Finally quit smoking? How to make it!

Woman lighting a cigarette

Did you know that smokers die ten years earlier on average than non-smokers?? Read here how you can give up smoking.

Smoking is biggest risk factor for vascular disease and heart attack

You want to protect yourself from a heart attack? This is hardly more effective than quitting smoking. Even if many smokers often do not want to admit it: Of all the risk factors for vascular diseases and heart attacks, smoking has the greatest significance and is thus even more dangerous than high blood pressure , diabetes mellitus , lipometabolic disorders and obesity . But how to get out of the habit? And is it worth it at all – after decades of cigarette consumption??

Quitting smoking always pays off!

Our body is a little marvel – especially when it comes to recovering! Because even stubborn smokers who have had a decades-long cigarette career benefit from quitting smoking. For example, their risk of dying from a heart attack drops by almost half after just five years. Abstaining from nicotine from the age of 60 statistically extends life by three years. From the age of 50 it is six and from 40 even about nine years of life. The lungs can also breathe a sigh of relief: just three months after quitting, lung capacity can increase by up to 30 percent.

Become a non-smoker – but how?

You want to finally quit smoking for the sake of your health? Perhaps you have already tried several? Then you know that good intentions alone are often not enough. For many, switching to e-cigarettes seems like a viable alternative. Based on current research, the German Cancer Research Center states that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. But this does not make them healthy by any means. Nicotine is also inhaled with most e-cigarettes – and this is addictive and promotes the growth of existing tumors. In addition, nicotine is suspected of causing cancer. In addition, the liquids and aerosol of some e-cigarettes contain cancer-causing substances. One study, for example, showed that when smokers switch to e-cigarettes, the detectable concentration of harmful substances such as tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines in urine and saliva is reduced. But the nicotine concentration remains the same 1 . Instead of switching to e-cigarettes, it is therefore more advisable to say goodbye to smoking altogether.

E-cigarettes: The difference between vaporizing and heating

For consumers, the market for cigarette alternatives has now become quite confusing with ever new products. Often the different systems are all lumped together and called e-cigarette. There are significant differences not only in the technology but also in the ingredients, which can also have different effects on health. These are the three main groups.

Vaporizers: In the vaporizers, a battery-powered heating element ensures that a liquid (the so-called liquid), is heated. This produces the typical vapor, which is then inhaled through a mouthpiece. These are actually the typical e-cigarettes. The liquids come in different flavors with and without nicotine content. In direct comparison with conventional cigarettes, the aerosols released by vaporizing contain fewer carcinogenic substances. But vaporizing can produce other, equally harmful breakdown products – u.a. due to additives in the liquids. A study also provides evidence that vaporizing could adversely alter oral flora 2 . Most importantly, many consumers of e-cigarettes additionally continue to smoke regular cigarettes. The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) estimates that almost 90 percent of smokers quit smoking. According to the DKFZ, however, it is precisely dual consumption that increases the toxic burden.

Heaters: Tobacco is always used in this form, which is often referred to as a hermaphrodite cigarette. But it is not burned (otherwise at about 800 degrees), but heated electrically – at about 300-350 degrees. To do this, the most commonly used devices place a ready-made tobacco stick in a holding device. The resulting vapor is absorbed from the mouthpiece and inhaled. Again, studies show that there are noticeably fewer carcinogens in the vapor, such as aldehydes and benzene. Nevertheless, researchers are skeptical whether a lower health risk can really be assumed. It remains to be seen whether z.B. Pollutants are released from the plastic filters or other metal and plastic parts of the heater. The effects of vapor on lung tissue are also still being studied.

Shisha: The currently popular again hookahs can be used with and without tobacco. When tobacco is used, again, it is not burned directly as with a cigarette. Glowing charcoal (or an electric heat source) above it causes the moist tobacco to carbonize at low temperatures. The smoke is then sucked through water and inhaled. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) classifies due to the emerging toxic and carcinogenic substances in the smoke z.B. Shisha smoking to be considered as dangerous as cigarette use.

New treatment guideline for smoking cessation

In spring 2021, the treatment guideline for smoking cessation was updated – among other things, with a view to behavioral therapy, cigarette alternatives and new medications that can facilitate cessation. It summarizes how doctors and psychotherapists can help smokers to take the step away from the cigarette. A rejection is given to e-cigarettes: They should not be offered to reduce cigarette consumption. Nicotine replacement therapy (chewing gum, inhalers, lozenges, nasal or oral sprays and patches) should be offered for withdrawal treatment and to prevent relapses. Medications with Bupropion or Vareniclin are to be offered alternatively to the nicotine replacement therapy. Newly mentioned is the active ingredient cytisine. It can be offered for tobacco cessation, taking into account possible risks, if other approved forms of therapy have not been successful. 3

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