Let’s be clear: quitting smoking is not easy. Nicotine addiction has been a health crisis recognized since the 1970s, and smoking tobacco has been a deeply entrenched habit in society for much longer. In North Carolina particularly, 16.5% of adults were found to smoke, 1% higher than the national rate of 15.5% in 2020.
However, we have also come a long way in producing alternatives and programs to ease this process. In fact, NCBI notes patterns of smoking cessation in the USA are showing a steady increase in longer-term cessations over the past 2 decades. As of 2020, more than three out of every five adults who were ever cigarette smokers have quit smoking.
Curious? Read on to discover how quitting smoking has become an easier attainable goal.
New detoxification techniques
When smoking cigarettes, nicotine gets absorbed into the bloodstream, which will get broken down by enzymes in the liver to cotinine. This is why it can take at least three months for the brain chemistry to return to normal, after the last cigarette.
During this period, the urge to return to smoking — or withdrawal symptoms — is the strongest. Detoxing one’s body helps ease and speed up this process, by flushing the body of the different chemicals.
Otherwise, there will always be the basics of supplementing your body with nutrition, to sweating via an infrared sauna or exercise. There are always new ways to detoxify one’s body, but it is important to listen to your body. Not all techniques will work for every individual.
More nicotine alternatives
While one can already feel the benefits of detoxing after a week, some may need those full three months or more. This is where nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes into play. ScienceDaily mentions NRT’s effectiveness to increase the chances of stopping smoking by 50% to 60%.
Some of the more well-known types of NRT include the gum, a pouch that is placed between the cheek and gum, and the topical nicotine patch. These can conveniently be found in drug stores, with Nicorette gum available over the counter. Otherwise, buying Zyn pouches online is another easy transaction that will deliver fresh pouches to your door within a few days.
These NRTs provide small and steady doses of nicotine into the body, which slowly weans the user off nicotine and increases the chances of long-term success. Even in the shorter term, however, quitting smoking can make simple aspects of your life better, including your breath. Here, the spit and stain-free nicotine pouches are a popular alternative. Nicotine pouches’ effects on the breath are far preferable to traditional cigarettes because how they contain zero tobacco — the primary reason for bad breath from smoking.
The different flavors also don’t hurt. Prilla’s nicotine pouches can have you switch flavor depending on the occasion, from coffee in the morning to peppermint before a date. Other products do this too, like Nicorette’s best-selling Fruit Chill for their Nicorette gum. Do your research beforehand to decide what type of NRT best suits your individual lifestyle.
Better support for quitting
Ultimately, the tobacco epidemic is a social problem that requires systemic solutions. CDC found that people are more likely to quit smoking successfully if they have access to FDA-approved cessation medications and counseling. At the moment, 50 states plus DC receive funding and technical support from the CDC to support comprehensive tobacco control efforts and quitlines.
North Carolina has long recognized this need, creating a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training and having signed service agreements to provide eight weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy to residents of Appalachia and Caldwell. The North Carolina quitline also perseveres, providing free cessation services, including counseling and medication.
Quitting is indeed easier than before, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard work. Remember to be patient with the process. Bumps on the road are always inevitable but the road will still lead forward. For that, there is no better time to start than today.