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Smoking, like any other addiction has its backdoors that keep the addict from cleaning up. Here is a list of 5 common ones. Spot what you’ve got and work with it. It’s never too late, says Nutritionist Vaishali Mathuria.

1. Smoking has become a way to calm myself. How can I let it go?

It may ‘seem’ like smoking calms you but it’s really just a trick of the mind. The calming effects of smoking are due to the tranquilising effects of nicotine. Habitual smoking makes the body get accustomed to certain levels of nicotine. That’s why when you don’t smoke for a while, your body starts going into withdrawal and the urge to smoke increases. This can be interpreted by a smoker as stress or restlessness. The minute you start smoking again, the nicotine level in the body rises and the restlessness disappears. This makes you believe that smoking has a calming effect. In reality, all that smoking is doing is relieving your nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which wouldn’t exist at all if you didn’t smoke!

2. I’m not a heavy smoker. In fact, I only smoke Lights.

Lights are cigarettes that are marketed as having a lighter, less pronounced flavour with lower levels of tar, nicotine or other chemicals in them. But this is just marketing gimmickry. It has been scientifically proven that a low-tar, low-nicotine cigarette does not reduce the health risks of smoking or lower the smoker’s exposure to carcinogens.

3. Smoking helps me maintain my weight. If I quit smoking, I’ll gain it all back.

Nicotine in cigarettes slightly raises the body’s metabolic rate, causing it to burn up calories a little faster. This leads to weight loss. Many people use smoking as a diet aid, not realizing the potentially deadly side effects of smoking which are far more damaging than the side effects of being overweight. While it is true that quitting smoking will result in you gaining a little bit of weight, it’s nothing some exercise and right eating can’t fix. More about this in the next post!

4. I’ve been smoking for so long, the harm is already done.

Nice try! But quitting smoking at any age can result in immediate positive health effects. This WebMD article quotes Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association as saying, “Your health will improve even if you quit at 70.”  Within just a couple of weeks, you will be able to breathe much better. You will notice major improvements in your sense of taste and smell. The article also states that within a year you would have lowered your risk of having a heart attack by 50%!

5. I tried quitting once and failed miserably. What’s the point in trying again?

Many smokers have tried quitting and failed at least once. But what’s important to realize is that even if you’ve not succeeded, every such experience has given you a chance to learn things about yourself that will help you one day quit for good. For example, you may have found that quitting cold turkey instantly backfires on you. Or trying to quit during last year’s performance review week was not the best idea. There are smokers out there who quit forever. You can be one of them.

In next week’s post, I’ll share some diet tips that will make it easier for you to transition into a smoking-free lifestyle.

You may also like: Got Smokers’ Denial? A Pinprick For Your Nicotine Bubble

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