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Ask anyone who has tried to quit or has successfully stopped smoking-it is not an easy accomplishment. It can be done, however; you just need some strong resolve, motivation, and reinforcement of the benefits of doing so. Below are some significant tips and strategies that may help you get on your way to the path of a smoke-free lifestyle.
* Set a quit date, ideally within the next 2 weeks.
* Tell your family, friends, and coworkers that you are going to quit, and ask them for their understanding and support.
* Anticipate challenges that you may face as you attempt to quit smoking. You may want to keep a diary to include what you are doing when you smoke, your mood, and the place, time, and intensity of cravings when you smoke. Develop a plan for these challenges that may include what you can do when:
- you have an urge to smoke
- you are around others who are smoking
- you are having nicotine withdrawal symptoms (such as nervousness or irritability).
* Remove tobacco products from your environment. The evening before your quit date, get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and other smoking-related products. You may want to clean your car, drapes, clothes, and furniture to rid them of the smell of smoke. Having your teeth cleaned will help remove the stains and give your mouth a clean and refreshed feeling.
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco that is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically and emotionally tied to and dependent on nicotine.
* For most smokers, medications can help you quit smoking. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if you are eligible to take a medication.
* Most health insurance plans help pay for these medications.
* There are seven current medications that are shown to help people quit smoking:
- Nicotine patch
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine nasal spray
- Nicotine inhaler
- Nicotine lozenge
- Buproprion SR (Zyban)
- Varenicline (Chantix)
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer and heart disease in healthy nonsmokers. Only smoke-free environments effectively protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure in indoor spaces.
* Even one puff after you quit can cause a relapse. Avoid the urge to take a single puff
* If you quit before, what helped you and what hurt you? What can you learn from your own past experiences?
* What are your triggers to smoking, and what will you do to overcome them?
* Change your daily routine, especially routines associated with smoking
* Limit alcohol when attempting to quit. Alcohol is associated with relapse
* Avoid other smokers. If other people smoke around you or in your home, ask them not to smoke in your presence
* Spend more time with friends who do not smoke
* Find activities that make smoking difficult (such as exercise or going to a movie)
* Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or exercising
* Keep oral substitutes handy. Try sunflower seeds, sugarless gum, straws, toothpicks, or apples
* Anticipate challenges and avoid your known triggers to smoking (such as being around other smokers, alcohol, or talking on phone)
* Remind yourself of your own benefits of quitting:
- You will feel better.
- Food tastes better.
- You will save money.
- You will feel better about yourself.
- Your home/car/clothing/breath will smell better.
- You will set a good example for your children/ grandchildren.
- You will have healthier babies and children.
- Your appearance will improve (reduced wrinkling, whiter teeth).
People who smoke are twice as likely to die from heart attacks than non-smokers. People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke.
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