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It happens every year. Friends, colleagues, and clients ask for help, 'What can I do to quit smoking? Cold turkey didn't work and I'm scared I'll put on weight. Help!'#157; I'm happy to lend any support I can.

It happens every year. Friends, colleagues, and clients ask for help, "What can I do to quit smoking? Cold turkey didn't work and I'm scared I'll put on weight. Help!" I'm happy to lend any support I can.

Quitting smoking means breaking two habits: the physical addiction of holding something in your hand, and the nicotine addiction. The physical addiction can be eased by always having something to hold or chew on, such as a straw or licorice root. The second part of this equation is much more difficult.

Why is Nicotine so Addictive and Harmful?

Nicotine is just one of the 400 different chemicals inhaled from a burning cigarette. Nicotine increases the brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, all of which increase the feeling of pleasure. While this sounds appealing, it also increases blood pressure, heart rate, and negatively affects many vital nutrients that protect the body from disease.

When the body has become used to the effects of nicotine, if the supply is removed, the body produces some powerful physical symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, headaches, sleeplessness, loss of and/or increased appetite, and lack of concentration. No wonder it's difficult to quit smoking! Fortunately, some excellent natural products are available at your health food store to reduce cravings and handle the symptoms of withdrawal.

An Old But Effective Folk Remedy

Dissolve 1 Tbsp (15 mL) baking soda in 2 oz (50 mL) water and sip over the next 12 hours.

A Few Solutions

L-theanine, a natural substance found in green tea, helps produce GABA (Gamma amino butyric acid), which can control cravings and create a feeling of well-being and relaxation.

Another product uses acupressure to control taste buds by the careful placement of a magnetic patch on the wrist. The patch releases a patented combination of herbs into the skin that also act upon the taste buds, causing cigarettes to taste disgusting.

Homeopathic Help

Homeopathic formulas can also help you stop smoking. When fresh air in the daytime makes you feel better, but cravings are bad at night, use Nicotiana tabacum. Switch to Nux vomica when irritability is present and worse in the morning. Although Staphysagria works effectively in women to reduce cravings, it also helps men, particularly those who are sensitive about what others say about them. Lobelia inflata, which contains the alkaloid lobeline, is similar to nicotine but much milder. It makes nicotine taste terrible when smoked.

Keep vials of these homeopathic remedies in your pocket and use three 6C pills hourly until the discomfort improves, then four times daily if necessary.

Quitting smoking is very difficult. Tell your friends and family you may need extra love and encouragement and promise you'll treat them with the money saved from not smoking. Then celebrate your accomplishment. You deserve it!

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