How To Curb Smoking Addiction

Every cigarette pack sports the message that ‘Smoking Kills.’ However, people seem to pay no heed. Getting relief from smoking addiction is very difficult. Read on to find out the best ways you can quit smoking.

Based on our research work on human health at , smoking is one of the most dangerous and deadly addictions that people have incurred over the years. Sadly, roughly 1 billion people in the world are smokers, and according to our research, the smoke more than 6 trillion cigarettes every single year. People mostly do it for the nicotine which is present n the tobacco. It is the same thing as when people get addicted to drugs and alcohol and other such substances. However, the few people who do have the will power to quit smoking have to take professional help, because if they are around a cigarette, their resolve might melt.

Alternatives And treatment For Smoking Addiction

Our research team has discovered several effective means to curb the intake of these narcotics.

  • Acupuncture is one of the most useful and practical ways to help you reduce your addiction to smoking. In fact, it can also reduce all the other symptoms that you might experience as a result of smoking such as pain in your body, stress, and other physical and mental problems.
  • Herbal remedies are also an option for those looking for a new lease of life. They can try out various herb infused potions, teas, chewing gums and other things, which could give them the same effect of nicotine, without the harmful bits.
  • Hypnosis, which might sound unconventional but is actually quite effective. It puts you in a state of deep sleep, where you are able to hear your doctor say things to your like you don’t wan t to smoke, or that cigarettes repel you. 

The Psychological Effects Of Cigarette Addiction

Cigarette smoking is certainly injurious to the health. But this refers to the physical as well as mental health. Read on to find out more.

People are addicted to cigarettes mainly because of their addiction to nicotine, and their involuntary dependence on it. It is unfortunate to note that 1 billion people in the world are chain smokers. The list of harmful effects that cigarettes have on humans is endless. However, most of the lists claim that it leads to lung cancer, and other cancers, which is completely true. However, the effect of cigarettes is more than just physically. It is not only harmful for the body, but also terrible for the mind as well. The psychological effects of smoking cigarettes are discussed as follows.

Cigarettes and your mind

We at have found out during our research work that the psychological effects of getting addicted to cigarettes and nicotine is perhaps more immediate and more harmful than the physical effects. These include things like-

  • Withdrawal is one of the main effects of smoking cigarettes. It is not only social withdrawal, but also personal withdrawal as well.
  • Another important mental and psychological effect of smoking cigarettes is that you lose your sense of independence. Dependence on nicotine makes one weak.
  • The feeling of dependence on this foreign substance makes one irritable, stressed and often leads to other things such as depression and panic attacks.

There are several ways in which one can deal with this problem. However, the most important thing which is required is will power, without which none of the treatment methods are likely to take effect, no matter how effective they are. 

Alternative therapies for smoking cessation

There is never a bad time to stop smoking because your lungs will immediately begin to repair the damage the cigarette smoking has caused. Smoking cessation decreases the risk for lung cancer and other cancers, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular diseases, and chronic lung diseases.

 Natural approaches to smoking cessation adapted from an Eastern perspective can help to curb the cravings and assist in overcoming addiction.These include acupuncture, herbal therapy and hypnosis.

Acupuncture’s origin is embedded among traditional Chinese medicinal concepts,the acupuncture needles used are usually hair-thin, and they are inserted into various points in the ear where they remain for about 20 minutes. For help in between sessions, many acupuncturists provide tiny balls that are taped with invisible tape to the ear. When a craving for cigarettes hits, the smoker is instructed to press gently on the ball, which stimulates the acupuncture point.

Herbal support is designed to aid in tissue repair caused by dryness and degradation, as well as withdrawals that lead to emotional unrest, irritability, and nicotine cravings.

One of the most common herbal remedies used to control cravings is green tea. The tea keeps the system flooded with elements that are thought to prevent the urge to smoke.

The herb lobelia has been promoted to help people fight the effects of nicotine withdrawal and is found in many anti-smoking products. The active ingredient in lobelia, lobeline, is thought to have similar actions on the body as nicotine.Lobelia tea is often used in combination with green tea to assist during the detoxification period. Lobelia is a toxic herb, and should not be used unless under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

Ginseng has been shown to prevent the nicotine-induced release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal remedies in the world today and is believed to restore and enhance normal well-being.A teaspoon of ginseng powder added to your breakfast cereal or morning health shake should help alleviate the number of cravings.

