LittlePeopleLogo     <Quitting Smoking

 

Why should you quit smoking?

Quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. If you stop smoking, you'll be less likely to have illnesses like heart disease, cancer, lung disease or stroke. You'll be less likely to have acute illnesses like coughs, colds or allergies. Another benefit of quitting smoking is the money you save. A person who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day will save about $600 per year. Other benefits are improved taste and smell, and fewer illnesses for the people who live with you and work with you. If you quit smoking, it's more likely that your children will never smoke.

Before you try to quit smoking, it's helpful for you to understand why you smoke. People smoke for different reasons. You may smoke for pleasure or to get a boost, to calm down, to keep your hands busy or to have something to do with friends. You may also smoke because it's a habit, an addiction or because other people in your family smoke. Think about the reasons why you smoke. Once you understand why you smoke and are motivated to quit, you can take steps to quit smoking. Your quit date When you are ready to quit, it's helpful to pick a quit date and make a plan for quitting. Your quit date should be no more than a month away. Don't choose a date in a stressful time, since that might hurt your chance for success.

Planning your strategy

Smokers reach for a cigarette when they experience a "trigger." A trigger is a person, a situation or a thought that is connected with smoking. It's important to plan healthy behaviors to use instead of smoking when you're faced with a trigger. Other things that can help you quit include:

Nicotine gum, inhalers or patches

Nicotine gum, inhalers or patches may be helpful if you have symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine when you go without smoking for long periods of time. Withdrawal is a physical reaction that happens when your body doesn't get nicotine anymore. Symptoms include irritability, headaches, nervousness and poor concentration. Withdrawal is more likely if you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day or more, or if you have been smoking for more than one year. Nicotine supplementation comes in over-the-counter chewing gum or patches you put on your body. Your doctor or pharmacist can discuss the advantages and side effects of the gum and patches. Your physician can prescribe pills and inhalers to also help you quit which can be used in conjunction with the gum and patches.  All of these methods work the best when combined with strong motivation, a good plan and plenty of support from your friends and family.

 

What to expect when you quit

When you quit smoking, you will have better ability to smell and taste, better breathing, better exercise performance and a general sense of freedom and well-being. Withdrawal symptoms usually last less than a week. Of course, you will have some difficult urges and strong triggers. You must be ready to deal with them. Some people gain weight after they quit smoking. Weight gain can be lowered by exercising and limiting fats and sweets in your diet.

 

Staying smoke free

A person who can stop smoking for one month has a good chance for long-term success. Take it one day at a time. Remind yourself of why you are quitting and the benefits that you will have as a result. Reward yourself regularly. Seek support from your family, friends and doctor. Don't tell yourself that smoking one cigarette now and then is okay. In terms of your health, even one or two cigarettes aren't safe. People who smoke one or two cigarettes a day are more likely to return to their previous level of smoking after a brief period of time. If you do start smoking again, don't give up. Many smokers try to quit several times before they succeed. Try to understand what made you start smoking again, go over your reasons for quitting, and try again.