The ultimate smoking alternative is quitting, it is not an easy option however. I have attempted to quit several times but I admit that I did not try very hard. One attempt involved hypnosis and this did not work at all for me. The hypnotist did manage to make smoking taste bad for a few days but I worked through it. Another attempt was with the use of nicotine gum. The gum took the edge of the craving but was not satisfying enough to replace a cigarette. The thing that worked for me was electronic cigarettes. I count this only as a partial quit because I still get my nicotine through a vapor but I don’t get any of the tobacco by-products, such as tar. The vapor has unknown health effects at this time but so far, studies seem to indicate that the vapor is significantly less dangerous than tobacco smoke.
Nicotine is said to alter the balance of two chemicals, dopamine and noradrenaline in your brain. Nicotine changes the levels of these chemicals in the brain and many smokers find this effect enjoyable. When you inhale the nicotine, it rushes to your brain, where it produces feelings of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. Many smokers enjoy the nicotine rush and become dependent on it. Other substances that may be added to the tobacco could also be addictive.
I have known former smokers who have successfully quit “cold turkey”, used nicotine gum or patches, received hypnosis treatment, have used self-hypnosis and affirmations or started with nicotine e cigs and scaled down the nicotine content over time to nothing. Whatever method the smoker used, it worked for him/her. The conclusion I have arrived at is that every person is different, with a different physiological and psychological makeup, so the successful smoking cessation method must match the individual. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another and it is a case of trial and error for the individual to find the successful method of quitting.
Some experts believe that nicotine is more addictive than heroin and cocaine, if this is true, then it is not surprising that it is so difficult for most people to quit smoking. I have known people who are occasional or social smokers, but they are few and far between.
Another factor to consider regarding smoking is the fact that companies are beginning to impose a substantial nicotine surcharge on the medical insurance of employees who smoke or use nicotine in any manner. It is not a good idea to assume that you will not be tested for nicotine and state that you do not use nicotine in order to avoid the surcharge because you face the possibility of being caught out and losing your medical coverage at a critical time for you. The only choice is to pay the surcharge if you are wise. I came across this issue once. The wording on the document was “are you a smoker”, I knew what they were up to, so I asked the benefits department if they counted vaping as smoking. Within a week, the wording on the document had been changed to “are you a nicotine user” and the surcharge was changed from a “tobacco surcharge” to a “nicotine surcharge”. This seems to be discrimination against smokers, and it is, but don’t worry, some other group is the next target, probably the overweight, just follow the money to ascertain the reason that these surcharges are appearing everywhere.
If you are considering quitting, good luck on finding the right method for you. I hope that you find your method fast, without wasting too much money on approaches that don’t work for you.