After reading this article, you will not want to smoke cigarettes anymore.
Every year, tobacco and the resulting diseases kill around ten thousands of Europeans and require at least one central hospital’s workload.
The harms of smoking are taught to us from a young age, but why can it be really difficult to let go of the grip of addiction, and how does quitting smoking actually show up in the body after a month or 10 years?
Smoking causes comprehensive harm to the body
Tobacco contains more than 5,000 different compounds, 60 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking shortens life by an average of 8–10 years, and studies continue to discover new side effects, even though the already existing list covers almost the entire body.
In short, smoking ages you, deteriorates your skin, weakens your condition and blood circulation considerably.
Smokers age prematurely
“Smoker’s face” may be a familiar term to many. Smoking is one of the biggest factors that predisposes the skin to premature aging and wrinkling. Wrinkles form especially around the eyes and in the area of the upper lip, and they are deeper compared to the wrinkles of non-smokers.
Nicotine constricts the skin’s surface blood vessels, which means it weakens blood circulation and the supply of nutrients. As a result, the skin dries out, thins and turns gray, and is unable to regenerate in the normal way, for example in the case of various ulcers.
Quitting smoking blood pressure and its decrease is one of the extremely positive side effects of quitting smoking.
In addition, tobacco makes hair brittle and dry, and stains nails and teeth.
Smoking exposes you to smoldering oral diseases for a long time
The effects of smoking on oral health can be seen in other places than the color of the teeth and bad breath.
The blood circulation in the gums weakens, which is why one of the first symptoms of oral diseases, i.e. bleeding from the gums, can go unnoticed.
Common diseases among smokers are, for example, gingivitis and the often resulting periodontitis, i.e. a disease of the attachment tissue of the teeth. Periodontitis destroys the gum tissue around the teeth and the jawbone, and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Fungal infections and discoloration, such as dark staining or leukoplakia, i.e. pale spots, can appear on the mucous membranes. Such changes can be precursors to oral cancer.
Oral cancer mainly refers to cancers of the tongue, lips and oral cavity, but also other malignant tumors of the oral region, such as salivary gland cancers.
Tobacco causes a multiple risk for respiratory diseases and more than ten cancers around the body
Tobacco is the most common cause of long-term COPD, which includes exertional dyspnea, persistent cough, and recurrent bronchitis. The disease appears insidiously over time and weakens the oxygen supply. Almost all smokers suffer from chronic bronchitis, commonly known as whooping cough.
Every third cancer and also every third cancer death is caused by smoking. In addition to oral cancers, smoking exposes you to more than ten different cancers around the body, such as:
- lung cancer
- laryngeal cancer
- bladder cancer
- skin cancer
- stomach and kidney cancers
- cervical cancer
- leukemia, i.e. blood cancer.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and in Finland up to 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important ways to prevent cancer.
Passive smoking exposes even small children to the harms of smoking
Smoking is not only an individual’s business, as it always causes health problems for the people around you as well. Cigarette smoke contains, for example, carbon monoxide, cyanide, mercury and radioactive substances.
In a smoky and poorly ventilated space, the concentration of chemicals in the breathing air can become so high that non-smokers exposed to the smoke suffer the same harm as people who smoke in the space.
During pregnancy, exposure to tobacco smoke, like direct smoking, can strongly affect the development of the fetus and cause various disorders and miscarriage.
When exposed to passive smoking as a fetus and after birth (for example at home), the child’s risk of falling ill with asthma, pneumonia and ear infections increases.
Cigarette smoke increases the possibility of impaired lung function and later cardiovascular diseases, as well as learning difficulties and ADHD syndrome.
In addition to the health risks, children may experience fear of their parents’ smoking as their awareness of its risks increases.
It is also more likely that the children of smoking parents will later become smokers themselves.
Different aspects of tobacco addiction have a strong hold on the smoker
There are many more health hazards of smoking, so you may wonder why anyone even smokes. However, smoking causes, for example, depression, which can take away all hope from quitting, and drive you to smoke more.
Quitting requires strong willpower and major lifestyle changes, which are not easy for many.
Tobacco contains strong physically addictive nicotine, which is an invigorating and stimulating substance. However, tobacco addiction also includes psychological, social and habit addiction.
In psychological addiction, smoking is used as a means of regulating emotions, and a person learns to react to different emotions, situations and places by smoking.
This can mean, for example, strengthening positive emotions or tolerating stress. Addiction arises when situations are repeated, when memory traces of this behavior remain in the brain.
For many, smoking is a social event where you can exchange information, release pressure and experience a sense of community.
Social addiction can start, for example, as a teenager, when you want to belong to a group. Even as an adult, social situations, such as parties or cigarette breaks from work, can maintain smoking, and many occasional smokers only smoke in certain situations.
