World's obsession: smoking and how to quit it

Tobacco became a global obsession 500 years ago when Europeans brought it from the New World. Nowadays, about 1.1 billion people are smokers. That is one in three adults. Whether you're a committed smoker or a convicted guardian of public health, this article will be useful for you. It will shade light on one of the biggest problems people ever had and the ways to cope with it.

Why Is It So Hard for Smokers to Give up Their Habit?

Cigarettes smoke contains nicotine which is an addictive substance. It is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine. That’s why nicotine is present in nearly all smoking cessation tools. The latest method – vaping – also allows users to consume nicotine. Many ex-smokers find gadgets like a juul vape the perfect substitute for cigarettes so far. They help to stay away from cigarettes and 4000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke. 

Smoking brings both positive and negative experiences. When a person takes a smoke break, the brain produces the feelings of relaxation, arousal, and increased concentration. When the brain doesn’t get nicotine it’s used to longer than usual, a smoker starts to suffer from such withdrawal symptoms as nervousness, irritability, restlessness, anxiety and decreased concentration. These feelings usually interrupt the smoking cessation process.

The Scale of the Problem

Tobacco kills up to half of its users. More than 7 million smokers die each year. While more than 6 million of those deaths are the direct result of tobacco consumption, around 890 000 are the result of second-hand smoke exposure. 

Smoking in the U.S. has drastically declined in the last twenty years, especially among the youth. In 2000, 23% of teenagers smoked cigarettes. By 2016, the number had decreased to 6%.

Some experts say that it is vaping that contributed to the decline. Young people prefer tasty flavors to the terrible tobacco taste. Plus, vaporizing leaves no tobacco smell on their fingers, hair, and clothes. So, it’s more discreet. A juul starter kit is quite popular among students. It looks like a computer flash drive. So, parents or teachers do not usually recognize an e-cig in it.   

Smoking Rates across the World

The United States has only 15.4% of the adult smokers. It has the second place in the rate of the countries with the least percentage of smoking population.

The first one is Sweden (14.5%), followed by Australia (16.6%), New Zealand (18.1%), and Canada (17.7%). 

However, the average national smoking rate has a noteworthy difference within the country. A bunch of 12 neighboring states undercuts this national achievement. Here they are: Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Missouri. 

This territory is called “Tobacco Nation”. The percentage of smokers here is higher than in the rest of the country and even in some heavily-dependent countries.

We’ve taken Tobacco Nation as an individual country and tried to put it in the list of the 10 countries with the highest percentage of smokers. The results are as follows:

  • Tobacco Nation takes the 4th place in the rating of youth cigarette smoking (12%). It is followed by Indonesia (20%), Mexico (15%) and Ukraine (15%). 
  • Tobacco Nation takes the 5th place in the rate of adult smoking (22%). It is followed by Indonesia (35%), Ukraine (29%), China (28%) and the Philippines (23%). 

A Call to Action

The World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to fighting the global tobacco epidemic. In 2008, the organization elaborated a practical, cost-effective way to reduce smoking rates. 

The 6 MPOWER measures are:

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protect people from tobacco consumption
  • Offer help to quitters
  • Warn about the harms of tobacco use
  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship
  • Raise taxes on tobacco.

The WHO believes that these steps can help to improve the situation in any country.  

How to Quit Smoking?

Understanding your smoking addiction is the first step to success. It’ll make you stronger. The addiction consists of 3 parts:

1. Addiction to nicotine

We’ve already talked about the effect of nicotine on the brain and the withdrawal systems that are the roadblocks to your smoke-free life. 

To overcome the need of nicotine, consider using nicotine replacement products or prescription medications. Patches, lozenges, and gums double your chances of quitting successfully as they can reduce some withdrawal symptoms. These items are available at pharmacies and some supermarkets and you don’t need a prescription to buy them. But be careful and follow the mode of administration. 

You may be wondering whether using nicotine replacement products is a safe practice. Well, it is much safer than smoking. Nicotine by itself has not been proven to provoke cancer or heart disease.

2. Habits

Smoking is a habit that is reinforced by our everyday activities. Some associate having a coffee break, talking on the phone, or playing poker with friends with smoking. When they appear in a triggering situation, they can’t resist the temptation to light up.

3. Emotions

Emotions also trigger smoking, especially negative ones. A cigarette is very likely to appear in your mouth when you’re bored, sad, nervous, or angry. 

As soon as you define the habits and emotions that encourage you to smoke, you can start developing a plan to deal with those. To get some simple strategies to overcome your smoking triggers, download the info sheet “Know your smoking triggers”

Vaping is a trendy way to quit smoking. People who love the process of smoking but care about their health choose a safer alternative. The Juul vapor products have many fans all over the world. They like their simple but stylish design. A juul review will help you understand more about vaporizing and decide whether it suits you.

If you feel that you need more help, download a personal supporter to your phone. Apps like Livestrong MyQuit Coach, Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation, or QuitNow! are designed to encourage people during their journey to a smoke-free life.  

All the apps developed for this purpose are pretty similar. They have a saving calculator to show you how much you save from not buying cigarettes. They show you in what ways your health improves over time. Some even have community message boards to search and give motivation. 

Quitting “cold turkey” is giving up smoking suddenly and without any medications. This method suits light smokers (up to 15 cigarettes per day) who experience mild withdrawal symptoms when they quit. However, coping with deep-rooted habits, smoking friends, and other triggers can still be a challenge. 

Final thoughts

The tobacco epidemic is one of the greatest public health threats. And you can make it a bit less by quitting and inspiring others to do the same thing. To succeed, you should develop your quit plan and maybe even use a mix of methods.