How To Quit Smoking - Information And Advice On How To Quit Smoking.
those of us that smoke, quitting is as pleasant to contemplate
as a root canal without novocaine. But, let's face it; there are
several good reasons for quitting smoking. Everyone knows that
cigarettes and cigars lead to lung cancer, but what is not as
well known is that smoking is a leading factor for heart attacks
and strokes, especially in diabetics. Also, studies have shown
(pay attention fellas!) that men who smoke are more likely to
suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED). Smoking diminishes blood
flow to the penis, and also lowers sperm count. Smoking is becoming
socially unacceptable. Having to go outside on a cold day in sub-zero
weather to smoke is not anyone's idea of a fun winter sport. And
too, smoking is an expensive habit; in the state of Michigan,
for example, cigarettes cost an average of $3.50 per pack. Do
the math; 3.50 x 365 = $1,277.50. That is a lot of money to suck
into your lungs.
smokers hate being lectured on how bad smoking is for you, blah,
blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. So we are not going to belabor
those particular points. What we are going to talk about is why
you smoke and what to do about it. Most people start smoking quite
young, early to mid-teens. There are myriad reasons for doing
so; peer pressure (everyone's doing it), family influence (mom,
dad, Uncle Bob-who-is-so-much-fun, smokes), low self-esteem and
media/marketing. It is unknown exactly how many teens are influenced
by the Virginia Slims woman, Joe Camel, and the good guys and
gals in the movies and on TV that smoke tobacco. But it is quite
rare for someone to begin smoking as an adult. So the problem
is that once a person starts smoking, they are addicted.
is not just a bad habit; it is an addiction. Smokers become physically
addicted to nicotine and the other chemicals in cigarettes. Nicotine
is so physically addictive for some people that some studies have
shown that stopping smoking can be as psychologically and physically
unpleasant as heroin withdrawal. The first step in quitting smoking,
then is realizing that it is an addiction, not merely a bad habit.
so we have established that we have an addiction. So, what do
we do about it? For one thing, you really have to want to quit.
Smoking is pleasureable, relieves stress, and controls the appetite.
On the other hand, if we don't quit smoking we won't be around
to eat, stress out, or have some pleasure. Some studies have shown
that smokers are less likely to have Alzheimer's disease. In this
writer's opinion, there is a good reason...they don't live long
enough. Aside from living longer, ex-smokers feel and smell better
and have a little more money. Ex-smokers have better smelling
houses and cars, and happier families.
How to Quit
we need to establish how to quit. One of the
first steps is to modify behavior that causes you to smoke. Psychological
reasons aside, there is a pattern with most of us where in certain
situations you are more inclined to smoke than others. Some people
reach for a cigarette when they are on the phone, with that first
cup of coffee in the morning, after a meal, etc. Since quitting
is so hard, here are a few tips that can help.
you find that you cannot quit without help, consult your physician.
There are prescription drugs specifically for quitting smoking.
a quit date. This may be the first day of the year, your birthday,
your spouse's birthday, etc. This date should be at least two
weeks from the day you make up your mind to quit (i.e., if you
decide on the first that you definitely want to quit, circle
on your calendar the 14th.) This gives your mind a chance to
adjust to the fact that you will become smoke-free.
a process called nicotine fading. This is going from your regular
brand to a brand lower in nicotine. For example, if your regular
brand is Benson & Hedges regular menthol, go to Benson &
Hedges Lights the first week, then Benson & Hedges Ultra
Lights the second week. This gives your body a chance to adjust
to less nicotine. The third week is your week to quit.
up on good, healthy snacks. Fruits and veggies of course, but
also pretzels, and low-fat hard candies will give your mouth
the physical sensation of doing something. However, if you are
feeling really sorry for yourself ( easy to do!), indulge in
a piece of chocolate, or maybe some low-fat ice cream or sherbet.
Chances are good that you will gain a few pounds-most former
smokers do. The reason why is that nicotine is not speeding up
your metabolism, and since your taste buds no longer are exposed
to tobacco, food tastes better. It is better to gain a few pounds
than to keep smoking.
plenty of water, especially when you get an urge to smoke. Low
calorie soft drinks also can help ward off cravings.
you are feeling stressed out, exercise. If you work at a desk,
get up and stretch, and walk around for a few minutes. If your
employer has an on-site athletic facility, take advantage of
it. If not, invest (remember, you are going to have more money)
in some exercise equipment for your home. Start off slowly, however,
especially if you have not been exercising regularly. Also, exercise
will help keep off those unwanted pounds.
a hobby that involves using your hands. This can include woodworking,
crocheting, knitting, etc. One of the hardest parts of quitting
smoking is finding something to do with your hands.
smokers have had success quitting through accupuncture or hypnosis.
Doctors often can direct their patients to one of these practitioners.
might want the assistance of one of several over the counter
products that can be used for nicotine replacement. Nicotine
applied to the skin release nicotine into the body, thus reducing
the craving for tobacco. Also, Nicotine
a drug in gum form, releases nicotine in the body through the
mucous membranes in the mouth. These products have been proven
to be highly successful for people that are determined to quit.
One very important factor to remember when using these products
is that you absolutely cannot smoke when using these nicotine
Good News about Quitting
smoking is not impossible, but it is very difficult. Even for
"social" smokers, totally eliminating cigarettes is
not easy. And, despite what cigarette manufacturers advertise
regarding low tar, etc. there is absolutely no such thing
as a safe cigarette. For women who are considering having children,
it is best to quit before you get pregnant. (An interesting bit
of history here - in the early to mid-part of this century, pregnant
women were sometimes advised to smoke during their pregnancy to
avoid excessive weight gain. It seems incredible, but then most
of their doctors were smokers too!). The best thing about quitting
smoking is that your body starts to repair itself instantly. After
five years of not smoking, former smokers have approximately the
same risk of heart attacks and strokes as persons who never smoked.
In addition to the health benefits, just think what you could
do with the extra money. Many former smokers find as an incentive
for staying tobacco free is to take the money they would have
spent on cigarettes and put it in a jar or piggy bank, then after
a year taking the money and treating themselves to something that
they want. Now, isn't that good news?