10 Ways to Get Rid of Smoking Habit
Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.
Quitting smoking is not a single event that happens on one day; it is a journey. By quitting, you will improve your health and the quality and duration of your life, as well as the lives of those around you.
Tobacco cravings can wear you down when you're trying to quit. Use these tips to reduce and resist cravings. Here are 10 ways to help you resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a craving strikes and 10 health effects of smoking you should know.
1. Try nicotine replacement therapy
Ask your health care provider about nicotine replacement therapy. The options include:
- Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler
- Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges you can buy without a prescription
- Prescription non-nicotine stop-smoking drugs such as bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, others) and varenicline
Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies — such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays or inhalers — can help you overcome intense cravings. These short-acting therapies are usually safe to use along with long-acting nicotine patches or one of the non-nicotine stop-smoking drugs.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have had a lot of interest recently as a replacement for smoking traditional cigarettes. But e-cigarettes haven't proved to be safer or more effective than nicotine-replacement medications in helping people stop smoking.
2. Avoid triggers
Tobacco urges are likely to be strongest in the places where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or bars, or at times when you were feeling stressed or sipping coffee. Find out your triggers and have a plan in place to avoid them or get through them without using tobacco.
Don't set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to keep busy with doodling rather than smoking.
If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes. Then do something to distract yourself during that time. Try going to a public smoke-free zone. These simple tricks may be enough to move you past your tobacco craving.
4. Chew on it
Give your mouth something to do to resist a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy. Or munch on raw carrots, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and tasty.
5. Don't have 'just one'
You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don't fool yourself into thinking that you can stop there. More often than not, having just one leads to one more. And you may end up using tobacco again.
6. Get physical
Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings. Even short bursts of activity — such as running up and down the stairs a few times — can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog.
If you're at home or in the office, try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs. If you don't like physical activity, try prayer, sewing, woodwork or writing in a journal. Or do chores for distraction, such as cleaning or filing papers.
7. Try relaxation techniques
Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Fighting back against a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by trying ways to relax, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music.
8. Call for reinforcements
Connect with a family member, friend or support group member for help in your effort to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk, share a few laughs, or meet to talk and support each other. Counseling can be helpful too. A free telephone quit line — 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) — provides support and counseling.
9. Go online for support
Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be dealing with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
10. Remind yourself of the benefits
Write down or say out loud why you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These reasons might include:
- Feeling better
- Getting healthier
- Sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke
- Saving money
Keep in mind that trying something to beat the urge to use tobacco is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to being tobacco-free.
10 Health Effects of Smoking You Should Know
Some of the adverse effects of smoking include but not limited to:
Tobacco is known to be a major cause of several cancers in the human body targeting and affecting a significant number of the human organs which include intestine, esophagus, gallbladder, lungs, head and neck, larynx, stomach, pancreas, cervix, liver, colon etc. This made smoking a major cause of concern that causes multiple cancers in the human body. As a result, there is a high risk percentage of smokers dying of cancer than non smokers. And an increase rate of cancer being evident in smokers than non smokers.
2. Cardiovascular Effects
The cardiac organs respond to smoking as a result of the inhaled smoke and thereby producing abnormal changes within the heart. There is an increased heart rate due to smoking and a reduction in the blood’s ability to exercise it’s function of oxygen transportation. Smoking thus leads to several diseases of the heart due to the contents of the smoke. For instance, rate of diseases like heart attack is increased in smokers than non smokers due to tobacco contents which have the effect of narrowing blood vessels that ultimately leads to the blockage of the vessels which subsequently results in heart attack.
Other heart diseases which tobacco increases the risk of getting include stroke and other vascular diseases. Thus, smoking has adverse negative effects on the cardiovascular system and functions by its direct influence on the cardiac organs in terms of altering it’s function of blood and oxygen transportation due to narrowing of blood vessels and direct damage to the heart organs.
This at the long run can adversely leads to inflammation and other conditions affecting the arteries and the veins in the human body. Other cardiovascular adverse effects of smoking include the increase in also blood’s cholesterol level, increase blood pressure and weakening of the blood vessels.
3. Infectious Diseases
Smoking increases the chances of being infected by infectious diseases in smokers than non smokers. It leads to oral cancer as well as other pulmonary and respiratory tract infections. This is because smoking causes damage in structures of the pulmonary and respiratory tracts and also affects the immune system adversely.
4. Psychological Effects
Smokers often consider lighting up a major reliever of stress, anxiety and depression. Smoking is therefore regarded as a means of mood control in smokers when faced with mood changes in certain conditions of anger, stress etc. In smokers who are much addicted, smoking remains the sole and ultimate reliever of such bad moods thereby making it hard for them to quit the habit. Hence, smoking remains their sole alternative remedy for mood control. This is evident in smokers who are addicted so much that they find relief and relaxation when smoking while experiencing negative moods in periods between smoking.
5. Cognitive Dysfunction
Smoking is also known to affect the cognitive function of smokers. This is because lighting up leads to reduction in cognitive abilities and memory in young smokers as well as its adverse effects on the brain size. This can also be attributed to the effects of nicotine due to its addictive characteristics in smokers. Smoking leads to several disorders in anxiety.
6. Effects on Pregnancy
Pregnant mothers who smoke are on the risk of having pregnancy issues like miscarriages as well as impact on the fetus as a result of the health threats smoking posed on the pregnancy. It also has negative effects on the conditions in which the fetus will be delivered such as weight, disorders and behavioral changes.
7. Stress Issue
Smokers are often exposed to stress on daily basis than non smokers. This is because addiction to smoking makes it hard for smokers to live stress-free in moments of abstinence as smoking has become the sole reliever of mood swings and anxiety to them. Thus smokers live on more stress on daily basis than their counterparts non smokers.
8. Female Infertility
Smoking is known to have effects on the ovaries in females thereby affecting fertility. However, this depends on the addiction and how often a female smoker smokes. The more frequent a female smoke the higher the potentiality of the effect of smoke on the female fertility.
Fertility is affected by smoking in females due to the effects of nicotine and other harmful chemicals in tobacco. And this alters the processes of ovulation, thereby preventing pregnancy. Smoking also affects other processes of transportation within the female’s reproductive organs thereby causing damages which can also leads to miscarriages.
9. Behavioral and Social Changes
It is evident that lighting up have a direct effect on behavioral and social aspects of the human health due to the impacts it exerts on the human brain and mental senses. The rate of behavioral abnormalities and other social vices is much higher in smokers than non smokers. Behavioral changes and problems such as anger, anxiety, emotional swings and sudden mood changes are more frequent in smokers than non smokers.
Also, social vices that lead to crime, dispute and conflicts such as fights, quarrels, rebellious acts, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse in society are associated with and occurred more frequently in smokers than non smokers. This leads to unwanted events in families and society in general thereby giving rise to issues like family breakdown and societal disputes.
10. Drugs Interactions and other Harms
Smoking is known to interfere with the actions and reactions of certain drugs especially in patients with chronic health issues like hepatitis. Lighting up is also known to cause decrease in appetite and body weight, as well as increased risk of having injuries and premature deaths. Smoking is also considered to be one of the major causes of accidents.
In a nutshell, the habit exerts a negative influence and has various adverse effects on the human health ranging from cardiovascular diseases to cancer, infectious diseases, infertility, behavioral and social changes, stress, cognitive dysfunction and psychological problems. And that smokers are at higher risks of injuries and injuries-related premature deaths.
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