It’s no secret that smoking is bad for our health, or that it is a viciously addictive habit – one which is undeniably difficult for anyone to break through sheer will power alone. It can be done, however, and there are many natural alternatives to nicotine gum that can aid you in this endeavour, which I will discuss at the end of this article.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us have no idea what’s actually inside of a cigarette. We know cigarettes are bad, and we know they contain tobacco. Some of us might even assume that it’s the tobacco itself which is the problem, but that’s simply not the case. There are approximately 4,000 different chemicals found in cigarettes, around 50 of which are proven to be carcinogenic.
It’s crazy to think that cigarettes were once marketed as healthy by doctors, and were prescribed as a means of helping people relax. It took many years and many lawsuits to prove that they were doing far more than people had bargained for. Since their introduction to the marketplace, they’ve been a catalyst for multiple diseases and a big contributor to millions of deaths worldwide.
If you don’t want to quit smoking, it’s better to at least find your own pure tobacco, devoid of all these chemicals, so you can roll your own cigarettes knowing exactly what you’re smoking.
The following chemicals are found inside of the average cigarette:
This is a known carcinogen and is associated with leukaemia. It’s also used as a solvent in fuel and can be found in rubber cement.
Formaldehyde is used as an embalming fluid and is known to cause respiratory problems, cancer, skin and stomach ailments, and much more. This is found within the smoke of the cigarette.
Commonly used as a toilet cleaner, ammonia is also often found in dry cleaning fluids and other cleaning products. By adding ammonia to the cigarette manufacturing process, however, ammonia helps convert bound nicotine molecules in tobacco smoke into free nicotine molecules, boosting its impact on the user significantly.
This is also a nail polish remover. It’s extremely flammable and is found in cigarette smoke.
Once inhaled, tar actually condenses in the lungs and approximately 70 percent of it is deposited there. It contributes to many lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to humans. It’s poison, and this is what causes cigarette addiction.
This is the stuff that comes out of your car exhaust fumes. You can’t taste it and you can’t smell it, but it’s the main gas produced by a lit cigarette.
Other chemicals found in cigarettes include: arsenic (aka rat poison); hydrogen cyanide, which was used in World War 2 in the gas chambers; DDT, which is a banned insecticide; butane (lighter fluid); sulphuric acid, which is used in car batteries; cadmium; maltitol, (a sweetener that’s not allowed in foods in the USA).
What Happens To Your Body After You Smoke Your Last Cigarette?
Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.
- 20 Minutes After Quitting
Your heart rate drops.
- 12 hours After Quitting
Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting
Your heart attack risk begins to drop.
Your lung function begins to improve.
- 1 to 9 Months After Quitting
Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
- 1 Year After Quitting
Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
- 5 Years After Quitting
Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s 5-15 years after quitting.
- 10 Years After Quitting
Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s.
Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.
- 15 Years After Quitting
Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.
Natural Alternatives To Help You Quit
There are many natural options when it comes to quitting. For example, a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, from researchers in the Department of Medicine at Srinakharinwirot University, tested how fresh lime performed against nicotine gum as a smoking cessation aid.
100 regular smokers entered into a six-month long randomized controlled trial, receiving either nicotine gum or fresh lime. The researchers used exhaled carbon monoxide to measure abstinence, and measured the severity of participants’ cravings using a visual analogue scale.
The results indicated that there was no significant difference in abstinence rates between the groups during weeks 9-12, although they did observe that “7-day point prevalence abstinence at week 4 of the fresh lime users was statistically significant lower than those using nicotine gum (38.3% vs. 58.5%; p = 0.04).” They also found fresh lime users tended to report more intense cravings than the nicotine gum group, but the number of cravings were found not to differ significantly between the groups. This is why effective, natural interventions for smoking cessation are so needed today and why we are excited to report on a new study involving a solution that can be found not at your local pharmacy, but at your local grocer’s fruit stand.
The report did conclude that “fresh lime can be used effectively as a smoking cessation aid.”
Additional evidence-based natural aids for smoking cessation include: (As pointed out by Greenmedinfo.com)
- Acupunture: Acupuncture treatment ameliorated the smoking withdrawal symptoms as well as the selective attention to smoking-related visual cues in smokers.
- Exercise: Five minutes of moderate intensity exercise is associated with a short-term reduction in desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms.[v] [vi]
- Hypnosis: Hypnosis combined with nicotine patches compares favorably to standard behavioral counseling for smoking cessation.[vii] In a meta-analysis of 59 studies hypnosis was judged to be partially efficacious in the treatment of smoking cessation.[viii]
- Black Pepper: Inhalation of vapor from black pepper reduces smoking withdrawal symptoms.[ix]
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness-based interventions reduce the urge to smoke in college student smokers.[x]
- Self-Massage: Smoking cravings are reduced by self-massage.[xi]
- Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola rosea has a therapeutic effect in the treatment of smoking cessation.[xii]
- St. John’s Wort: There is preclinical evidence that St. John’s wort is therapeutic in nicotine addiction.[xiii] [xiv] [Note: St. John’s wort can interact with a wide range of medications, and should be used under the guidance of a licensed health professional]
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