Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease in the United States today. Smoking is related to the development and complication of many major diseases, including lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and strokes. Stopping smoking now will greatly improve your health – regardless of how much you currently smoke or how long you have been smoking!
Remember that all forms of tobacco are dangerous; there is no safe use of tobacco. So, the term “smoking” refers to the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and even smokeless tobacco, often called chewing tobacco or snuff.
The National Cancer Institute, in its pamphlet called “Clearing the Air”, has outlined the following comprehensive strategies for quitting smoking. You can get a copy of this pamphlet by calling NCI at 1-800-4-cancer. The National Cancer Institute recommends that you begin by preparing to stop. You must decide positively that you want to stop more than you want to remain a smoker. List all the reasons you want to quit and reread them often. Begin to prepare yourself physically as well as mentally for your quit day: start a modest exercise program, drink more water and juice, get lots of rest and avoid fatigue. As you prepare to quit, remember that smoking cessation isn’t easy, but it is something that you can do! More than 3 million people quit smoking each year in the United States!!! Also remember that withdrawal symptoms will occur but will subside after the first few weeks. You can make it!!
This time of preparation may be a good time for you to involve someone else in your quit efforts. Maybe you can invite your spouse or friend to quit with you or enlist their positive support as you make this important step toward a healthier future!
Just before you stop, practice going without cigarettes as much as possible. If you want to smoke go to one designated area of your house that you can smoke in, such as a garage, porch or basement. Ceremoniously eliminate all smoking materials- cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. No longer carry cigarettes around with you. If you need to smoke, stop whatever it is that you are doing and go to the designated area to smoke. Also, try buying cigarettes one pack at a time.
These tips make it very inconvenient to smoke, will force you to slow down your smoking, and hopefully eliminate some of the more unnecessary cigarettes in your habit. Keep your mind focused on the immediate challenge at hand: to go for one day without smoking. Don’t shoot for a whole smoke-free lifetime at this stage!
Set a quit date when you will finally quit smoking. Set this date for no more than 7 days from now, so you don’t lose your initial enthusiasm! Set yourself up for success and pick a good day when you are ready to tackle such a monumental challenge. The day when you have a big presentation to deliver at work, the kid’s carpool to drive, and a dinner party to make is probably not a good quit date!! Ask yourself, is there anything in my life that is going to prohibit me from giving this my best effort?
On the day that you quit, keep yourself very busy!! Go to the movies, take a walk, exercise – and fill your time with activities that would make it very hard to smoke, such as washing dishes, gardening, shopping, or taking a shower.
Celebrate your first smoke-free day with a smoke-free activity with some non-smoking friends! (Don’t worry! You don’t have to give up your friends who are smokers!) You may want to temporarily avoid spending a lot of time with them during your first few smoke-free days. If you see them smoking, your resolve may be weakened. You may also want to avoid alcohol during these critical first days; it tends to weaken your willpower!
When you have the urge to smoke, remember that the urge will go away, whether or not you have a cigarette!!!! Remind yourself that you are now a nonsmoker and remind yourself of all the reasons you listed for wanting to stop. Find some substitute activities to occupy your hands, mouth, and mind when craving cigarettes. Try doodling, writing letters, or organizing your sock drawer to keep your hands busy. Fill your mouth with non-fattening goodies, such as vegetable sticks, pretzels, rice cakes, or sugarless gum and candies. Occupy your mind with positive thoughts of a future smoke-free vacation, home and life!
Try wearing a rubber band around your wrist, and when you really feel like you want a cigarette, snap the rubber band a few times and say stop to yourself. While you are snapping, picture a red stop sign. You will slowly be teaching yourself to stop craving cigarettes!!!
Figure out right now what you are going to do during future high risk situations, such as at a party where many people are smoking of maybe on your drive to work when you used to always have a cigarette. Plan now for future success!!!
It may help you to change your daily routine, especially your morning routine. After meals, get up from the table and brush and floss your teeth or start washing the dishes, rather than sit there and linger over a deadly cigarette. Eat your lunch in a different location or try taking a different route to work. You’re starting a new smoke-free life. Why not try some new smoke-free routines?
During your entire quit effort, keep a positive attitude! If negative thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself that you are a non-smoker and that you are in control of your life and health. You do not want to start smoking again!! It will get easier with every craving that you refuse to give in to. Try some relaxation techniques to help you stay relaxed and better able to handle the challenges of quitting. There are numerous relaxation techniques you could try.
