Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year.
Tobacco use leads to nicotine dependence which more often than not causes smokers to continue their bad habit for years. With education and transparency in the tobacco industry on the rise, more people are ready to kick the habit. In fact, more than half of adult smokers tried to quit smoking in 2015.
However, trying to quit and actually quitting are two very different things. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. If you want to quit smoking, follow these tips to help prepare you to make a step towards bettering yourself.
Find your reason
It doesn’t matter how many times someone tells you to quit, until you find your reason it may be even harder to stop smoking for good. Whether it’s your health or the health of your family, having a substantial reason to quit can be a major motivator.
Research your options
Everyone is different, which means everyone needs different things to help them quit smoking. The most popular aid is nicotine replacement therapy, which includes nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges. These aids work by giving your body the nicotine your body craves without the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. Nicotine replacement therapy helps your body to slowly reduce nicotine dependence until you’re fully weaned from it.
Prescription medications such as Bupropion and Chantix are also helpful options that can help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Behavioral therapy is a third option, this involves working with a counselor to identify triggers and make a plan to get through the cravings. Many people use a combination of several aids in order to ensure they can quit for life.
Your loved ones can be a great source of motivation and encouragement as you work to better your health.
The first step to avoiding your triggers is to identify them. Some people feel the urge to smoke after eating a certain food, visiting a certain place or drinking alcohol. It’s important to avoid triggers, especially during the first three months as this is when you’re most likely to pick up smoking again.
Build healthy habits
Regular exercise and healthy eating habits can also help kick your cravings for a cigarette. Exercise is a great way to distract yourself from cravings and may help you to cope with stress instead of smoking.
Cigarettes are filled with more than 7,000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer and other health issues. Your risk for several issues, including heart attack begin to decrease after just one day of not smoking and your lungs begin to heal themselves before the year marker.