When it comes to smoking, some people either love or hate it. There has always been a conflict of opinions about why some people love lighting up and others avoid it at all costs, but there's no escaping the fact that cigarettes are controversial.
Every smoker knows that their dependence on cigarettes might impact other areas of their life, including finances and social wellbeing. Even dating sites have an option that allows people to choose if they want to be contacted by smokers, which shows the impact it can have on your life.
So with all of that in mind, it's time to look at why people smoke and how quitting smoking can improve your life. Let's dive right in.
Smoking Is An AddictionJust like illegal drugs, food and alcohol, smoking is an addiction. When you inhale on your pipe or cigarette, your brain immediately releases more dopamine, making you feel happy.
Once that feeling wears off, you'll want to replicate it again and associate nicotine with pleasure. As the cycle continues, you'll find that your brain stops producing dopamine on its own, which makes you completely reliable on cigarettes.
When your body begins to build a tolerance, you'll need to increase your nicotine intake to release the same amount of dopamine, which means you'll smoke more, and the vicious cycle continues.
It Can Be a Habit
For many people, smoking can become a habit and plays an essential role in their day. It's hard to break habits, so if you're used to smoking a cigarette with your morning coffee, you'll find it difficult to stop.
Even something as small as smoking while you watch the news can become a habit. It makes it incredibly difficult for people to enjoy their daily activities when removing lighting up a cigarette from their routine.
Social Pressure Can Lead to Smoking
We've seen the scenario play out many times and know that the need to impress our peers can often lead to forming bad habits. If you're a fan of Friends, you might remember the episode where Rachel takes up smoking to impress her boss or may have experienced pressure from your friends to smoke.
While smoking is no longer regarded as cool, peer pressure and the desire to fit in with a particular social group might mean that you begin to smoke cigarettes at a young age. As the addiction grows, you'll find it incredibly difficult to quit.
Smoking is a Form of Self-Medicating
It's strange to think that with all of our technology, we're busier than ever. Rewind to a few decades ago, and most people would work a standard 9-5 job, go home, have dinner and maybe watch a bit of TV.
Today, we have a host of streaming apps and social media platforms to entertain us, and there's no need to go to the supermarket because we can have our groceries delivered. So why are people so busy?
Well, technology means we're part of the always-on culture, where the standard 9-5 has become a 24/7 job. Our phones tell us when we have email, and people expect you to be available at all times.
It's challenging, and higher stress levels mean people seek ways to calm themselves down. Smoking is a form of self-medication because it creates dopamine, which people associate with feeling happy and relaxed.
If you're used to lighting up when you smoke, you could be self-medicating.
Emotional TraumaPeople with mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), often find life more stressful. Busy schedules, a sense of isolation and dealing with medication requirements can strain all areas of that person's life.
While some people might turn to drugs or alcohol, others might find they smoke more than the average person. It's all about self-soothing, which can offer a short reward but won't do you any favours in the long term.
If you have a mental health condition, it's always best to seek professional help and explore other avenues of support, including counselling, forums and using mindfulness to improve your symptoms.
Is There An Alternative to Smoking?
For many people, the idea of quitting smoking fills them with horror. Whether it's a habit, a way of self-medicating or needing that dopamine hit, tobacco is an addictive substance, and many people find it's incredibly difficult to give up.
Similar to alcohol, cigarettes are everywhere. If you're trying to quit, something as small as walking into your local convenience shop can lead to a relapse. While cigarettes aren't as addictive as drugs like heroin and cocaine, it's readily available so people can find it more challenging to give up smoking for good.
Luckily, there are ways to quit smoking without feeling the adverse effects. Let's take a look at them.
NHS Smoking CessationThe NHS quit smoking programme is one of the most successful initiatives in the world. Smokers can access free support to give up cigarettes and will often have a choice of nicotine replacement therapies.
You can use nicotine patches, gum or inhalers to wean yourself off of cigarettes, but some people find they miss the hand to mouth action too much.
VapingVaping is essentially a much healthier way of smoking because it gives you a nicotine hit, with the tobacco flavour but none of the toxins and chemicals known to cause lung cancer.
While NHS therapies are doctor recommended, vaping provides a convenient and much healthier alternative to smoking, which is perfect if you've tried other treatment options before.
Better still, taking up vaping is much less expensive than funding a tobacco habit. The team at Vape Emporium has helped hundreds of customers adopt a healthier lifestyle through e-cigarettes.
Please feel free to explore our range of vape juices and contact our team if you'd like some advice on which vape kit and juices are suitable for your needs. Please feel free to get in touch, and we'll be happy to help.
Vaping can help you gradually reduce your nicotine intake without compromising on losing a sense of routine. While specialists may not say it's completely harmless, most will agree that it's much healthier than smoking and can save you a lot of money.