When quitting, the smoker has to consider a new way of operating in these environments, which have previously, so to speak, demanded tobacco.
Habitual addiction arises from smoking and related activities, such as rolling a cigarette. Up to hundreds of memory traces can be created in the brain every day from the repeated movements of the smoker’s hands and mouth, and repeating them starts to produce a feeling of pleasure.
Quitting smoking is worth it – the benefits start already in the first days
Quitting smoking is a smart decision and will revolutionize your well-being.
First, it is absolutely important to make a mental decision to quit smoking.
Once the decision has been made, it is really important to use all possible help and support to benefit what is available.
Smoking causes severe adverse effects on the body, not to mention all the side effects smoking causes, e.g. poor health, smelly clothes, breath, yellow teeth, etc.
Once the mental decision to quit has been made, the next step is to get support and help to set a realistic goal.
Whether you quit smoking or some other harmful thing, the most effective style of all is to set yourself a goal and decide to stick to it 100%.
Quitting smoking symptoms
The symptoms of quitting smoking can seem scary at first, because at worst they cause physical nausea. However, you can alleviate the symptoms with your own posture and preparation.
The physical symptoms subside relatively quickly, after which the success of the task is often between the ears of the quitter, so to speak.
However, remember that quitting smoking at once may be successful for one person, but not for another. Quitting smoking without replacement therapy must always be evaluated on a personal level – only you know yourself best.
However, you should not be afraid if during the first few days you experience, for example:
…and sleep problems. When quitting smoking, fatigue is one of the most common symptoms that many people experience. Don’t worry, once you get over this, you’ll find you have more energy than ever before.
This is the momentary hard price that is definitely worth paying to get rid of smoking.
On the other hand, the benefits of quitting smoking grow day by day, so if you are mentally prepared for this, the process will get easier the more you let time pass.
When you listen to the experiences of quitting smoking, often the biggest single factor for success is the right attitude and a genuine desire to get rid of tobacco.
In addition to setting a goal, find a personal reason for quitting.
Are you perhaps getting older, your health is failing, your general well-being is bad?
Are you constantly feeling weak? Can’t do sports at all? Already out of breath when walking normally? At worst, have you had pneumonia a few times already?
These are great reasons to quit smoking. Tens of thousands of people before you have decided to quit smoking precisely for the reasons mentioned above. So should you.
How to stop smoking?
Quitting can seem difficult at the very beginning, so it’s good to know that already during the first days without smoking, big changes take place in the body from which you can draw motivation:
- Nicotine disappears from the body and the carbon dioxide concentration in the blood returns to normal.
- The heartbeat stabilizes, the blood pressure decreases and breathing becomes easier as the lungs are cleansed of mucus.
- The smell of hair and breath is freshened, and the senses of smell and taste improve considerably.
- After two weeks, the circulatory system and lungs work better, which increases physical performance.
- Within 1–3 months, the lung function is already significantly better and the cough and mucus production have eased.
Over time, other benefits of not smoking start to be seen and felt:
- Withdrawal symptoms ease and stress decreases.
- The body’s resistance improves.
- The quality of sleep improves and its quantity increases.
- The normal light color of the skin is restored. The rate of skin renewal normalizes, so that various ulcers heal faster and the risk of inflammation decreases.
- The normal color of the teeth and nails can be restored.
- The exposure of other people to tobacco smoke is reduced.
- Quitting smoking saves money and the environment.
Not smoking also significantly affects the treatment of many diseases and helps prevent them:
- Prescribed drugs work better.
- The symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases are alleviated.
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety can be alleviated in up to six months.
- Erectile dysfunction improves in every fourth person who quits smoking.
- The risk of a heart attack decreases in 1–2 years.
- The risk of coronary artery disease is halved in 3–6 years.
- Treatment results for oral diseases improve and the risk of oral cancer is halved in 5–10 years.
- The risk of lung cancer is halved in 10–15 years.
- A cancer patient’s prognosis improves as treatments become more effective. The risk of recurrence of some cancers decreases.
- COPD can be completely prevented by stopping smoking before the age of 30–40, and the progression of the disease slows down significantly for those already affected.
- Fertility improves and the chances of miscarriages and fetal development disorders decrease.
- The risk of developing memory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, decreases.
Not smoking has only good sides, so it’s worth considering the reasons for your own smoking.
Europeans try to quit smoking an average of 3-4 times before they are permanently successful.
The symptoms of quitting smoking and the first week after that are certainly the most difficult time for anyone, but good preparations help here too!
There are many ways and medicines to support quitting, and the most important thing is to find the ones that suit you.
The Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare THL has put together a comprehensive package to help you quit smoking, which contains many tips and support services if you are considering quitting. On THL’s website you can find e.g. smoking cessation drug info, which provides comprehensive information on alternative methods and products.
To stay on target, you have to find new joys and habits
In order for the decision to quit to stick, you must completely forget about smoking. Smoking is most commonly both nicotine addiction and habit addiction.
A smoker may know before lighting a cigarette that this will only make them feel bad, but do it anyway.
This is because addiction has developed and smoking has become routine. As routine as washing your hands regularly, eating food, brushing your teeth, etc.
Or you may experience a concentration disorder in the middle of the workday. Nothing comes of it, the frontal lobe is throbbing, the head is slowly starting to hurt. The general mood is restless and nervous. Everything is annoying. In this case, you are addicted to nicotine.
Quitting smoking also shows up in your wallet
Think about how much money you save. Cigarettes cost up to 12 euros per pack, and if you smoke a pack a day, that means +360 euros per month just for smoking.
In addition to this, your clothes and breath constantly smell bad and you have to pay indirect costs as well.
Compared to nicotine pouches, for example, if you use more than the average, i.e. a disc per day, you will only pay less than 150 euros for nicotine pouches every month… In other words, in addition to the health benefits, you will save more than 200 euros per month.
This means more than 2400 euros per year! This is done simply by switching from smoking to nicotine patches. Yes you can do it!
The benefits of quitting smoking are not limited to improving your own health (i.e. the most important thing), but at the same time, you also save a lot of money.
So what is the best substitute for tobacco?
The best thing is, of course, to stop smoking completely.
But as stated, it is never easy. In order to succeed in quitting smoking once and for sure, you should first get rid of either nicotine addiction or habit addiction.
A great substitute for this is nicotine pouches. Thousands of people have quit smoking with the help of nicotine pouches and improved their own well-being significantly.
A nicotine pouch is a pouch that contains only a small amount of nicotine and is placed under the upper lip. The purpose of the bag is to ease the pain of quitting smoking, and the nicotine is absorbed from the bag through the mucous membranes into the bloodstream.
Officially, nicotine pouches are specifically self-compensation drugs for smoking cessation.
The idea of the bag is to provide the body with so-called “satisfaction” from nicotine and tell the brain to turn off the command “Go smoke, your body needs it.”
The best thing is that nicotine pouches only contain nicotine in its purest form.
In addition to nicotine, the bags contain a minimal amount of raw materials. The ingredient list contains only mandatory fillers, flavorings and salt, etc.
Nicotine pouches are available on the internet and in Finnish supermarkets. The bags available on the Internet have a maximum nicotine strength of 4 mg and usually contain flavorings.
Finnish markets and e.g. The nicotine pouch available from R-kiosk is the well-known Zonnic. Zonnic is an odorless and tasteless very thin bag that is hardly felt anywhere.
Zonnic’s idea is to quench the craving for nicotine and it is available in 2 mg and 4 mg strengths.
Nicotine bags as a substitute for tobacco?
Nicotine bags can provide good help in dealing with addiction. Many people think that it is better to use a good-tasting, non-teeth-whitening nicotine pouch than a bad-smelling, yellowing teeth and clothes-ruining cigarette.
Nicotine bags are available in both mild and strong versions. To stop We always encourage, whatever the style.
You can order mild nicotine pouches completely legally in Finland, even without restrictions. The Finnish Customs has issued instructions from April 4, 2023, that you can order nicotine pouches completely freely without the supervision of the Customs.
The import regulations suddenly changed drastically, taking into account that before this date you could legally order only 4 mg nicotine sachets. The regulation itself was good, because basically we don’t recommend more than 4 mg nicotine bags to anyone.
Quitting smoking – frequently asked questions
>What happens when you stop smoking?
>Quitting smoking and the resulting benefits are visible almost immediately. Your heart rate stabilizes, your blood pressure decreases and your lungs begin to fill with clean air. After about 2 weeks after quitting smoking, your physical performance will increase significantly.
>What is the best way to quit smoking?
>There are not only physical but also mental obstacles to overcome when quitting smoking. However, the decision to quit should first be made on the mental side, after which you can temporarily try to curb nicotine addiction and its side symptoms with the help of nicotine pouches, for example.
>How long do the withdrawal symptoms last?
>Everyone experiences quitting smoking a little differently, for some there are no withdrawal symptoms at all, many find them very unpleasant. The most difficult thing is to quit often within 1-3 days, after which the importance of physical addiction decreases and we start to ask about the spiritual side.
>Why is it difficult to quit smoking?
>Tobacco has addictive ingredients such as nicotine, which makes it difficult on a physical level. Even the nasty habit formed by smoking is a mentally difficult threshold to cross, as many social situations in the life of a smoker revolve around tobacco.