Most people are aware that smoking is addictive, meaning when someone attempts to quit smoking they experience physical withdrawal sensations that can be deeply unpleasant. However, it is not actually the smoke itself that is addictive, but rather a chemical contained within: namely, nicotine. It is nicotine that smokers are addicted to, and it is nicotine withdrawal that makes quitting smoking so unpleasant.
To try and combat the difficulties of nicotine withdrawal, smokers are now offered a choice of nicotine replacement therapies. These therapies – referred to as NRTs, for ‘nicotine replacement therapy’ – are designed to give smokers a more realistic chance of quitting the habit, by replacing their nicotine ‘fix’ usually found in a cigarette with a less harmful way of ingesting nicotine. This can come in the form of slow-release patches that are applied to the skin, from inhaling nasal sprays or from chewing gum.
The theory is that if a smoker attempts to quit nicotine ‘cold turkey’ – i.e. ceasing to ingest it completely – they are less likely to succeed in their attempts to stop smoking. As the withdrawal from nicotine can be unpleasant, the idea is that by gradually reducing the amount of nicotine someone ingests rather than stopping it altogether allows people to gradually wean themselves off their reliance on this addictive chemical.
It would seem that it is effective. Studies have shown that smokers are up to three times more likely to quit if they use a form of NRT in the weeks after they stop smoking, so give it due consideration.
Giving advice to smokers on how best to smoke is something of an odd proposition, but it’s advice that could save lives. We all know the health and financial implications of smoking as a habit, and most non-smokers would prefer to see the habit removed from existence altogether, but the fact remains: people smoke. Therefore it is only sensible to offer advice to smokers in the hope that, while they are smoking, they are doing as little damage as possible to their health.
The absolute key issue of so-called ‘safe smoking’ (a juxtaposition in itself) is filters. In America, filters tend to be white to match the color of the cigarette tube itself – while in the UK and European, filters are usually orange. These sponge-like bits of kit are used to inhale tobacco through, and are essential to minimizing the already considerable risk of a smoking related illness.
Filters help to cut out the levels of the toxic chemicals that are contained in cigarette smoke. They can’t remove them entirely, but an effective filter can at least lessen the impact.
This becomes an issue if you prefer to self-roll your cigarettes. It is possible to buy filters, which you can insert in to a cigarette paper as you roll it, but these usually make cigarette rolling machines difficult to use. It may be more time consuming, but in terms of your health it is best to hand-roll cigarette papers and tobacco so you can insert a filter in to device yourself. In the long run, ignoring filters altogether will cost you more than a few extra minutes per cigarette.