Licorice is also an antismoking aid.You can keep a stick of licorice root handy and suck on it in place of a cigarette. It works by helping to satisfy the oral cravings people who are addicted to cigarettes.

As one of the best dietary sources of dopamine, fava beans might help alleviate nicotine cravings. Scientists showed that within the brain the    area which plays an important role in emotions, is affected by dopamine. Dopamine is linked to the euphoria created by nicotine. Bupropion is an expensive drug, a dopamine-enhancer, which approval for quit smoking. Fava beans with similar activity might be cheaper, safer and more effective.

Valerian is one of the premier sedative herbs used to aid people with anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Valerian is clearly one of the herbs of choice in smoking cessation to deal with the issues of insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.


St. John’s Wort is effective for addressing symptoms of anxiety, depression, nervousness, and insomnia. St. John’s Wort is uniquely formulated to help smokers “kick the habit.”  It helps quench the desire for tobacco, stimulates circulation and respiration, expels phlegm, calms the nerves, and relieves withdrawal symptoms.  
Researchers suspect that St. John’s Wort might help restore the balance of the neurotransmitter serotonin and dopamine during the time when smokers have their first craving of the day.  This would help them replace the morning coffee and cigarette with a hearty breakfast.

Hypnosis is another natural therapy for smoking cessation.Hypnotherapy works by putting you in a deep, relaxed state where your mind is more open to suggestion. At this point your hypnotherapist will look to change your thought patterns by making suggestions such as 'I do not want a cigarette' or 'I am repelled by the smell of cigarette smoke'. For many people, just one session is enough to quit smoking however some may benefit from a follow-up session.

Hypnosis, in general, does not work for everyone. About one in four people are not able to be hypnotized. When successful, the intensity of hypnosis can vary from person to person.

Avoiding cigarettes and cigarette smoke in the first place is the first line of defense, so if you can quit you may be saving your own life and the lives you love. In the meantime, give your body a fighting chance with some of nature's boosters.

Smoking and natural disasters: Christchurch residents increase tobacco consumption post-earthquake

The prevalence of smoking in Christchurch, New Zealand, increased following the 2010 earthquake, according to a new study.

The results of the study will be presented today (4 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna.

The 7.1-magnitude Christchurch earthquake, and subsequent aftershocks, have caused a huge amount of damage and dramatically changed the social, working and living conditions for residents in the city.

To investigate the effects of the disaster on smoking levels, researchers from the Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand, carried out interviews with 1,001 residents 15 months after the first earthquake. Participants were asked about their smoking habits before and after the earthquake.

The results showed that prior to the earthquake in August 2010, 319 people were not smoking at this time. Of this group, 76 people had smoked at least once after the earthquake, with 29 people from this group having more than 100 cigarettes since September 2010.

Of the 273 people who were smoking in August 2010, 93 had increased their consumption of tobacco. 53 people in this group attributed this increase to the earthquake and the subsequent changes in lifestyle.

Professor Lutz Beckert, from the Canterbury District Health Board, said: "Increased levels of smoking were found in Christchurch residents after the earthquake. 28% of people who were not smoking prior to the earthquake picked up the habit following the quakes. This suggests that exposure to trauma, such as a natural disaster, can prompt people to start smoking as they believe it is a valid way to deal with their anxiety over their experiences and coping for changes in lifestyle.

"It is important for healthcare professionals to be aware of this increased risk in the aftermath of a disaster, such as the Christchurch earthquake, so that they can be ready to provide the necessary support to residents before they turn to cigarettes."

Plain packaging reduces the appeal of smoking

 — While Australia has recently passed legislation to ban logos from cigarette packages and to make plain packaging mandatory, other countries are still considering whether or not to take similar measures. New research published in Biomed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health provides a report on the appeal of plain cigarette packs, compared to branded packs, among women in Brazil, and finds that plain packs reduce the appeal of their contents.

Tobacco use is responsible for 5.4 million deaths every year across the world and is a leading cause of preventable death. Like many other countries, Brazil has prohibited most forms of tobacco advertising, but has not addressed the issue of marketing by tobacco companies via the cigarette pack itself.

Research suggests that many brands appear to specifically target young women by use of 'feminine' colored packs, fruit flavorings, or by suggestive terms such as 'slim' or 'superslim'. Scientists from Canada, the US, and Brazil collaborated on this online study of 640 young Brazilian women to see if these cigarettes had the same appeal when presented in plain packaging (but still with the brand name and description on them). As a final test, the women were able to choose which they would have preferred as a free gift, one of the plain or branded packs (although there was never any intension for the packs to be sent out).

