Cigarettes have a bad rap for good reason. According to Health Canada, smoking negatively impacts almost every organ in your body and is linked to over two-dozen diseases and conditions, such as various cancers, coronary heart disease, emphysema and high blood pressure.more
How To Successfully Quit Smoking
If you're a smoker, one of the great gifts you
can give yourself is to quit. That's because
butting out comes with major benefits! For example,
within 48 hours of not smoking, your chances
of having a heart attack go down; two weeks
to three months later, your lung functioning
improves by 30 percent; and 10 years post-quit,
you're 50 percent less likely to succumb to
lung cancer, according to Health Canada. (And
just think about all the money you'll save when
you don't buy costly cigarettes!)
Are you ready to let go of your unhealthy habit? If so, congratulations! It's no easy feat, but you can do it. Here are some ways that can help you give up cigarettes for good.
Your Cessation Action PlanThe first thing to do is pick your stop-smoking date. Decide when you will no longer smoke and mark it on the calendar. "Choose a relatively ordinary day where you feel like you're in a position to face some changes," says Krista Bennett, senior communications coordinator for the Smokers' Helpline at the Canadian Cancer Society. Avoid known stressful or out-of-routine times, such as holidays. As well, make sure quit-day is a bit in the future, so you have time to establish your action plan. Have the following strategies in place before you officially butt out, and you're more likely to stop once and for all.
1. Identify and avoid your triggersJot down a list of the things and situations that really make you want to smoke. Perhaps it's your morning coffee, stress or relaxing in front of the TV at night. Then think about and make note of how you can deal with these triggers after your quit-date. "For example, if coffee is a trigger for a craving, you may opt to switch to tea for a week or two," says Bennett. Establishing a tweaked daily routine that keeps you out of temptation's way will help control your desire to smoke.
2. Get ready to curb cravingsExpect cravings and withdrawal symptoms (which can include coughing, headaches, nervousness and irritability) to be at their peak within the first week or two of quitting, says Bennett. In order not to succumb to a hankering, you have to know how to manage them. Here's what to do:
Delay. Most urges go away in just a few minutes, so hold on to your resolve as the craving passes through.
Distract. Take your mind off the craving by immediately doing something else, such as brushing your teeth, picking up a book or chewing on a carrot, suggests Bennett.
Deep Breaths. "This helps to relax the body as well as pass the time," she says. Inhale and exhale purposefully and slowly for a few minutes.
Drink water. Have a glass of chilled H20, holding each sip in your mouth for a minute or two. "It provides a new sensation for the mouth, and it helps with the habitual aspect of the craving by doing that hand-to-mouth activity," Bennett says.