Around every second smoker would like to quit - this is how to stop smoking

Becoming a non-smoker is one of the most common New Year's resolutions

Over 25 percent of Germans still smoke occasionally or permanently, but almost every second smoker wants to quit. In spring 2017, the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA) commissioned a representative opinion poll on the subject of "smoking". This showed that 44 percent of all smokers want to quit. “Becoming a non-smoker is one of the most common New Year's resolutions. Good preparation makes it easier to exit, ”says Thomas Benkert, Vice President of the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists.

Smokers feel briefly awake and relaxed due to the consumption of cigarettes. The nicotine activates the reward center in the brain within a few seconds and a physical dependence sets in after a short time. Smoking poses a massive health hazard because it harms almost every human organ. This not only increases the risk of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease or a stroke, but also e.g. also for arterial calcification, erectile dysfunction or osteoporosis. There are also a number of other unpleasant consequences such as a restricted sense of smell and taste, dental problems, increased wrinkling and premature skin aging.

What is important before quitting?

According to the ABDA, before you plan to quit smoking, you should be clear about which habits you associate with smoking and how they can be replaced. When smoking is linked to certain situations, it helps to look for new rituals. Instead of the cigarette after eating, you can brush your teeth, for example. Many smokers also feel a strong need for a cigarette when drinking coffee. The ABDA advises that you switch to a different drink at first. In addition, you should no longer have cigarettes at hand. If nothing helps and the desire becomes too great, you should use the three "A tips":
1 .: Slide on - take ten deep breaths
2 .: Dodge - avoid areas where people smoke
3 .: Distracting - For example, calling someone or sucking a lollipop
More tips on quitting can be found here.

The inner attitude counts

Over-the-counter medicines with nicotine can help alleviate physical withdrawal symptoms. “Nicotine substitutes are only intended for a transitional period. They are usually not enough to say goodbye to the cigarette permanently, ”explains Benkert. If you want to stop, you have to change your inner attitude. Depending on the smoking behavior, various dosage forms such as chewing gum or plasters are recommended. Chewing gums would be particularly suitable for smokers who smoked on certain occasions, and nicotine patches would be more suitable for smokers who smoked regularly throughout the day. "If you want to quit smoking, you should take advantage of the preventive services offered by pharmacies near your home and seek individual advice," advises Benkert.

Nicotine works faster than an injection

The German Cancer Research Center (dkfz) reports that nicotine reaches the brain where it takes effect within a few seconds after inhalation. The effect is quicker than with an injection. In the brain, nicotine binds to the so-called acetylcholine receptors - cells that are specialized for certain biochemical signaling processes. For example, it stimulates an increase in dopamine production, which is associated with an immediate feeling of wellbeing or a feeling of calming down. In addition to stimulating this process in the so-called “reward center” of the brain, nicotine also has a stimulating effect on areas of the brain that are responsible for alertness and increasing the level of attention. As nicotine is broken down, a renewed desire to smoke develops in order to replenish the receptors in the brain. Without the regular dose of nicotine, physical withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness or irritability develop. To avoid these uncomfortable feelings, many smokers light the next cigarette. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Know About the Pathophysiology of Nicotine Withdrawal (January 2022).