According to WHO, Tobacco kills up to half of its users. Smoking is the major reason for lung cancer and other heart related disorders. 8 million people die every year because of tobacco. Every addict knows that smoking is harmful, yet they keep inhaling the cancerous fumes. If you are one of the smokers among billion, and you think to quit it time to time then you are not alone. You can stop smoking by making small changes to your lifestyle that will help you resist the temptation to light up. In order to quit your addiction successfully, you need to set goals. It is never easy to walk away from anything which was once a part of your daily life.
The ugly truth about smoking is the fact that it helps you in no way. There are no advantages of smoking. It doesn’t make your life easier or better in any way. There is nothing to give up, you are not sacrificing anything by making a choice to not smoke. If you look for reasons to quit smoking, it would make it harder to quit because you would subconsciously think of it as some sort of sacrifice you are making. Instead look for real reasons due to which you smoke in the first place.
Here are 7 myths and facts that will help you quit smoking for good
Myth 1- Smoking is a way to relieve stress and anxiety
Fact-There are healthy and effective ways for you to relieve stress and anxiety such as exercising, meditation, yoga, travelling, spending time with your loved ones, enjoying hobbies such as painting, dance and music. Smoking in no way going to help you relieve stress and anxiety. On the contrary research has proved that smoking increases stress and risk of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders It is just an excuse smokers believe in order to not feel like something’s missing.
Myth 2- People smoke because they are bored
Fact– You will get bored, even when smoking. The cigarette does not relieve boredom in any way. The craving for nicotine is due to their habitual routine and nothing to do with boredom. For example, many smokers light up cigarette after finishing cooking, cleaning, or running errands, not because they are now bored after finishing the task or are idle, but because of the habit they have developed over time. Once you adopt healthy lifestyle and break the routine, the cravings due to boredom subsides.
Myth 3- Smoking increases the concentration levels
Fact- Smoking is a big distraction. The cravings and nicotine withdrawal makes smokers light up. Cigarettes don’t help concentrate, instead smoking ruins it due to strong nicotine pangs. It is an excuse which smokers use to blame everything that goes wrong in their life. People who don’t smoke can concentrate equally well.
Myth 4- Smoking helps to relax
Fact– Most smokers think smoking cigarettes relax them. The truth is nicotine never lets you feel relaxed. Temporary feelings of relaxation quickly end and is replaced by further anxiety and stress. It is difficult to quit because smokers believe they’re giving up a genuine source of pleasure. It is critical to understand that you are not giving up on anything.
Myth 5- Smoking helps to socialize
Fact- Smoking creates isolation. It creates a barrier between smokers, their family, loved ones and non-smoking friends. The constant smell of smoke and bad breath make people stay far away from smokers. Smokers are more likely to lose their patience and get angry out of proportion.
Myth 6- Giving up smoking will lead to weight gain
Fact– Nicotine does suppress the appetite but if you have the confidence and self-respect to control your eating habits and lead a balanced lifestyle, there is no reason to worry about weight gain. The health benefits of quitting any day surpass short term weight gain if any.
Myth 7- Monetary incentivizing will make it easy to quit smoking
Fact– Giving up smoking does save a lot of money, but it should not be used as an incentivizing factor. It never leads to successful results. It is a false incentive because smokers would rather choose to smoke than save money on future gifts or vacations. Such financial incentives heighten the sense of deprivation and smokers fall for the smoking trap again after the novelty wears off.
Want to improve your looks? Quit smoking
Smoking can add years to your looks and reduce your athletic ability. Smokers have visible changes in their skin tone, teeth, and hair. The negative effects of smoking on health range from cancer, ED, cataract, psoriasis, osteoporosis, early menopause, reproductive health to diseases related to heart, lungs, and bones. Apart from saving tons of money, quitting cigarettes will save you from below health hazards of smoking. Each time you resist a nicotine craving, you will get one step closer to being totally smoke-free.
Smoking makes you look old
Smoking regularly is a surefire way to make yourself look older. Your skin is deprived of the essential oxygen and nutrients which results in poor skin tone. It makes you face appear pale and unevenly colored. Your appearance deteriorates over time if you continue smoking.
Smoking results in sagging skin, age spots and deep wrinkles
The chemicals present in cigarette trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin. These are the fibers that give your skin its elasticity and tightness. Smoking degrades the building blocks of the skin. The consequences include sagging skin and deeper wrinkles. Loss in elasticity of skin also leads to sagging inner arms and breast.
Yellow teeth are the sign of smoking
Damaged teeth, gum disease, persistent bad breath, and other oral hygiene problems are common among smokers. According to studies smokers are twice as likely to lose teeth as nonsmokers.
