Smoking is an age old habit and  the bane of many an unsuspecting victim. Most smokers started as teenagers wanting to look cool to their friends. Even today cigarettes despite regulations are easy for teenagers to obtain.  A cigarette here and there with friends is becoming a daily thing and suddenly the unsuspecting youngster is hooked.


Today, tobacco smoking is the cause of one-third of all cancer deaths and one-fourth of all fatal heart attacks in the United States alone. The American Lung Association reports that 350,000 Americans die every year from smoking which equals more than the combined deaths from alcohol, illegal drugs, traffic accidents, suicide and homicide. Smoking is also linked to several  degenerative illnesses and is directly linked to bronchitis, hypertension, varicose veins, liver and kidney disease and gum disease.

I could go on and on with more facts about smoking, but it won't help you quit or you would have done so by now.


The real question? Why do so many Americans continue to choose this dangerous habit? Research on addiction indicates that nicotine works much like heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. In fact, in one study where nicotine was intravenously administered to volunteers familiar with the effects of illegal drugs many of them said they could not tell the difference between cocaine and nicotine producing the same pleasurable physical and psychological sensations.


Indeed we do have a great deal of information about how bad the weed is for one's health, but not enough about how to quit. We could use an AA for smokers. A twelve step program of support and recognition as to how helpless we have become about a habit that wrecks our health and keeps us psychologically  hooked.


Here are some things I found in research for this article that may help you quit-


The urge to smoke lasts from three to five minutes. Although it is difficult, wait it out and remember who is in charge.


Most individuals want to smoke when they are stressed. Get in touch with what that stress is, label it then work to diffuse it.


Talk gently with yourself when the urge to smoke comes reassuring yourself that you can do this.


Hypnosis has been proven successful for thousands of individuals. Seek out a professional and don't expect that you will be able to quit after one session.


The herb Lobelia is the active ingredient in many smoke deterrent preparations. Use minute doses to help nicotine suppress cravings.


Slippery Elm throat lozenges can soothe the cough that can accompany kicking the habit. Suck on a lozenge rather than a smoke.


Of course there are more traditional methods such as the nicotine patch that have successfully helped thousands of individuals to quit. Choose the method that you feel is the most suited to your needs and remember who's in charge. Till next time, Rebecca