Soda Is Cigarettes: The Need for Clearer Villains
The first thing one needs to understand about smoking is that it’s not just a habit; it’s a way of life. Smoking is a powerful addiction, and while most smokers eventually give up their habit, others continue to smoke even after they quit completely. There are many reasons why some people may still smoke despite having given up the habit altogether (or have never smoked at all). Some people smoke because they enjoy the nicotine rush or simply out of habit.
Others smoke for social reasons such as being with friends or family members who do. Still others smoke to relieve stress, which can include anxiety related issues like panic attacks, insomnia, depression and other mood disorders.
There are also those who use tobacco products to self medicate their mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Tobacco products are often used as a last resort when other treatments have failed. While there is no doubt that these individuals deserve our sympathy, it would be wrong to assume that they are somehow “bad” or “broken.” They are human beings just like anyone else.
Tobacco companies market their product to certain groups of people based on how much money they make from selling it. The less money you make, the more likely that tobacco companies will market to you and encourage you to smoke or chew. This means if you’re a poor person, you’re more likely to start smoking or continue smoking.
The main thing that needs to change is public ignorance on the subject. Most people don’t understand how addictive tobacco can be or even why it is so dangerous. Tobacco companies won’t tell you that, and governments don’t seem interested in funding campaigns to increase awareness. If anything, governments want to increase the smoking age to twenty-one and ban flavored cigarettes.
It’s completely insane.
As we can see, there are a lot of factors that go into the use of tobacco. There are a lot of groups who have a stake in keeping it legal and profitable. If we really want to decrease the number of people who smoke and chew, we need to better educate the public on the dangers of tobacco in all forms.
Within the medical community, there is a growing awareness that depression and nicotine addiction have a reciprocal relationship. In other words, the more depressed you are, the more likely you are to smoke and the more you smoke, the more depressed you become. This is partly because nicotine causes an increase in dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects your ability to feel happy and enjoy things.
Nicotine actually works a little like adrenaline. If you’re in a life-threatening situation, your body releases a flood of adrenaline to give you the boost of energy you need to fight or run. When you’re in a stressful situation and your body releases extra dopamine, it can make you feel pretty good. That’s why some doctors believe that people self-medicate with tobacco products when they are feeling down.
If you struggle with depression, you probably know that it is not as simple as just “getting over it.” Many people have to deal with depression for years before they finally seek professional help. Even then, antidepressant medications usually take a few weeks before you begin to feel better.
Nicotine is an incredibly powerful drug, and it affects everyone differently. Quitting smoking or chewing can cause your body to go into nicotine withdrawal within a few hours. It’s similar to how your body reacts when you stop taking other drugs. Some of the feelings you may experience include:
Irritability and anxiety
Fortunately, all of these symptoms are only temporary if you get the proper treatment. These symptoms can increase in severity depending on how long you have been smoking.
Although you may experience some of these symptoms after one or two cigarettes the first time in a long while, don’t be alarmed. It’s not really “addiction” in the traditional sense. In medicine, we say that addiction is having a uncontrollable need for something combined with a tolerance to the substance and withdrawal if you don’t use it.
Most people who are addicted to smoking will tell you that they smoke because they like it, not because they have to. Many non-smokers will say that they could never smoke because they don’t like the way it smells, tastes, and it is harmful to their health.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as the patch or nicotine gum, work by gradually weening you off of nicotine without putting you through the terrible withdrawal symptoms. Many people start with these products when they’ve decided to give up smoking.
The nicotine inhaler looks and works a lot like an asthma inhaler. The nicotine is absorbed into the mouth in a liquid form and is much faster acting than the gum or patch.
Finally, there are drugs like Zyban or Wellbutrin that increase your level of dopamine in the brain. These drugs are usually used to treat depression, but they can also suppress your desire to smoke, and in some cases eliminate it altogether.
To learn more about quitting smoking, talk to your doctor and check out the following links:
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