How to quit smoking in Jordan

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AMMAN — More than 8 out of 10 adult Jordanian men smoke cigarettes, according to a 2019 government study. But quitting the dangerous and inconvenient habit is possible. اضافة اعلان

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), smoking is responsible for cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. Most people know this — which is why 44.1 percent of Jordanian smokers have tried to quit.

Most smokers will tell you that quitting is no easy task. Jordan News sat down with pharmacist Dania Abu Hdaib from the Drug Center Pharmacy to talk about how you can quit smoking in Jordan.

Over the counter medication and aids

Currently in Jordan, Nicorette Gum is the most common over-the-counter supplement to quit smoking. Whenever you have a craving a cigarette, you simply pop in a piece of gum, give it a few chews until it tastes a bit spicy, and then tuck the gum into your gum line. Chewing every so often will reactivate the nicotine for a lasting effect.

Roughly two to three years ago, Jordan also had nicotine patches and additional cigarette filters. But recently, it has become harder to find the patches in pharmacies. The patches are an adhesive sticker that goes directly onto the skin of the arm and provides longer lasting nicotine to the body, effectively eliminating the cravings in the first place.

Alternatively, the filter is an orange piece of plastic that would be placed on the butt of the cigarette and would filter out many toxic substances including tar. The filter was not the best method for quitting though, because it still involved the act of smoking and was not able to remove a 100 percent of the toxins. Both of the products still exist but are less widely available and may be difficult to find.

Switching up your lifestyle

During Jordan News’ interview with pharmacist Hdaib, she could not stress enough the importance of lifestyle changes. Medication and aids can only go so far: Ultimately, quitting comes down to willpower because smoking is a habit. Just like any other habit, it will take about 21 days to break.

The main goal is to find alternative and healthier habits. Pharmacist Hdaib suggests activities such as running, sports, or even certain snacks like chocolates. The reason for this is that these activities release natural drugs in our body such as endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins help block the feeling of pain in our body naturally and dopamine is nicknamed the feel-good drug because it is the natural drug in our body that makes us feel euphoria.

Furthermore, Pharmacist Hdaib stated that all temptations of smoking should be removed. To many, these temptations come in the form of empty packs, lighters, or even ashtrays. Some also find that changing their routine helps. For example, if typically, you wake up to a cup of coffee and cigarette first thing in the morning, consider switching to a glass of juice because the morning coffee is associated with smoking.

Side effects of quitting

Those that have tried quitting or even gone long periods without smoking, such as during Ramadan, will tell you that quitting can exert physical and mental effects on your body. The most common side effects of quitting are headaches, hot flashes, fatigue, increased appetite causing weight gain, and general irritability. These side effects are the result of nicotine withdrawal and are the reason many find it difficult to quit.

Generally, some of the symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medication such as Panadol and some have found success in using nicotine replacement therapy such as Nicorette gum. Typically, the effects of nicotine withdrawal only last from between two and four days.

Improving your health

Quitting comes with numerous, proven health benefits. The most immediate improvements seen are to the lungs, of course. You will notice within a couple days how much easier to is to breathe. Other more subtle things, such as smells and tastes, will be enhanced. In the long term, the CDC claims that quitting reduces the risk for many adverse health effects, including poor reproductive health, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer. More importantly, quitting reduces the risk of premature death and can add as much as 10 years to life expectancy.

Quitting smoking is extremely difficult for many people, especially in Jordan, where smoking is entangled into many work, home, and social settings. Those who have tried to quit know how difficult the journey is. Find your reason to quit, whether it be for a loved one, job or even your own personal goal, said Hdaib. Reach out for help from friends and family but also your doctors and pharmacists. These are all people who have your best interest in mind and would like nothing more than to see you succeed.

CDC outline of health benefits to quitting smoking. (Photo: CDC)

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