It's Time to Quit Your Bad Habit
Most people know that smoking is unhealthy, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stop once you start. However, with some hard work and determination, quitting smoking is entirely possible.
Here are some of our favorite tips to quit smoking and help you kick the habit once and for all.
Smoking and Its Health Side Effects
Burning a cigarette creates over 7,000 different chemicals, and many of these are toxic. Therefore, it is unsurprising that smoking has a number of negative side effects.
Most people associate smoking with respiratory problems, such as coughing and wheezing. However, the habit can have serious effects throughout the whole body, not just the lungs.
Some of the long-term health conditions associated with smoking:
- Lung and other cancers
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Coronary heart disease
- Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes
- Circulatory problems
- Fertility issues
Smoking, including passive smoking, can also worsen conditions, such as asthma and respiratory infections. Furthermore, smoking during pregnancy carries a variety of risks for the unborn child:
- Low birth weight
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- Premature birth
- Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Therefore, smoking is bad news for the whole family, not just those who smoke. Unfortunately, the nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, meaning that quitting smoking is no easy task.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
If the list above isn’t enough to convince you to quit smoking, there are a whole range of other potential benefits to consider. When you stop smoking, you may enjoy the following effects:
- Increased lung capacity and easier breathing
- Improved sense of smell and taste
- Fresher breath
- Increased energy
- Better sex
Quitting smoking can also slow down the visible signs of aging and help you live a longer and healthier life.
How to Stop Smoking
By now, you’re probably wondering how to stop smoking for good. Fortunately, there are plenty of different options available. It is just a matter of finding one that suits your lifestyle and individual needs.
Your first port of call should be your doctor or a pharmacist. They will talk you through your choices and help you decide on the most appropriate one for you.
This could involve one-to-one counseling, group therapy, or even telephone counseling if you cannot attend sessions in person.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
These products contain nicotine without the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. They can help you to wean yourself off nicotine in a controlled way. Patches, gum, lozenges, sprays and inhalers are popular choices.
Vaping has become a common alternative to smoking in recent years. You can buy vape liquids with different levels of nicotine so you can reduce your usage over time. However, some chemicals in vape products may also be harmful and the long-term health effects are still unclear.
It is possible to get prescription medication (e.g. bupropion) to help reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawals. However, this medication can also have side effects, including dry mouth, nausea, dizziness weight loss and insomnia.
Other therapies that may help with quitting smoking include behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, or acupuncture.
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Tips to Quit Smoking
A combination of the above methods is most likely to be effective in helping you to quit smoking. However, there are several other things you can do to help yourself, no matter which you choose.
Here are 10 of our favorite tips to quit smoking successfully:
1. Make a Plan
Choose a date that you want to quit by and stick to it. Decide in advance whether you will use any of the methods outlined above or go cold turkey.
2. Tell Your Friends
Tell your friends and family that you are quitting smoking. Ask them to be patient while you deal with cravings and not to offer you cigarettes or smoke around you. If you have a friend who also wants to quit, doing it together can be a great way to motivate yourselves.
3. Avoid Triggers
Do you enjoy a smoke at the same time as a glass of wine or a coffee? If so, do your best to avoid these triggers by replacing them with something else. Use quitting smoking as an opportunity to experiment and break up your routine.
4. Remove Reminders
Remove any objects that remind you of smoking such as ashtrays and lighters. It is also a good idea to spring clean your home to remove any traces and smells of cigarettes.
5. Keep Busy
Quitting smoking is the perfect time to try a new hobby. Distract yourself by taking a class or learning a new skill, but choose something that will help you relax and not make you feel frustrated. Painting, creative writing, singing, dancing, or yoga could all be good options here.
6. Stay Active
Exercise is one of the best ways to manage cravings and you will see your fitness improve very quickly after quitting smoking. However, it is best to avoid dieting at the same time as that will just make you feel more deprived.
7. Time Your Cravings
The average craving lasts for around five minutes. Try to find a few five-minute activities you can use to distract yourself, such as making a cup of tea, having a stretch, or texting an old friend.
8. Busy Your Hands and Mouth
Find alternative ways to occupy your hands and mouth. This could be something as simple as sucking on a mint or holding a straw in place of a cigarette.
9. Treat Yourself
Use the money you save by not smoking to treat yourself to something you could not normally justify spending on. This could be a spa day, a meal at a nice restaurant, or anything that gives you a sense of reward.
10. Stay Positive
A positive attitude is one of the best ways to quit smoking for good. If you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself but don’t allow it to act as a setback either. Learn from the experience and keep trying until you succeed.