Have you ever found yourself using the ember of a cigarette you just finished to light the next one? Did the process go on and on until several sticks or a whole pack was done with? Well, chances are high you are a chain smoker.
Chain-smoking is a common addiction where individuals smoke relatively constantly. The term would still apply to those consuming many cigars and pipes. Some people smoke while taking alcoholic beverages or sniffing cocaine, which results in extreme addiction.
Smoking begins as a subtle activity, never to be anticipated to turn into a hazardous habit. For some people, it’s some sort of status symbol; to others, the best Icebreaker to pleasant talks. Give it a couple of months and you can’t get a rest until the cigarette pack is empty.
How smoking becomes an addiction
Nicotine. That’s the reason every smoker gets hooked. Nicotine floods the brain’s reward center with dopamine (often called the “happy hormone”). It brings pleasure and reduces feelings of anxiety and sadness.
According to a memoir of a chain smoker for 40 years, nicotine should be classified as a dangerous drug. Dip a pin in small amounts of pure nicotine and stab a dog. It should be dead in a few seconds, adds Syed Bux, a retired Pakistan journalist. This shows just how lethal nicotine is.
Horrors of chain-smoking
Smoking is harmful to your health. The stark health warning labels are written on the packs to help you avoid overindulgence. Compulsive chain-smoking can result in the following dangers:
- Lung cancer-87% of lung cancer deaths is linked to excessive smoking
- Pulmonary disease-all that smoke that goes into your lungs makes breathing challenging leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Heart disease
- Diabetes-especially type 2
- Muscular degeneration
- High blood pressure
- Declining respiratory conditions
- Fertility issues and impotence
- Heart attacks and many more problems.
Ways to stop chain-smoking
If you are used to firing one cigarette after the other, quitting can feel really unfair, unnecessary, and discomforting. The journey to stopping this behavior is more about building strong willpower. Here are invaluable tips on how to stop chain-smoking:
Stay clear of triggers
The truth is, every smoker can pinpoint trigger situations. For some it’s after an argument with a spouse, spending time with a fellow smoker, smelling cigarette smoke, attending a party, or stressful situations.
The first step to transformation is being aware of all the possible triggers and trying hard to avoid them. Don’t attend alcohol parties if you know you are likely to smoke. Avoid a fellow smoker if you know catching up with them will compel you to puff some. Whenever a new trigger surfaces, register it and be ready to fight it.
An idle mind is…yes, yes. A workshop for all manner of evils. Always find something to do like exercise, a hobby, or take a walk. Here’s a list of productive websites you can visit when feeling bored.
Keep a diary
There’s a great saying in Shane Parrish’s The Great Mental Models book- “a man with the fewest blind spots wins.” The point is, if you keep track of your progress, it is easy to edit yourself and see how far your progress stretches. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall back into our own addiction when we fail to see even the slightest improvement.
e-cigs also called vapes can be a great way to tone down on smoking toxicity. They deliver a fair amount of nicotine but without harmful substances like carbon monoxide and tar. Understand this; e-cigarettes are not entirely risk-free. It’s just that they have low toxicity which could help lengthen your lifespan.
It’s hard for chain smokers to go cold turkey on cigarettes. You must have a plan that involves when to smoke, how many you’ll have, and by what date you hope to stop smoking completely.
Go for NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
As we said before, nicotine is the sole reason you find cigarettes hard to part with. That is why it’s mostly impossible for chain smokers to dive into the deep end and stop smoking instantly. The craving will kick in and you’ll find yourself looking for a pack of smokes.
The best approach to recovery might involve NRT. They have small amounts of nicotine to excite you but without tar and carbon monoxide. These nicotine replacements come in many forms from tablets, spays to chewing gums so you can pick what you like. Treatments can last anywhere from 8-12 weeks.
Note: talk to a healthcare professional before starting nicotine replacement therapy.
Here’s some cold hard truth; drunkards, chain smokers, cocaine addicts, and other substance abusers; at some far corner of their mind, they know they are on a narrow dark path to destruction. Some are even fully aware of the dangers and in some minute way, they cry for help.
The point is, if someone hasn’t offered to help, you should come out about your need for assistance. Ask fellow smokers to do it away from you. Talk to the understanding members of your family to hold your hand on your road to recovery. If that doesn’t work, seek the help of healthcare professionals, advisors, and coaches.
Closing the curtains
It’s hard to stop smoking, but it is not impossible. Word of advice; don’t go hard on yourself if after a day or two you smoke a couple. This is a habit that needs time, patience, and resilience.
Also, when quitting, don’t act like you are up in arms with your bad habit. Rather, take it as a chance to keep testing your willpower. Keep watching your urge to smoke fade hour after hour, day by day. With time, the smell of tobacco will repulse you. Check out our article on what to do when dealing with addiction. It’s got a lot of good stuff you could use.
Whenever you feel like failing, remember the good words from Socrates, nothing is as strong as human determination. Keep up the good fight.