If you’re a smoker you’ve probably tried to quit before, most
likely multiple times. There is lots of information online, the
problem is that the majority of it comes from 2 places – people
trying to sell you a product, and people with the best intentions
repeating the advice of people trying to sell you a product. Lets get
away from the b.s. A lot of what I'm about to tell you comes from peer reviewed scientific papers and you can look into it yourself if you're inclined to do so.
I’m going to break this down into 2 general
sections – physical and psychological effects.
Let’s start with
the physical and those dreaded withdrawal symptoms. Most of them are
not actually caused by nicotine withdrawal, but by caffeine. (coffee,
tea, coke etc) There has been a number of studies done on the
combination of caffeine and nicotine. There’s really only 2 effects
you need to know about though.
First, in the
presence of nicotine, caffeine exhibits a shorter half-life and
faster metabolism. Put simply, caffeine is 2 -3 times less effective
when you smoke. (That’s why smokers tend to drink more coffee than non
smokers) Now you need to look at it from the reverse. Stopping
smoking without changing your caffeine intake is the same as drinking
2 -3 times the amount of caffeine as you currently do. (For example
if you normally drink 5 cups of coffee, it would be like suddenly
drinking 10 -15 cups) Excessive caffeine like that can cause
headaches, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, crawling skin, and
more. In extreme cases you can overdose and make yourself physically
sick, have chest pains etc.
The second effect you need to know about is that caffeine intake
increases anxiety while nicotine decreases it. Without nicotine the
consumption of caffeine will increase your anxiety levels. This is
something to keep in mind, especially if you’re currently
struggling with anxiety.
So if you’re ready to quit smoking, I highly suggest drastically
decreasing your caffeine intake at the same time. If you can, stop
drinking caffeine entirely when you first quit, then slowly
reintroduce it after a few days. It seems like a drastic move, but
you will find quitting is so much easier if you do.
(I'm quickly running out of room so I will have to do the psychological section in the comments once it's posted)