With the holidays comes celebration, and with celebration comes temptation. That can make staying smokefree during this festive time of year a challenge. Don’t give up—we know you can do it!
But just when you’re feeling really good about yourself for not smoking during a holiday party, you may find yourself sneaking back to the dessert table…again…and again. Sound familiar? That desire for one more gingerbread man can teach you a bit about your addiction to cigarettes.
Both the nicotine in cigarettes and the sugar in that delicious chocolate cake trigger the release of dopamine, a powerful substance that causes us to feel pleasure for a moment—and then leaves us wanting more.
It’s only natural to want to experience a pleasurable feeling again—hence, the second trip to the dessert table.
An addiction to cigarettes is about more than chemistry. According to the American Lung Association, cigarette addiction is actually a “three-link chain."
Beyond the brain’s desire for more nicotine, it also takes into account a smoker’s psychological dependence (“I can’t have my coffee without a cigarette!”), and social dependence (“But all my friends smoke!”). Chances of a successful quit are much higher if all three parts of this chain are addressed.
If you think you may be addicted to cigarettes, talk to a healthcare provider. Although increased appetite can be a result of giving up smoking, remember the health benefits of quitting smoking. After a few months, the holiday season will be long gone and it will be much easier for you to stay smokefree.
This holiday season, make sure to tell your family and friends about your quit plan, and let them help you stick to your goals.