Tobacco or Nicotiana is a native plant of North America that was cultivated for its leaves, which when cured, were used for smoking, chewing and snuff. It has been around for centuries and early civilisations used it in many different ways – from medicinally, for ailments from halitosis to corns; to narcotically, to induce visions during solemn tribal rites.
With the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, smoking tobacco remained a luxury until 1856, when cigarettes found their first world market. A machine patented in 1880 mass-produced cigarettes and by 1900, the modern cigarette was ready to tighten its grip on world society. However, it wasn’t popular with females until 1939, when glorifying stars smoking helped create a “sophisticated” image and huge advertising budgets promoted cigarettes as an aid to remaining slim.
So, why do people around the world still smoke tobacco? What induces them to continue with a habit that is known to be death-dealing and responsible for lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema, among others? Worldwide, smoking is reported to have “wiped out more people than all the wars of this century”.
The hard fact is that nicotine creates a state of drug dependency, requiring regular, daily fixes. In fact, a smoker experiences some 200 successive nicotine fixes by the time he has finished his first packet of cigarettes! Not only is nicotine addictive, it is also habit-forming, so that certain situations can trigger the desire for a cigarette. About 90% of smokers either have tried to quit or want to quit, and most are sorry they ever took it up, and warn their offspring.
How to break the habit: Remember that smoking can kill but it is a preventable cause of death – for you to kick the habit, you personally must reverse the process that hooked you. “The decision has to be made deep inside. Once this decision is made, the biggest part of the battle is over”, says a medical journal. The major element in success will be your own willpower.
Understand your withdrawal pangs: Within 12 hours of your last cigarette, your heart and lungs begin to repair themselves, and carbon monoxide and nicotine levels drop fast. As your body heals, it hurts a little. Avoid self-pity and compromise, but have no doubt, you can kick the habit for good. You may feel irritable or short-tempered, but remember you will not be in great pain and you do not need a cigarette to steady your nerves. Just a little discomfort is the start of a healthier life, setting a good example, saving money, plus getting free from the mess, smell, inconvenience and slavery of the habit.
Give yourself that good feeling: Many people who were heavy smokers have successfully overcome the tobacco habit by temporarily smoking non-addictive, nicotine and tobacco-free herbal cigarettes, an alternative way to help smokers give up cigarettes completely in 21 days. I believe everyone can quit, if they really WANT to … good luck!