Smoking-cessation, Ten Good Reasons to Kick the Habit

Smoking-cessation is a difficult but necessary lifestyle change. Necessary because smoking-cessation can not only increase your life span but also improve your quality of life. I know that "kicking the habit" is difficult because smoking is an addiction and also because I stopped smoking several years ago.

You may be asking, “Why should I quit smoking?” One good reason is to protect the health of those around you. It has been demonstrated that second hand smoke is as harmful, if not more so, than actually smoking. The other is the damage to your own health. Please consider the following:

  1. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  2. Smoking is the single, most potent risk factor for heart disease.
  3. If you quit smoking, the risks for heart disease and cancer drop dramatically, even after one year.
  4. Smoking is the primary cause of chronic lung diseases, such as emphysema and COPD.
  5. Smoking one pack of cigarettes per day doubles the risk of heart attack compared to people who have never smoked.
  6. Smoking two or more packs of cigarettes per day triples the risk of heart attack compared to people who have never smoked.
  7. Smoking significantly reduces your chance of surviving a heart attack.
  8. No cigarette is safe. Lower tar and nicotine cigarettes have not been found to lower the risk of heart disease.
  9. On average, smoker’s lives are cut short by 13 to 15 years and worse yet the quality of life for the last few years can be greatly diminished.
  10. And there's more. Smoking contributes too many other health problems, ranging from cataracts, sinusitis, and dental disorders to aging skin, heartburn, diabetes, osteoporosis, bladder cancer and erectile dysfunction.

Since nicotine is addictive, smoking-cessation will require commitment and hard work. You can quit if you are motivated to protect yourself and your family. Cutting down does not work. Cold turkey is the only way but you will need the help of family and friends. I can say that because it worked for me. I will not be easy but it is worth the effort if you value the quality of your life and that of those you love.

Quitting is your responsibility; it may be hard, but it doesn't have to be lonely. Many employers, health plans, and hospitals offer individual or group counseling. Your doctor or your local chapter of the American Lung Association or American Cancer Society can refer you to a program in your area.

Nicotine replacement therapy is an option that can be used to reduce your craving for nicotine. Nicotine replacement is considered safe. You get less nicotine than from cigarettes and none of the tar and carbon monoxide. You should not smoke while using nicotine replacement therapy. It is a good idea to discuss the use of this therapy with your personal physician before using nicotine replacement products.

Other things that you can do include:

  • Begin an exercise program. It will relieve tension, promote good sleep, and help control weight gain. Walking for 30 minutes a day can really help.
  • Low calorie snacks and sugarless gum or candy can help to keep your mind busy and off the next smoke.
  • Think of ways to keep your hands busy.
  • Believe that you can quit. Positive thinking is very effective.
  • Eat a nourishing, healthy diet
  • Drinking more water will help to eliminate the nicotine from the bloodstream through the kidneys and helps decrease hunger cravings.
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke. Don't even think about smoking "just one" — even a single puff will set you back.
  • Throw out your ashtrays and get rid of the odor. Thoroughly clean your house, car, and clothes.
  • If you feel tense or have trouble sleeping, try meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  • If you quit smoking, you will be doing what God wants you to do, so pray and ask for His help.

Smoking-cessation is a difficult journey. Once you reach your destination you will feel better and be glad that you made the trip. I wish you well.

References and suggested reading Go to retirement resources

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