Dr David Hammond from the University of Waterloo, Canada, who led this study explained, "The women in this study rated branded packs as more appealing, more stylish and sophisticated than the plain packs. They also thought that cigarettes in branded packs would be better tasting and smoother. Removal of all description from the packs, leaving only the brand, further reduced their appeal. In the pack offer test, participants were three times more likely to choose the branded pack as a free gift."

The results from this study, the first to look at the effect of plain cigarette packaging on smoking in Latin America, backs up research in other countries, which has found that plain packaging makes cigarettes less appealing to young people.

Christine White from the University of Waterloo, Canada, concluded, "Our results suggest that plain packaging and the removal of brand descriptors are likely to reduce the appeal of smoking for youth and young adults. Overall, these findings support the recommendations for plain packaging in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."

Journal Reference:

  1. Christine M White, David Hammond, James F Thrasher, Geoffrey T Fong. The potential impact of plain packaging of cigarette products among Brazilian young women: an experimental study. BMC Public Health, 2012; 12 (1): 737 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-737

Prenatal maternal smoking associated with increased risk of adolescent obesity

 Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking appears associated with an increased risk for adolescent obesity, and is possibly related to subtle structural variations in the brain that create a preference for eating fatty foods, according to a report published Online First by Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA Network publication.

"Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for obesity, but the underlying mechanisms are not known," the authors write as background information. "Preference for fatty foods, regulated in part by the brain reward system, may contribute to the development of obesity."

Amirreza Haghighi, M.D., of the Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Canada, and colleagues, studied 378 adolescents age 13 to 19 years who were recruited through high schools in one region ofQuebec,Canada, as part of the ongoing Saguenay Youth Study. Participants were grouped as exposed to maternal smoking (n=180) or nonexposed to maternal smoking (n=198) and participants in each group were matched at recruitment by maternal education and participant's school attendance to minimize confounding influence of socioeconomic status (SES), and did not differ by sex, age, puberty stage or height.

The authors defined exposed as having a mother who smoked more than one cigarette a day during the second trimester of pregnancy, and nonexposed as having a mother who did not smoke one year before (and throughout) the pregnancy.

Exposed versus nonexposed participants weighed less at birth and were breastfed for shorter periods of time. At the time of analysis, exposed participants had a marginally higher body weight and BMI, and a significantly higher total body fat compared with nonexposed participants. These differences persisted after adjustment for age, sex, and height (when appropriate), and were still significant when adjusting for additional variables frequently associated with maternal smoking during pregnancy (i.e., lower birth weight, shorter duration [or lack of] breastfeeding, and lower SES).

Exposed versus nonexposed participants also exhibited a significantly lower volume of the amygdala (part of the brain that plays a role in processing emotions and storing memories), and the authors found that, consistent with its possible role in limiting fat intake, amygdala volume correlated inversely with fat intake.

"Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking may promote obesity by enhancing dietary preference for fat, and this effect may be mediated in part through subtle structural variations in the amygdala," the authors conclude.

Journal Reference:

  1. Haghighi A, Schwartz DH, Abrahamowicz M, et al. Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Cigarette Smoking, Amygdala Volume, and Fat Intake in Adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2012; DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2012.1101

Second-hand smoking affects neurodevelopment in babies


A new study shows that newborns that have been exposed to nicotine from both active and passive smoking mothers show poor physiological, sensory, motor and attention responses. (Credit: Image courtesy of Plataforma SINC)

A new study shows that newborns that have been exposed to cigarette smoke from both active and passive smoking mothers show poor physiological, sensory, motor and attention responses.

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to many different problems in infants like learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and even obesity. However, although the pediatric and obstetric disorders linked to tobacco during this stage are well defined, the effects on neonatal behaviour have not yet been studied in depth.

A new study headed by experts at the Behaviour Evaluation and Measurement Research Centre (CRAMC) of the Rovira i Virgili University and published in the journal Early Human Development goes further and analyses the effects of passive smoking during pregnancy on the newborn.

The scientists evaluated the behaviour of 282 healthy newborns using the Neonatal Behavioural Evaluation Scale. This allows for interaction with the newborn in order to evaluate its behaviour and responses between 48 and 72 hours after birth.

From those mothers studied, 22% smoked during pregnancy and about 6% were exposed only to second-hand smoke. Out of the smoking mothers, 12.4% had between 1 and 5 cigarettes a day; 6.7% had between 6 and 10 a day; and 2.8% had between 10 and 15 a day. None of them smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day.

