Six steps for those who want to quit smoking

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According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills more than 8 million people a year. (Photo: Reproduction)

Not so long ago, smoking was considered legal. To be seen as someone cool, who followed trends, all you had to do was walk around with a cigarette between your fingers. At least that’s what the advertisements showed, which weren’t banned until the 2000s. Today, smoking is understood as a disease caused by chemical addiction to nicotine and, according to the World Health Organization health (WHO), tobacco kills more than 8 million people a year. year.

However, quitting smoking isn’t easy – although most smokers are aware of its harmful effects. Since it is an addiction, a series of measures are needed to combat it effectively. Below we list some of them.

change perspective

“For me, the first step to quitting smoking is to be absolutely sure that you want to do it. What changed that in me was the arrival of my first granddaughter, Maria Clara”, says Wal Marinho , 58, who has smoked since the age of 15. “Today, I can stay anywhere, even with people who smoke. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like it. C So it’s good to make sure you want to quit.

Dissociate the pleasure

Motivation is crucial, but it is necessary to create the conditions for people to do so. “That’s the key point,” says Jaqueline Scholz, cardiologist, director of the smoking treatment program at the Instituto do Coração (InCor) and creator of the smoking assistance program. In her method, she makes the patient smoke “punishment”. In other words, the patient can consume cigarettes whenever he wishes, but under certain conditions: he must be alone, looking at a wall, without a mobile phone, without food or drink.

“It’s about taking the whole storyline that the individual puts into that context and turning it into something even more enjoyable. This prepares you for a second moment of quitting, ”explains the doctor.

clear the way

There are those who can quit smoking suddenly and those who quit gradually, especially those with a high degree of addiction. Whichever method you choose, it’s a good idea to avoid triggers to reduce the risk of relapse.

Tell your friends and family, get rid of packages, and even consider giving up tobacco-related foods or drinks for a while, like coffee or beer. “This support network is very important for anyone who wants to quit. And if you speak of your will, everyone helps you. I even get people to cut down on their smoking, because they don’t smoke around me,” says Wal.

use substitutes

“Our brain is made up of billions of nerve cells, like neurons that communicate with each other thanks to the chemical elements that the brain produces itself (hormones, neurotransmitters). Nicotine stimulates the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects our mood and provides a feeling of pleasure and well-being,” explains psychologist and neuropsychologist Mariana Bertuani.

Thus, when a person stops smoking, he feels a lack and the brain, to compensate, produces norepinephrine, which increases irritability and nervousness. To reduce this crisis, chewing gum, nicotine patches or anti-smoking drugs are all indicated to relieve the uncontrollable urge to smoke. For many, the first week is the worst. But generally, this phase lasts from one and a half to three months.

take care of mental health

By playing on well-being, nicotine can exert an antidepressant or de-stressing function. Thus, throughout the process of quitting smoking, medical and psychotherapeutic help is essential. Other symptoms of withdrawal crisis are: dizziness, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating and headaches which affect mental health. In addition to anxiety which can lead to weight gain and, therefore, affect self-esteem.

Help can be found in private and public groups on the Internet, specialized programs and even in the Unified Health System (USS), with the National Tobacco Control Program and the Family Health Program.

Celebrate the small victories

Remember: reducing is already a victory. “You have to understand that there are years of behavior that people will have to change, they will reinvent their routine and create habits. It’s a very strong break and it must be valued”, encourages the psychologist. Take advantage of the savings from the money you used to spend on cigarettes and use it as an incentive to quit smoking by buying something new, taking a trip, or going out to dinner with a loved one to celebrate.

According to experts, there are significant changes in breathing and blood pressure as soon as someone decides to quit. Two days later, for example, the sense of smell perceives odors better and the palate tastes food better. “I didn’t feel like my house smelled of cigarettes. It’s really cool to feel fragrant all day and smell the house scents as well,” concludes Wal.