Smoking is probably the next cause that kills more people in the world. First of all, we must differentiate between proximate cause and ultimate cause. For example, the proximate cause would be smoking, alcohol, ultra-processed food, etc., and the ultimate cause would be associated diseases such as cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Continuing with tobacco, according to the CDC, in the United States alone, tobacco kills almost half a million people a year; and it seems that this number is increasing.
Tobacco is very reinforcing by positive and negative reinforcement. It generates a certain pleasure, concentration, that is, it is procognitive. It has a cognitively, hedonically excitatory thing about it, and it relieves anxiety. It works by positive and negative reinforcement on both sides.
We are not addicted to the substance, but to the behavior of administering the substance. For example, animals develop more addiction to a substance if they have to emit a behavior to obtain the substance, rather than if it is administered intravenously. Addiction is the compulsion to do something to get something, not just the chemical..
Tobacco produces many phasic peaks (it is administered many times by puffs). There is a greater number of stimuli and responses, there is greater repetition, etc.
Despite this, here are some suggestions to help you quit.
As I have commented before, smoking, acts a lot for positive reinforcement, that is, the person who smokes does so because he likes it (unlike other drugs that only act by negative reinforcement). The person has to find some type of stimulus that generates some type of comfort, hedonically speaking, such as, for example, drink coffee in social situations.
Also as I have commented previously, smoking also acts a lot as a negative reinforcement, that is, the person who smokes, He does it to relieve stress or some kind of aversive situation that he has in his day to day. What you have to do is find some kind of habit that also acts by negative reinforcement, such as going for a walk or buying a punching bag to be able to de-stress with it.
Have low calorie foods on hand
There is a thing called oral anxiety, which is neither more nor less the need to have something in the mouth in order to activate the ventral striatum, which is our reward system. Instead of doing with tobacco, you can use sugar-free candies or some kind of sweetened drink. Currently, some flavor sachets are sold that, when put into the water, modify their flavor, making it more palatable to drink water and without calories.
When we talk about having a good sleep qualityWe do not mean to sleep 7-8 hours, but to that, when we wake up, we are totally rested, regardless of the hours slept. There are terms like “long sleepers” and “short sleepers” which refer to the number of hours they need to sleep to be fully recovered. Sleeping properly will make our prefrontal cortex be able to inhibit the impulses of our brain when you want to smoke. A tired prefrontal cortex will not be able to properly inhibit impulses.
You don’t want to quit in a day
All processes, and especially quitting smoking, they require time. There will be people who are capable of leaving it in one day, it is true, but we are not all the same. Being aware that we all need a time and a process to quit a habit will make us more self-aware and empower us to quit smoking. If instead of smoking a whole pack, we subtract one or two cigarettes a week, it will be a very good evolution.
Talk to people who have quit
Surrounding yourself with people who have left you and talking to them can be very positive. The experiences of others usually generate a certain motivation in people. Even so, it must be remembered that quitting smoking should not depend solely on motivation. If there is no motivation, you have to do it without it in order to achieve good health.
Hire a professional
Talking to a psychologist may even be necessary to help you start and finish the process. Of course, the person He is not going to give you the magic formula to stop smoking, but it can help you get to know yourself and can give you the necessary tools for that purpose. In the end, the work is not going to be done by anyone other than yourself; And while the process may be difficult, it will be worth it.
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