The National No-Smoker Day is celebrated on November 17, was created by a Resolution of the Council of Ministers, and has the purpose of congratulate all the Portuguese who have decided to quit smoking, and inform current smokers of the risks associated with tobacco.
By way of introduction, it is important to talk about tobacco consumption in Portugal.
Although in the last five years there has been a decrease in tobacco consumption, according to the report of the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Tobacco Use 2020 from the DGS, tobacco continues to be one of the leading causes of illness and premature death.
Thus, it is estimated that there are over 1 million smokers in Portugal, and in the Azores, it is where there is a higher percentage, around 23.4%.
Smoking is related to tobacco dependence, in its most varied forms, cigarette, pipe, among others. This dependence is created by nicotine, a psychoactive substance that produces the sensation of pleasure and is therefore considered a drug.
Causes changes in the central nervous system, transforming the emotional and behavioral state of individuals. Once this substance reaches the brain, neurotransmitters are released that are responsible for the pleasure felt by all smokers.
When this becomes a daily habit, the brain adapts and needs larger doses to maintain the same level of satisfaction, this is called drug tolerance. With this tolerance, the risk of contracting diseases that can lead to death also increases.
When smokers are faced with the dangerous reality that they live and decide to quit smoking, a second phase begins, overcome abstinence.
Withdrawal syndrome results from the body's response to the lack of nicotine and reveals itself in symptoms such as general malaise, compulsive desire to smoke, irritability, anxiety, sleep disorders, among others.
Having said that and accepting that it is not an easy process, there are several strategies to make it less painful.
It all starts with establishing a date to quit smoking and stick to it. Estimate the money you spend on tobacco and think about how you would spend it to improve your life. Another tip is, break daily routines, substituting the cigarette you smoked to accompany your coffee after a meal, for example, with a small square of chocolate or something else that gives you pleasure.