Who needs the patch or nicotine gum? New research shows that those who continue the breathing practiced by smokers have an easier time quitting.
When it comes to quitting cigarettes, the focus is
usually on the addictive properties of the nicotine and additives. We talk
about how to get past the cravings in order to kick the habit for good and how
to survive nicotine detox. What’s usually not discussed is another aspect of
smoking that may make quitting harder: the breathing.
You see, when smokers inhale, they breathe
differently from the rest of us. There’s a pattern that includes inhaling,
holding and then exhaling – all done in a rhythm that aids in relaxation.
Subtract the toxic smoke from the equation and it could be similar to the
calming breaths taken during a yoga class or meditation. When a smoker tries to
quit, they often use a patch to cut cravings and maybe chew gum to keep their
mouth busy, but they don’t compensate for the relaxation breathing that they’re
The nicotine may be to blame for the physical
addiction of smoking, but the breathing can be just as addictive. That means
when a smoker is suddenly missing it, the first sign of stress can send them
lighting up again.
Someone with a pack-a-day habit who takes approximately 10-12 drags from each of
those 20 cigarettes, breathes in and out 250 times in this relaxing pattern.
Researchers who have surveyed hundreds of ex-smokers found that at least half
of them realize, after going through the motions of breathing as if they were
having a cigarette, that it is a major component of the addiction.
This may be just one more
reason that smoking is so hard to give up. After all, breathing is linked to health and
engaging in a certain pattern of breathing can help you relax and handle
stress. Fortunately, smokers who give up cigarettes don’t need to give up this
stress-relieving effect. In fact, if smokers who are trying to quit would
practice the breathing minus the cigarette at regular intervals, they would
find quitting easier. For those seeking
a natural way to quit, this could be the answer. Plus, it may increase the
likelihood they stay smoke-free for good, since research shows that ex-smokers who
practice this breathing ritual on a regular basis are more likely to have long-term
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