Ever since the public became aware about the dangers of smoking a few decades ago, many people have found quitting the tobacco habit hard. Companies have been innovating and manufacturing smoking cessation products for many years now. From nicotine patches to gum, nicotine addicts have been using them to quit their habit.
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Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes and electric cigarettes)are the newest product on the market. They are designed to look and feel like real cigarettes, even down to emitting artificial smoke however they do not actually contain any tobacco. Users inhale nicotine vapour which looks like smoke without any of the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke which are harmful to the smoker and others around him.
As with many popular products, there have been a great number of cheap Chinese imitations flooding the market. They are usually half the price of a branded electronic cigarette and look like the real thing as well. It is inadvisable to use these because they have not been subject to the same rigorous testing the official electronic cigarettes have and can potentially be highly damaging to the user’s health.
As electronic cigarettes become more and more popular, they are increasingly used to smoke in pubs and clubs with a smoking ban. Electronic cigarettes seem to be the next thing and may soon replace real cigarettes in clubs.
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Does smoking help relieve stress and help you relax? For some reasons, alcohol and smoking always seem to go hand in hand. Anyway, let's face the facts and reality, all these drinking and smoking is not going to help you!
Smoking and drinking are both linked to heart disease. There are no known or potential health benefits from smoking, but moderate drinking can help protect against coronary heart disease.
Back to smoking, nicotine does a few things:
• It raises the heart rate and respiration (breathing) rate and causes more glucose to be released into the blood. This might be why smokers feel more alert after smoking a cigarette.
• Nicotine is also a stimulant drug it helps soothes the limbic system, one of our most important emotional centers giving the smoker feeling of pleasure. In layman terms, it releases chemicals in your brains and thought to improve your mood making you feel better.
• When stressed, try going for a walk or jog instead, or try doing some housework, an alternative to smoking and getting more things accomplished.
• Take a few deep breaths. Breathe in slowly through the nose and fill your lungs, then breathe out again slowly through the mouth.
• Drink ice water, add a slice of lemon to it for a change to turn it into flavored water. Sip it slowly and try to savor the taste.
Lets face it, stress is part of life and you cannot run away from that. You decide for yourself if you should continue to stay dependent on smoking to help relieve stress and help you relax together with all the other health risks. Or QUIT!
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It is said that cigarettes help to reduce stress and help people relax, a fact smokers regularly produce when asked why they can't quit smoking. "I can't quit I'm too stressed out." Is a common sentence uttered by many a smoker every day. And when in a tough, problematic, critical and anxious situation a smoker will more than likely 'need' a cigarette to calm his nerves.
And smokers also get several other benefits from smoking including increased concentration, an added energy 'boost' mental 'strength' to deal with tough situations, curing boredom and relaxation.
These aspects can be condensed into two main beneficial areas of smoking. Firstly that, smoking is calming and relaxing, and secondly, it helps smokers concentrate and think clearly.
So on the Calming and Relaxing side - cigarettes take the stress out of life (relaxation) and help relive tension and stress. The benefits of smoking are to help smokers calm down and reduce anxiety and stress. When you visualise or think of relaxing what comes to your mind? It's usually a slumping of the shoulders effect, that aaaaaahhhhhhhhh... slip into your arm chair and letting go feeling - you are relaxing.
On the Strength and Boost side - smoking is uplifting, helps with concentration, keeps smokers on their toes and gives them mental strength. The other benefit of smoking is that it lifts smokers up a level - their senses are awakened. When you visualise or think of yourself concentrating and being uplifted what comes to mind? Generally it's a head up, on our feet, eyes open, chest out, shoulders back and an alert state of mind and effect - it gives you that I'm ready, let's do it and let's go feeling.
So cigarettes can have two effects - at times cigarettes can make you feel more relaxed and calmer - a general feeling of tranquillity or peacefulness. AND cigarettes can make you feel more confident, more capable, better equipped to deal with tough situations and they can give you increased concentration - a general energetic and empowered feeling.
But how is it that this same product or substance can do both of these things? Two different things that are complete opposites?
Smokers have been told, and believe that cigarettes not only help to lower stress levels but they also help to keep you on your toes - two completely different effects. Relaxation is a suppressing feeling while concentration is an uplifting feeling.
How can the same substance or product make the body feel up and raring to go and also make it relaxed and increase inner tranquillity?
The truth is that cigarettes can't make or help smokers do both, or either - it's impossible. You've also been told that cigarettes can cure boredom, help you enjoy your coffee and tea and meals and also sex more.
But again, how can cigarettes do all of these things? Yes nicotine does have a stimulating effect, (as it releases dopamine, the body's natural pleasure drug, into the brain) but how the hell does it make you feel up, down and everything in between?
Basically we have been told that cigarettes can pretty much do whatever you want them to, depending on the circumstances surrounding you while you smoke. So if you need some mental energy or strength - have a cigarette and if you want to relax and forget about your problems then you should have a cigarette too! How can the same cigarette make you feel how you want to feel, depending on your choosing?
So smoking itself doesn't actually reduce stress, or help you concentrate in any way - it's the way you breathe that does that for you. Have you ever wondered why people tell you to take deep breaths when you feel a craving or withdrawal symptoms? It's because the deep breathing mimics the way you breathe when you smoke.
Every time you have a cigarette you put your body under stress. Then your body tries to clean out the chemicals, which again makes you feel uncomfortable, and puts you under stress. And you do this every day going round and round in circles, no wonder you a re so stressed!
Then when your body realises it has extremely low blood sugar (no nicotine to block insulin which releases your sugar stores) you get pangs and cravings because your body needs sugar - it becomes stressed. You then have a cigarette to relieve that stress. Then after forty five minutes or so the process starts all over again! You are just going around in one huge destructive and pointless circle.
People say smoking reduces stress, when in fact - the stress is caused by the last cigarette - when nicotine and the chemicals enter your body you put it under a huge strain. Then when the nicotine leaves your body it becomes stressed - because there is no nicotine to release sugar into the blood.
Tobacco increases stress and then relieves it (artificially by playing with your blood sugar levels) when you smoke. So smoking is basically like hitting yourself over the head with a hammer because it feels really good when you stop!
A major reason why people say they can't or won't stop smoking is - they feel they would be giving up a very effective stress management technique. But once you stop smoking for a short period of time, you will become calmer, even under stress, than when you were a smoker.
Another smoking myths is that it 'cures boredom.' This argument is so pointless that it hardly merits much attention. Yes some people believe that it cures boredom, but so does banging your head against a wall and stabbing yourself with a fork. That doesn't mean it's either good for you, effective, productive or an adequate way to deal with the situation.
Again if you rely on cigarettes to cure boredom, all you are doing is telling yourself - 'I am not good enough to deal with this situation on my own. My cigarettes will take care of it.'
If you smoke due to boredom, you need to pay particular attention to changing your habits so that you have adequate new methods to keep yourself entertained.
Smoking as a stress relief mechanism is just and excuse. Many smokers know this but continue to lie to themselves because it prevents them from admitting that they cannot stop smoking.
Finding new ways to deal with stress is essential if you are going to make your stop smoking attempt a success.
My Complete Step By Step Guide To Quitting Smoking explains how to beat the stresses of everyday life when you quit smoking and it shows you how to break any and all your associations to smoking, so you can become completely smoke free in 3-4 weeks.