"Newborns who have had intrauterine exposure to cigarette smoke, whether in an active or passive way, show signs of being more affected in terms of their neurobehavioural development. This could be an indicator of pathologies, independently of sociodemographic, obstetric and pediatric factors," as explained by Josefa Canals and Carmen Hernández, the lead authors of the study.

The results reveal that those born to smoking and passive smoking mothers score low in their ability to inhibit stimuli that could alter the central nervous system. Furthermore, children of passive smoking mothers have poor motor development and those of smoking mothers have less ability to regulate behaviour and response in physiological, sensor, motor and attention terms.

"Health professionals should encourage future mothers and their families to eliminate or reduce tobacco consumption," states Canals, who outlines the importance of informing mothers on the effects of involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke in order to prevent direct damage to the fetus and infant development.

Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy is one of the biggest yet changeable causes of illness and death for both mother and infant. Nonetheless, epidemiological studies show that between 11% and 30% of pregnant women smoke or are passively exposed to tobacco smoke.

When a pregnant woman smokes, nicotine concentrations in the fetus reach more than 15% of that of the mother. In Spain, 43.5% of women between 25 and 44 years of age smoke but this percentage during pregnancy falls to approximately 26.6%.

"However, although women tend to reduce their normal tobacco consumption when falling pregnant, the key is to study the effects of exposure to small amounts of smoke on fetal development," conclude Canals and Hernández.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carmen Hernández-Martínez, Victoria Arija Val, Joaquín Escribano Subías, Josefa Canals Sans. A longitudinal study on the effects of maternal smoking and secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy on neonatal neurobehavior. Early Human Development, 2012; 88 (6): 403 DOI: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.10.004

Rating films with smoking 'R' will cut smoking onset by teens, experts say

New research from Norris Cotton Cancer Center estimates, for the first time, the impact of an R rating for movie smoking. James Sargent, MD, co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, emphasizes that an R rating for any film showing smoking could substantially reduce smoking onset in U.S. adolescents — an effect size similar to making all parents maximally authoritative in their parenting, Sargent says.

"Smoking is a killer. Its connection to cancer, heart attacks, and chronic lung disease is beyond doubt. Kids start to smoke before they're old enough to think about the risks; after starting they rapidly become addicted and then regret it. Hollywood plays a role by making smoking look really good," says Sargent. "By eliminating smoking in movies marketed to youth, an R rating for smoking would dramatically reduce exposure and lower adolescent smoking by as much as one-fifth."

The study, "Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking", enrolled a total 6,522 U.S. adolescents in a longitudinal survey conducted at eight-month intervals. Movie smoking exposure (MSE) was estimated from 532 recent hit movies, categorized into three of the ratings brackets used by the Motion Picture Association of America to rate films by content — G/PG, PG-13, and R. Median MSE from PG-13 movies was approximately three times higher than median MSE from R-rated films but their relation to smoking was essentially the same. The investigators were able to show that adolescent smoking would be reduced by 18 percent if smoking in PG-13 movies was largely eliminated, all else being equal.

"The equivalent effect of PG-13-rated and R-rated MSE suggests it is the movie smoking that prompts adolescents to smoke, not other characteristics of R-rated movies or adolescents drawn to them," the study concludes.

"We're just asking the movie industry to take smoking as seriously as they take profanity when applying the R rating," comments Sargent, who is also professor of pediatrics at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "The benefit to society in terms of reduced healthcare costs and higher quality of life is almost incalculable."

The research was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (grant CA077026) and the American Legacy Foundation. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Journal Reference:

  1. James D. Sargent, Susanne Tanski, and Mike Stoolmiller. Influence of Motion Picture Rating on Adolescent Response to Movie Smoking. Pediatrics, July 9, 2012 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-1787

Graphic warning labels improve smokers' recall of warning and health risks related to smoking

— In a first of its kind study in the U.S., researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that the addition of graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging can improve smokers' recall of the warning and health risks associated with smoking. The new findings are published online-first in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In past studies in Europe and Canada, graphic warning labels have proven to be effective in eliciting negative responses to smoking, increasing reported intention to quit smoking in smokers, and modifying beliefs about smoking dangers. However, these previous research results have generally been conducted using large, population-based studies that could be confounded by concurrent tax increases or anti-smoking media campaigns that coincide with the introduction of new warning labels.