After you have made it through those initial days and weeks after quitting, don’t let your guard down! You must act like a non-smoker everyday! If, however, you do have a slip, don’t worry! Many people make several quit attempts before they are ultimately successful. Begin your quit strategy again. Remember what it was that got you into trouble the last time and plan to be better prepared to stay quit. How will you handle that urge if it should come up again? Always have one trustworthy coping skill that works for you when the cravings get tough.
You can quit smoking!! There are more than 40 million Americans alive today who have quit – you can join them!! Remember, quitting smoking now will greatly improve your health! Try it!Tags: Tobacco smoking, Lung cancer, Tobacco, Smoking, Tobacco packaging warning messages, cancer, Cigarette
Perhaps you smoke because you enjoy handling a cigarette. You enjoy the ritual of lighting up. You like to gesture with a cigarette in hand when you talk, taking a drag when you pause. You may fiddle with the cigarette or the ashtray, or watch the smoke as you exhale. If so, you enjoy handling a cigarette.
Maybe you smoke because it gives you more energy. This is true if you look forward to the slight “lift” smoking gives you, or if smoking keeps you going when you feel worn out. Just as caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, nicotine gives you a boost in much the same way.
Do you smoke for pleasurable relaxation? You like the taste of a cigarette. You like to sit down at the end of a project to take a break and enjoy a smoke–perhaps with a cup of coffee or other drink. If you associate smoking with all of the good times in your life, you are consistently reinforcing the smoking habit as well. It is no wonder that it is very difficult to quit.
Maybe you smoke to reduce tension. You light up when you’re angry or upset, or waiting for an important phone call. You smoke to get through the bad times. Cigarettes have been your crutch, smoking helps you feel better.
Most likely, a lot of your smoking is out of habit. Sometimes you light a cigarette when you already have one burning. You light up automatically whenever you read the newspaper, answer the phone, drink coffee, or start the car. This type of smoker no longer gets much satisfaction from cigarettes. Smoking has become second nature to you. You may not miss this habit very much once you are able to quit.
Another major reason for smoking may be physical addiction to the nicotine. Nicotine is the addictive chemical found in tobacco plants. Once your body becomes accustomed to nicotine, it may demand it ten to 60 times a day. Are you able to sit through a movie without going out for a cigarette? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and smoke? Do you reach for a cigarette first thing in the morning? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be physically addicted to nicotine.
Once you know why you smoke, you can take steps to help cut down cigarettes or stop smoking for good. If you enjoy handling a cigarette, you could handle something else instead: write a letter, play cards, do needlework, or find a hobby to keep you occupied.
If you smoke for pleasurable relaxation, start enjoying the pleasures of being without cigarettes. Notice how good foods taste and smell. Pay closer attention to the health benefits of quitting. Remind yourself of how good it feels to be in control of cigarette cravings for the first time in your adult life.
If you smoke out of habit, you can cut down a great deal by becoming more aware of smoking. Put your cigarettes where you can’t get to them easily. Only buy them one pack at a time. Only use one ashtray and one pack of matches. Dispose of other smoking materials. Delay five minutes before giving into a craving. The urge may go away whether you smoke the cigarette or not. Only smoke in one area of your house. These suggestions will help you slow down your habit, so you can ask yourself if you really want to smoke each cigarette. Surprisingly often, the answer is “no”.
If you smoke to relax or when you feel tense or upset, try a few deep-breathing exercises to calm down. Avoid stressful situations that may tempt you to smoke. Take care of yourself. Don’t find yourself too angry, hungry or tired. Take time each day for you, try some deep breathing exercises, take a brisk walk, or enjoy some quiet time.
If you smoke because you need more energy, make sure that you get plenty of rest. Start or continue a regular exercise routine. It feels good and ultimately gives you more energy. Drink lots of fluid, except those that contain caffeine or alcohol. Fluids help flush the nicotine out of your system.
Part of you smoking habit may be because you are addicted to nicotine. When you quit, you may go through a withdrawal period that could include headaches, anxiety, or problems concentrating. Discuss the possibility of nicotine replacement therapy with your physician. Remember, side affects only last a few weeks. Hang in there!
In any case, knowing why you smoke is a big step toward quitting. You may feel that your reasons for smoking are not worth the risks of doing something so unpleasant and harmful to yourself. You may find that you can substitute other things for most of your reasons for smoking. And when you know why you smoke, you’ll be able to make a clear, determined choice to cut down or quit.Tags: Smoking, Health effects of tobacco, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, nicotine replacement therapy, breathing exercises