3 alternatives to smoking
We all know that smoking is bad for us.
You only have to watch the television for 30 minutes before you're presented with an advert discouraging you from smoking. It only takes a quick walk outside before you see a billboard warning you of the negative effects of tobacco.
Although smoking gives you a few minutes of relief, it is a short-term resolution to your stress and anxiety, and the negative health consequences associated with smoking cigarettes far outweigh the benefits.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
There are countless benefits to leaving cigarettes alone. Here are just some of the many amazing things you will experience when you quit smoking.
Enhanced Breathing Ability
One of the worst consequences of smoking is the negative effects it has on lung health.
The carcinogens in tobacco smoke cause inflammation in the lung tissue. Not only does this cause you to cough and wheeze, but it destroys the small air sacs in your lungs called the alveoli.
It’s through the alveolar wall that oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the red blood cells. Therefore, when the alveoli are destroyed, less oxygen can be transported around your body, and you may be left with permanent lung damage.
Smoking also reduces the number of cilia in your lungs and disrupts their function. Cilia are small finger-like hairs that are responsible for cleaning the lungs and removing pathogens or dirt. Fewer cilia result in your lungs being less able to clear out any unwanted material, reducing your ability to breathe properly and putting your lung health at risk.
Within just one month of quitting smoking, you will experience a noticeable decrease in coughing, wheezing, and mucus production.
Better Tooth and Gum Health
Smokers have 3-6 times increased risk of developing gum disease. They are also 3-6 times more likely to develop oral cancers.
The chemicals in tobacco smoke can affect the production of saliva in your mouth. This enables bacteria and plaque to build up more easily on your teeth and gums. If not removed, these plaques can build into calculus, a hard substance that is extremely difficult to remove.
Quitting smoking can, therefore, decrease the chances of calculus build-up, gum disease, and oral cancers. It can also decrease the yellow staining on your teeth that cigarettes can cause.
The breath of smokers is never pleasant, especially for those who don’t smoke themselves. The smell of tobacco smoke can linger for hours after just one cigarette. Smoking also dries out your mouth, and this is a common cause of halitosis.
However, as soon as you quit smoking, your breath can immediately start to smell better and your halitosis disappears.
Rejuvenated Sense of Taste and Smell
Some of the harmful chemicals in tobacco can reduce the function of your taste buds, which lessens your ability to smell and taste.
Luckily, this is reversible. Even just a few days after quitting smoking, you will start to notice that your sense of smell and your sense of taste is amplified.
Increased Energy Levels
The carcinogens in cigarette smoke compete with oxygen for space in your red blood cells. This can cause less oxygen to be transported to your muscles, making you feel tired and lethargic.
When you quit the cigarettes, your red blood cells are free to bind to oxygen and carry it around your body. In turn, you will feel energized and full of life!
Reduced Risk of Cancer
Around 9 in every 10 cases of lung cancer are associated with cigarette smoking. Unfortunately, many of these cases result in fatalities.
Harmful toxins in cigarette smoke can enter your cells and damage your DNA. If this damage occurs in certain parts of your genes, it can cause your cells to lose the ability to regulate their cell cycles. This can lead to uncontrollable cell growth, which ultimately leads to cancer.
Smoking just one cigarette a day can significantly increase your risk of developing lung cancer; a light smoker goes through an average of 10 cigarettes a day.
The earlier you quit smoking, the lower your risk of developing lung cancer.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Smoking can increase the build-up of plaques in your blood vessels. This narrows the blood vessel lumen and leads to an increase in blood pressure. Chronically high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease.
Chemicals in cigarette smoke can also cause the blood to thicken, increasing the risk of blood clots in the vessels. Large blood clots can get stuck in the major vessels of the heart, leading to a heart attack.
Those who smoke are more likely to struggle with their fertility. If you’re a male, smoking may affect your sperm count, quality, and motility. If you’re a female, smoking can cause the destruction of your eggs.
Quitting smoking is one of the best natural methods to enhance your fertility. In fact, your chances of getting pregnant can double after quitting smoking.
3 of the Best Alternatives to Smoking
If you’re tried and failed multiple times to quit smoking, you might be feeling a little helpless. You’re in desperate need of an effective alternative to your much-needed cigarettes so you can finally stop this unhealthy habit.
Here are three of the best healthy and natural alternatives to smoking that will make it so much easier to quit.
Consider Using Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy and essential oils may help you quit smoking. They have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, which are two common reasons why people often end up reaching for cigarettes.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to activate your olfactory system, which can positively influence your limbic system. Your limbic system is responsible for regulating your hormones and emotions.
Depending on which plant the essential oils are extracted from, they each have unique properties and health benefits. They can certainly ease the stress, especially when going through a smoking cessation program and trying to ditch the habit.
Although there is no long-term evidence for the effectiveness of a vape pen that uses essential oils for smoking cessation, it’s worth giving them a try to see if they work for you. Make sure you always speak to a professional beforehand.
Use Quit Smoking Aids
There are several different types of natural quit smoking products that you can try.
One of the most common products is the nicotine patch, which is a small transdermal patch that gradually releases nicotine into the body through the skin. It acts as a form of nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking.
Many people avoid the nicotine patch as they claim that it contributes to nicotine addiction and puts you at risk of nicotine toxicity. They are great for some people, but may not be appropriate for others. If you want to try nicotine patches, it’s always best to speak to your doctor and get professional advice to determine what’s best for you.
Other natural quit smoking remedies include acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and herbal e-cigarettes.
Acupuncture involves inserting small, thin needles into the skin at specific pressure points. This may not work for everyone, but many people find it effective for smoking cessation.
Hypnotherapy is performed by a hypnotherapist who brings you into a trance-like state to connect with your inner thoughts and feelings. It is often used to help people overcome trauma and emotional distress, but may be effective for smoking cessation too.
Herbal e-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that provide a great alternative to conventional cigarettes. Instead of containing tobacco, the herbal e-cigarettes contain smoking herbs, which are less harmful to you as they contain less nicotine. They enable you to still have something in your hands without reaching for your usual cigarettes, making the process of quitting smoking a little easier.
Focus On Regular Exercise
Exercise is beneficial for everybody, but it can be especially helpful for those who are trying to quit smoking.
Exercise can keep you busy and provide a much-needed distraction. It’s perfect to help you overcome the withdrawal symptoms that come along with quitting smoking, such as anxiety and irritability.
If you’ve been smoking for years, it’s likely that your lung health has decreased. Focusing on a healthy exercise regime can help you to regain your pre-smoking lung function.
Exercise may also help to prevent you from finding other unhealthy coping mechanisms while trying to quit smoking. Often, people find themselves reaching for unhealthy snacks to replace their usual cigarette, but heading to the gym can prevent these unwanted cravings.
Better yet, if you’ve got a friend who’s also attempting to quit smoking, you can take them along to the gym with you to provide extra motivation and accountability.