Tobacco contains nicotine. As soon as nicotine enters your system, it prompts the brain to release the feel-good chemical, dopamine. You are led to believe that smoking causes joyousness, enables you to concentrate, and makes you feel more energetic.
However, the nicotine level is bound to reduce soon. Then, your brain expresses an eagerness to release more dopamine. It tells you to have another cigarette. Gradually, as you increase the number of cigarettes that you smoke in a day, you turn into an addict.
The dependency on nicotine is such, that you are bound to experience withdrawal symptoms in its absence. The predominant feelings are those of anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability. Naturally, you turn towards your cigarette pack once more. Thus, you get hooked into a vicious cycle of nicotine withdrawal and nicotine dependence.
Chronic smoking affects your health in varied ways.
- Nicotine causes the narrowing of arteries and veins. In turn, your heart undergoes damage. Therefore, it must pump harder and faster, to allow appropriate blood circulation. Even then, the flow of oxygen and blood to your extremities is slow.
- Carbon monoxide also enters your body. The heart receives less oxygen, thereby affecting its ability to initiate normal blood circulation. Even the airways become swollen up, after some time. Therefore, your lungs receive less air.
- The lungs may blacken over time, thanks to the coating of sticky Tar.
- The formaldehyde and ammonia in cigarettes, cause irritation to the throat, eyes, and nose.
- The linings of your airways contain hair-like, cleansing cells. They provide protection against lung infections. The phenols in your cigarette smoke, paralyze and kill these cells.
- You may become a victim of smoker’s cough, wherein your lungs and throat feel irritated all the time. The culprits are tiny smoke particles.
- Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that induce cancers.
- As for looks, your skin displays wrinkles and sagginess, and your hair looks dull. Your mouth has a bad odor. You risk loss of teeth. Finally, your teeth, fingers, and tongue, display ugly yellow-brown stains on them.
- Mental illness (depression, panic attacks, schizophrenia, etc.) is also a possibility.
These drugs lessen smoking withdrawal symptoms, reduce the craving for cigarettes, and prevent you going back to the ‘habit’.
At the same time, they work well only if you are determined to quit, create a quitting deadline, have a plan in hand for avoiding smoking urges, and seek active support.
The most popular are Zyban (buproprion) and Chantix (varenicline). They attack the root of your smoking problem. They utilize a special component, which destroys the pleasure in smoking. It means that the component operates at the neurological level. The neurotransmitters in your brain receive the message that you are not too keen to pick up that handy cigarette. Thus, your addiction goes away, albeit gradually.
Other medications, include pills/patches of clonidine (popular for hypertension), or nortriptyline (anti-depressant). Sometimes, medical practitioners offer drugs that do not contain nicotine.
Apart from these, there are traditional smoking cessation methods. They include using nicotine lozenges, gums, patches, or sprays.