This may be because tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug.
It requires effort, disciple and sometimes a little help and extra effort to quit the addiction.
This is Anti-tobacco Month and World No Tobacco Day is on May 31. The annual campaign aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.
The Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) offers the following steps to help you stop smoking:
* Decide on a date to quit smoking and stick to it. Throw away all reminders of smoking - cigarette packets, ashtrays and lighters.
* Avoid smokers and triggers that may tempt you. Once you have started, the first two to three days are the most difficult. It usually becomes easier.
* Replace smoking with another activity. Here are five ways some use to help them resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when craving strikes, - not all good or scientifically proven:
1 Herbal cigarettes
The most common are clove cigarettes, which are 60% to 70% tobacco mixed with cloves and clove oils, additives and flavourings.
These often are marketed as safer than traditional cigarettes, but they produce tar - one of the main cancer- causing agents of regular cigarettes.
Studies show they have the same carcinogens found in regular cigarettes. Their second-hand smoke poses risks for the people close to the smoker. And because they are mostly tobacco, they also deliver nicotine and cause nicotine addiction.
The use of electronic cigarettes is gaining momentum in South Africa and it’s becoming a trend.
They convert a liquid into a vapour that is inhaled. Instead of tobacco, they use a liquid form of nicotine and other flavourings.
There is still controversy and debate about whether these vapour-containing devices should be used in smoke-free zones, as their safety is questioned.
3 Laser therapy
This uses low-intensity light or cold lasers to stimulate points on the body, similar to acupuncture. The aim of the light is to stimulate chemicals in the brain known as endorphins which imitate the “relaxing” effect nicotine has on the brain. However, there is not much research supporting the success of this alternative.
4 Cupping therapy
This ancient cupping therapy is used for many things, one of which is smoking cessation.
In cupping, cups are applied to intact or scarified skin to draw blood toward or through the skin.
Traditionally, cupping therapy has been practised in most cultures in one form or another and it could be used to help those who want to quit smoking.
While health practitioners are still debating whether it works for everyone, some studies suggest it may be worth a try.
5 Nicotine chewing gum
This is a type of gum that delivers nicotine to the body by delivering it to the bloodstream through absorption by the tissues of the mouth.
This gum can be used “on demand”, whenever you experience a nicotine craving.
You can also choose from various flavours, such as fruit and mint. It’s available in 2mg and 4mg strengths.
If you chew the gum too much, however, you may swallow some of the nicotine, which may be absorbed by the lining of your mouth.