because cigarettes no longer cause damage to your lungs and make it difficult to breathe. You may also start to eat better since you’re no longer suppressing your appetite with nicotine. And you may find yourself drinking less alcohol since smoking and drinking often go hand-in-hand. Smoking can take a toll on your mental health. It’s been linked to depression, anxiety, and stress. But when you quit smoking, you may find that your mood improves. This is because smoking causes a decrease in the levels of dopamine in your brain, which can lead to feelings of depression.



Quitting smoking can be difficult, but with a little perseverance, many positive changes come with quitting smoking. Though the process can be difficult, with the first few days usually being the hardest, it’s important to remember that you’re doing it for your health. So stay focused on your goal and don’t give up. With a little perseverance, you can kick this habit for good and start to see both physical and mental benefits.


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