"An important first step in evaluating the true efficacy of the warning labels is to demonstrate if smokers can correctly recall its content or message," said Andrew A. Strasser, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychiatry at Penn and lead author of the new study. "Based on this new research, we now have a better understanding of two important questions about how U.S. smokers view graphic warning labels: do smokers get the message and how do they get the message."

In the study, 200 current smokers were randomized to view either a text-only warning label advertisement, which was unaltered and utilized the Surgeon General's warning and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testing information that has appeared on cigarette advertisements since 1985; or a graphic warning label version that contained a graphic image (depicting a hospitalized patient on a ventilator) and a health warning with larger text, similar to what has been proposed by the FDA to be adopted in the U.S.

In order to gauge how the participants viewed the layout of the advertisements, the research team utilized sophisticated eye-tracking technology. With this equipment, they were able to measure dwell time (total time viewing various parts of the ad, including the text or graphic warning), time to first viewing of portions of the ad to assess how attention is drawn, and fixations or the number of times they viewed each area of the ad (including the text or graphic warning). After reading the ads, each study participant also had to rewrite the warning label text to demonstrate their recall of the information.

The researchers found a significant difference in percentage correct recall of the warning label between those in the text-only versus graphic warning label condition, 50 percent vs. 83 percent. In addition, the quicker a smoker looked at the large text in the graphic warning, and the longer they viewed the graphic image, the more likely they were to recall the information correctly.

The researchers say that the new data demonstrates that drawing attention to the warning label can improve recall of health relevant information, which may extend to improving risk perception of smoking. Additionally, attracting attention to the warning before viewing the advertisement body may change the framing of the message in the advertisement body, causing viewers to approach it with greater caution. Finally, time to first viewing has practical application to real-world settings where people may allocate only a few seconds to a print advertisement. Further study on the size, font, color, and location of text may identify the most effective way to draw attention.

"In addition to showing the value of adding a graphic warning label, this research also provides valuable insight into how the warning labels may be effective, which may serve to create more effective warning labels in the future," said Dr. Strasser. "We're hopeful that once the graphic warning labels are implemented, we will be able to make great strides in helping people to be better informed about their risks, and to convince them to quit smoking."

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act mandated the FDA to require graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. Originally mandated to appear on cigarette packages in September 2012, the implementation of these warning labels has been held up in court.

Strasser and colleagues note that the current study was designed to gauge short-term recall of the graphic warning information and that additional research addressing long-term recall and behavior changes are currently underway at Penn.

The research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (62622), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (R01-120594), the NCI Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR P20-CA095856), and the National Institutes of Health (P50-CA143187).


Second-hand smoke affects bladder function in children, study suggests

NewsPsychology (June 7, 2012) — According to the Environmental Protection Agency, parents are responsible for 90 percent of children’s exposure to environmental (second-hand) tobacco smoke. Children with mothers who smoke are at even higher-risk for developing health disorders. In a presentation at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting, physicians at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital showed that second-hand cigarette smoke was associated with moderate to severe irritative bladder symptoms in children.

“Our research shows that exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke increases the risk of severe urinary disorders in children, that may otherwise be reduced or even prevented,” said Joseph G. Barone, MD, an expert pediatric urologist, associate professor of surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and surgeon-in-chief of Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. “Our results emphasize the importance of smoking cessation for parents. Pediatricians and family physicians are urged to discuss with parents opportunities that are available to quit smoking.”

The study included children aged 4 through 17 who sought care of a pediatric urologist for irritative bladder storage symptoms including urinary urgency, increased urinary frequency and incontinence. 28 percent of children in the study were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke. More than half of the children in the study had moderate to severe symptoms, 50 percent of which were exposed to cigarette smoke within a car and 23 percent of which had mothers who smoked. The presentation noted that symptom severity increased with greater exposure to second-hand smoke; in children aged 4 through 10, the increase in severe urinary symptoms was significant.

“Cigarette smoke is an environmental toxin and dangerous to children’s health — particularly hazardous to very young and pre-pubescent children,” said Dr. Barone. “Parents should make a concerted effort to reduce their child’s exposure to smoke in confined places, especially in the home and in cars. Quitting smoking is the healthiest option for children.”

The pediatric urology program, overseen by Dr. Barone, at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was ranked 35th in the nation in the 2012-13 U.S. News & World Report ranking of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals released on June 5.

The research was presented by Kelly Johnson, MD, chief resident of urology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The data is considered preliminary and awaiting publication.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, via Newswise.

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