Many people start the New Year with a decision to stop smoking. That’s great! Good for you! (No matter what time of the year you decide to give up smoking, it is good! Hooray for you!) As an ex-smoker, I know how hard it is to stop smoking cigarettes.
I thought I’d give you some real-life advice, from someone who’s already been through it. Hopefully, this will likely give you some encouragement, too. But first, I have to digress to ensure that I can tell you why this really is on my small mind right now.
For people who know me, you are aware that my partner recently had emergency quadruple cardiac bypass surgery at the age of 56. The surgeon declared that severe blockage in the arteries was a result of smoking. My husband was told if he has a heart attack that it will be fatal; the surgery would basically be effective only if he stopped smoking.
That’s what it really was required to come to – open heart surgery as well as the very real threat associated with an early demise – to get my stronger half to quit smoking. Quit he did. Although he’s still recovering from the bypass, the doctors say that he’s successful. (I know that a majority of smokers know the health risks and think, “That won’t happen to me,” but I thought I’d toss the story in anyway.)
It’s often suggested to suck on the bit of hard candy whenever you have an urge to light a cigarette. It has been proven helpful in quitting smoking. Let’s discuss the pros and cons on this method.
Pros of having a hard candy rather than cigarette:
- Fixation satisfaction. As many people know, smoking is known as an ‘oral fixation’. The thought the following is that one’s oral fixation may be satisfied without having to use cigarettes. By popping a hard candy into your mouth, your oral fixation will be quelled, thus reducing or eliminating the wish for smoking tobacco.
- Distraction. Many smokers smoke partly from nervous habit, so having something to do beside smoking is essential. When an urge for a cigarette arises (and cravings will arise), distract yourself by choosing from lots of different hard candies. (It’s best to buy a Pick-and-Mix type bag of candy because of this.) By the time you’ve set up with the bag, created a choice, unwrapped it, and dumped the wrapper the physical urge could have subsided.
- Cardiovascular health. I’m not a doctor but I think it’s safe to say that hard candy has nowhere near the ill-effects around the cardio-vascular system as cigarettes do. Better a hard candy compared to a cigarette? Of course.
Cons of needing a hard candy rather than cigarette:
- Weight gain. Most smokers who are considering quitting are worried about gaining weight. If you smoked a pack and a half of any nicotine products every day, that’s 30 cigarettes. If you have 30 hard candies a day, at 20 calories each, that’s a boost of 600 calories each day. At the end of a month, an everyday increase of 600 calories will lead to noticeable putting on weight.
- Tooth decay. All that sugar is not beneficial to your teeth. The sugar from hard candy coats your teeth as it would be inside your mouth for such an extended time period. If you have 30 hard candies a day and brush your teeth only twice a day, you might be cavity waiting to happen.
- Diabetes. Aka: sugar. I’m not sure that 30 pieces of hard candy per day would cause diabetes in someone who’s not predisposed to it, but I do know for sure that as a nation we need to cut down on our sugar consumption. As for those who believe sugar-free hard candy might be the answer, I understand that it requires significantly less than 30 to get a laxative effect.
- Trading one bad habit for another. You may think that you’re solving the problem, but you’re just creating another. Some people are OK with this, as they think the continual candy-sucking is often a vast improvement from smoking.
You will surely have candy any given moment. It reminds me of the joke where a woman is smoking cigarettes so she can wean herself from the nicotine gum. You can’t say that you will have candy to stop cigarettes in say, an elevator, where you couldn’t have had a cigarette anyway.
There are good and bad points in introducing hard candy to stop smoking cigarettes. Everyone’s different and you need to know what is going to work best to suit your needs.
If you want to quit smoking (or will be in the process of quitting), honestly evaluate if this method could be helpful or hurtful for you. Either way, good luck!
Submitted by Sophia, Woodbridge, VA