Smoking ruins your fingernails
When you hold cigarettes, fingernails and the skin of your hands absorb toxic chemicals. When you quit smoking, these effects are quickly reversed.
Smoking causes premature gray hair and hair loss
Smoking can accelerate the process of hair loss with age. Studies even suggest that people who smoke are more likely to go bald.
Want to quit smoking on your own? Here is the easiest way to quit smoking
Step 1- Decision to quit smoking
The first step to stop smoking starts with decision to quit. Once the decision is made prepare yourself mentally and zero down a date on which you would quit. Pick a date when you are relatively stress free from job or other household duties. You need to decide whether you want to go cold turkey or reduce the cigarettes gradually and finally quit. Quit gradually. For some smokers gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes they smoke each day is an effective strategy to quit. But this strategy doesn’t work for everyone. You may find it’s better for you to go “cold turkey” and stop smoking once and for all.
Keep a diary with you and note down your smoking patterns, triggers and high risk times. Make a journal of the moments and time of the day when you crave a cigarette.
Tip- Set your date and time to quit and carry on smoking as usual albeit with lower intensities if you are chain smoker. Don’t try to cut down significantly beforehand, that would just make cigarettes seem more precious.
Step 2- Gather Support System
Inform your friends and family about your decision to quit. Always start your day with positivity. It might be a picture, book, or a person. Try meditation, yoga or exercise in the morning. Meditation helps to control your emotions and fight your way to be a better person. Positive energy and good mood will be very helpful for you to fight the rest of the day which can be stressful. Remove all the cigarettes from your wardrobe, kitchen, apartment or office desk. A clean environment free from cigarette smell is important. Once you prepare your feelings and environment, it would be easier for you to quit smoking.
Tip- While sharing your goal to quit smoking, do not fall into the trap of initial validation. When everyone praises you for your efforts to quit, you will feel validated. However, this kind of validation can be counterproductive. Once you feel validated, you no longer want to pursue your goals.
Step 3 – Manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms with these tips and tricks
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms ranges from irritability, anxiety, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, headaches and food cravings to restlessness, difficulty sleeping and sweating. It takes your body 72 hours after you last cigarette to flush out the nicotine. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually reach their peak 2 to 3 days after you quit smoking, and vanishes within 1 to 3 months as your brain chemistry return to normal. You will start to feel better at the end of first week. Doctors recommend gradually removing dependence on nicotine with nicotine replacement therapy.
Simple Tips & Tricks to help you quit smoking for good
Get up and indulge in physical activities in public space where you can’t smoke
Indulge in physical activities which will help you to distract yourself from nicotine cravings. You can try going out for a walk to get breath of fresh air. Go jog or sprint. Staying physically active serves as a good distraction, plus it helps you keep you healthy and boost your energy levels. So next time you feel the craving for a cigarette, engage in some sort of physical activity, be it running, jogging, cycling, biking, hiking or swimming.
You must break the routine link
To successfully quit smoking, you must break the daily routine that act as triggers. If you are at home or office at times when you normally smoke, you can reschedule your time table to try push-ups, pull-ups or squats instead of lighting up. Break the link. If you smoke when you drive, hire a cab, use cycle, walk, or take the bus for initial few weeks so you can break the smoking routine. If you crave for smoke after meals, go talk to a friend or call your loved ones. Don’t go to places where you tend to smoke. Keep yourself busy. The more distracted you are, the less likely you’ll crave for nicotine.
Make Cigarettes unavailable
If you are trying to cut down, the most dangerous thing you can do is buy the pack of cigarettes. Depending on the place you live, try not to buy the entire pack of cigarettes. Take help from family, friends or helpful neighbors. If you smoke 10 cigarettes a day, keep your stock at their place and ask them to give you 1 cigarette at a time, not more than 2 times a day. If your plan is to go cold turkey stay away from places where you can buy cigarettes.
Remember the time when you were non smoker
If you have memories of the time when you were non-smoker try to relive them. Get yourself into that phrase of life again. Feel the good times. Believe firmly that you are now a non-smoker. Act and live like you have never smoked in your life and won’t do it ever. You are what you believe and act like in daily life. Start behaving like a non-smoker that you are, and it will be your future. Congratulate yourself that you’re free and now you can enjoy your life as a non-smoker for the rest of your life.
Avoid other smoker’s influence
If you have family, friends or colleague who smoke, explain them that you are trying to quit. Request them not to light up in your presence. You can’t be with them during times they smoke. Other smokers influence is the most common reason of slip ups.
Develop strategies for a bad day
Stress and anxiety are major triggers for smoking. Create a strategy for bad days when you feel burnt out. Take some time off to rejuvenate. Wear your hiking boots, grab a fishing rod and head to the countryside. You can go to cinema, gaming parlor, bowling alley or any other place where you can relax and not smoke.
