Tobacco addiction has been a part of my life, off and on, since I was a teenager. When I first started smoking I thought – “well, if I’m going to have a nasty habit, I better smoke the highest quality and most expensive cigarettes I can find.” Which, to my adolescent mind meant Galoise!
Since then I would smoke whatever was handy – even half-burnt butts out of the ashtray. Yeah, disgusting, I know. When my habit was at its height I was smoking Virgina Slims with the errant belief that smoking a skinny cigarette would keep me skinny.
The psychology of addiction is complex and powerful – many of my friends who have quit went through many years of on-again off-again smoking, quitting cold-turkey (some with success, others not so much), trying hypnotism, patches, homeopathics, smokeless tobacco, herbal cigarettes, and giving up altogether.
I told a friend last week who claimed to be a dyed-in-the-wool lifetime smoker: “Never give up.” I am not claiming to have the cure-all for quitting tobacco, but for those of you who struggle with nicotine addiction, for your families and friends…I wanted to offer one more tool in your “quitters” kit.
My Quitter’s Blend incorporates three simple herbs: mullein, mugwort and lobelia. Mullein is traditionally smoked for relief from bronchitis and deep lung congestion. Mugwort is anti-microbial and anti-viral, can be made into smudge sticks and is burned for moxa treatment (holding heated herbs above acupressure points to activate the chi). Lobelia is also known as “Indian Tobacco” and has similar effects to nicotine – relaxing, calming, and dilates the lungs allowing for a deeper, more satisfying breath.
The lucky testers for my Quitter’s Blend all agree that it is totally smokeable (the essential oils in the mugwort keep it burning smoothly) that the mullein is helping to clean out their lungs and the small amount of lobelia is just enough to give a lasting nicotine-esque satisfaction, without the jitters and cravings. Because large amounts of lobelia can have similar side-effects to nicotine such as nausea and dizziness, I recommend no more than four “Quitter’s Doobies” or fresh bowls of my Quitter’s blend within a 24 hour period.
Also, it is a good idea to use it for a few weeks, and then take a week off to allow the system to normalize and see if a reduced nicotine intake is really holding as part of your new lifestyle. Any substance that is combusted and produces smoke that is subsequently inhaled (intentionally or not) leaves particulates in the lungs. These particulates will accumulate and can lead to congestion, increased risk for lung infections and reduced resistance to bronchitis, pneumonia and developing certain cancers.
The Quitter’s Blend is not meant to be a lifetime substitute for smoking cigarettes, rather it will help you wean off of nicotine when combined with other therapies like acupuncture, hypnotism, and meditation. In fact, as I was slowly replacing my cigarettes with Quitter’s Doobies, I needed them less and less. Then one day, without even thinking about it, it occurred to me that I hadn’t had anything to smoke that whole day.
Other helpful allies:
Homeopathic Tabacum 200c can be taken when you feel the cravings coming on. Take one pillule under the tongue, take a few deep breaths while it dissolves. Occupy yourself with something else for a few minutes and then check in – is the craving still there?
I have found Tabacum to work for some, and not at all for others. When Tabacum isn’t effective, homeopathic Lobelia is the next remedy of choice. Look for 30c at your local health food store, or contact your friendly local homeopath for a higher potency. Lobelia may also be effective in quieting chronic smokers cough, helping you sleep more soundly through the night, and reducing back pain.
Ten reasons to quit smoking today:
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Reduce risk of lung cancer
- Save money!!! 1 pack / day x $7/pack x 30 days a month = $2,520/year up in smoke!
- For my kids – for their lung health, so they don’t pick up the habit…
- Healthier teeth – ALL commercial cigarettes contain SUGAR!
- Taste buds – smoking tobacco burns out your taste buds…most anyone who quits successfully will tell you, “Wow! I can taste food again…”
- Smoking accelerates mental decline (ie, higher incidence of Alzheimer’s and Dementia among smokers)
- There is also a positive correlation between auto-immune disorders and smoking, as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Look younger! Smoking accelerates ageing, increases wrinkles and grey hairs. Quit smoking so your body can have more clean oxygen and energy to repair itself.
- Erectile dysfunction and impotence – need I say more.
Three Things to do Besides Smoking:
Next time you have a smoke break, instead of lighting up and slumping down in a cold lonely corner…or being just another smoker in the crowd, try these strategies to break the habit. I personally used ALL of these strategies when I was trying to quit…sometimes they worked, and sometimes I came back for a smoke, anyway. Eventually, however – I was able to transcend the social and emotional aspects of smoking tobacco that I enjoyed so much: being part of the cool crowd, re-enforcing my rebel identity, having an excuse just to get some fresh air and some quiet time outside and alone (especially for stressed out mamas who need a break), and in a way, the ten minutes it took me to smoke a whole cigarette became a way for me to center, to re-ground. So I invented these other ways to accomplish the same things, like go for a walk, lie down, take deep breaths…and:
- Smoke a Quitter’s Doobie! As an added bonus, your friends will ask you what is that and can I have one, too?
- Carry incense or a smudge stick to light – smudge yourself in healing energy and cleanse your aura
- Invent a dialogue with your cigarette, aka Spirit Tobacco – maybe it goes something like this: “I recognize your power, Spirit Tobacco, and I honor and respect it.” Then unwrap the cigarette and sprinkle the tobacco into the wind, “Thank you for your gifts, may your medicine carry wisdom and blessings to all.” (Actually, I didn’t make this up. It’s a real Shamanic technique/ritual, also known as making “tobacco ties”.)
More to come on my journey toward being tobacco free! Have you recently quit smoking? What worked for you? Please like, comment and share!