Most smokers know that smoking is bad for them; it raises your risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, bronchitis, and emphysema. It increases blood pressure and lowers life expectancy. Cigarette smokers are often discouraged when it comes to quitting. A recent article in Going Bonkers magazine reports that former smokers attempted quitting five to seven times before actually doing so. It’s important to look at these attempts as learning experiences, analyze what triggered you to relapse so it doesn’t happen again.
There are many methods and techniques that you can use to quit smoking. One method, known as Cold Turkey, may work best for light smokers. Simply throwing away your cigarettes and never smoking again. While this method can be difficult as smoking changes brain chemistry, it works best for highly motivated and determined individuals. If you think you need more help to quit smoking, your medical doctor may prescribe you medications to reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement, such as gum, inhalers, nasal sprays, and skin patches may help if you follow the step down process. Medications such as Zyban and Chantix can be prescribed to help smokers quit. They work on brain chemicals to make quitting easier. You might consider joining a smoking cessation program. Look in your local hospital, church, or school for such programs. Some employers and health maintenance organizations also provided programs. Other options include group therapy or Nicotine Anonymous. Individual therapy provided by a professional is also highly effective and successful for the average smoker.
Tips on getting motivated to quit smoking:
- Add up the costs of smoking. If you live in New York City, you’re paying $10.00 or more for a pack of cigarettes. Furthermore, insurance companies charge smokers more for life and health insurance. Medical care costs more over a lifetime for smokers than nonsmokers. Have you tried selling your home or getting your security deposit back on a rental if it smells of stale tobacco smoke (tobacco smoke can seep into wallboard). Overall, the costs of smoking cessation programs, medication, and therapy is far less than the cost to continue smoking. Some employers and insurance companies will cover the costs of quitting.
- Disregard possible weight gain. Some smokers are reluctant to quit because of possible weight gain. One would need to gain 60 to 80 pounds to equal the health risks of continuing smoking; however research shows the average smoker who quits gains approximately 10 pounds. Furthermore, years after quitting smoking, the average nonsmoker and the former smoker weigh about the same.
- Change of lifestyle. Some smokers who quit lose weight. This is due to a phenomenon known as cluster behavior. That is, poor health practices tend to cluster together, as do good health practices. For example, a smoker is more likely to drink alcohol and someone who exercises regularly is more likely to eat healthy. Quitting smoking may help you develop good health habits in other ways and lead to a change of lifestyle.
- Opportunity to try something new. Smokers have tried all sorts of methods to quit. Hypnosis, acupuncture, and aromatherapy have all been used to aid the smoker in quitting. Take this as an opportunity to end a bad habit and try something you ordinarily wouldn’t try. You never know what might help or what you might like.