Break hand to mouth habit
Smokers develop the habit of moving their hand from cigarette to mouth. When you quit smoking, you will feel the need to do something with your hands. Substitute something else for cigarettes, try to hold a pen, cinnamon stick, peppermint stick, carrot sticks or toothpicks between your fingers. Initially it would take time to get used to not holding something or not having a cigarette in your mouth, but it would get better with each passing day.
Go for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
NRT gums is another way to keep your mouth busy. You can go see a doctor and take proper sessions and prescription. They will also guide you to avoid cigarettes. Some of the common examples are nicotine gum and lozenges. These help most of the smokers who want to quit smoking. Nicotine gum and lozenges provide short term relief from nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They also help keep your mouth busy and reduce nicotine cravings.
Develop new hobbies to occupy yourself
Try to spend more and more time with people you love and hobbies you enjoy. If you love painting, then paint more, join dance or singing classes. Learn to play guitar. Explore yourself and find happiness. Get passionate about your interest and hobbies. It will motivate you, inspire and distract you long enough to keep you away from smoking.
Try to avoid alcohol if you know you will end up having cigarette while drinking. Stick to non-alcoholic drinks or drink only at waterholes where smoking inside is prohibited. Keep some snacks and cocktail sticks with you to distract you from smoking.
Eat healthy food
Keep your mouth busy with chewing gums or fruits like carrot, apple, etc. Avoid junk food and opt for healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein bars. This will keep your body full of nutrition. Don’t try to diet and quit smoking together. For some smokers, ending a meal signals lighting up a cigarette. Switch you end of meal routine with having fruits, healthy dessert, a stick of gum. Go for a walk after the meal, read news, talk to a friend, meditate or listen to your favorite songs.
Give yourself short term rewards
You can try rewarding yourself at the end of every week. Take yourself out on a fancy dinner or go with your loved one. With the money saved from not smoking for a week, buy yourself a new video-game, new tools for your hobby, or anything fun which makes you happy. Notwithstanding all the health advantages, one of the major benefits of quitting cigarettes is all the money you will save. There are online apps and calculators, which can calculate daily, weekly yearly savings if you stop smoking.
Get Vitamin C
Home remedies to quit smoking such as eating citrus fruits rich in Vitamin C can help you quit smoking. Citrus fruit along with dairy products make smoking cigarettes taste bad. Buy Vitamin C drops or drink lime juice to endure the nicotine cravings. Studies have revealed that smoking seriously depletes the levels of Vitamin C in your body and it is consumed much faster in smokers. Smoking one cigarette can make your body deficient by 25 mg of Vitamin C. Smoking causes oxidative stress on body, which results in an increased metabolic turnover of vitamin C.
Exercise and HIIT Workout
Fill the gap with exercise and workout to regain your athletic ability and youthful appearance. Regular exercise has multi-pronged health benefits including weight loss, healthy heart, lungs, bones and reduced the risk of high cholesterol, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Exercise and HITT workout can suppress nicotine cravings and cleanse the body of toxins. It would energies you, boost your mood and make you feel relaxed. While you are spending your time and focus on workout, you will be distracted away from thoughts of smoking. It would help you quit smoking naturally.
Mindful Meditation and yoga
Mindful meditation reduces the psychological stress, anxiety and promote a calm state of mind and feeling of well-being. Positive emotions and energy helps you to focus and concentrate on positive aspects of life and shed away harmful habits and toxicity. Meditation can alleviate insomnia and help cope with psychological nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Seek Advice from Doctor
Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider on key resources which can help you to live smokefree. Your doctor can guide you on what medication will work best for you based on your medical history and put you in touch with local resources such as support groups and quitline. Draft your own quit plan according to guidelines provided by your doctor.
If you decide to quit, then just quit. It will not only help you but it will benefit so many people around you. Bring a smile on the face of your loved ones and lead a happy healthy smokefree life. Be patient, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will pass in a week. Try not to give in to your urges and sneak cigarettes. Minor slip ups happen but stick to your quit plan to lower the duration of withdrawal phase. Always believe in yourself and never lose the hope. You Can Do It!
Resources to Help You Quit Smoking-
- The National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline, 1-877-448-7848 (1-877-44U-QUIT)
- Veterans Smoking Quitline, 1-855-784-8838 (1-855-QUITVET)
- USA – Smokefree.gov, Quitline, 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUITNOW)
- UK – Take steps NOW to stop smoking or call the helpline at 0300 123 1044
- Canada – Website Health Canada or call helpline at 1-866-366-3667
- Australia: QuitNow or call 13 7848