Tobacco use is one of the most preventable causes of death. About half of the people who smoke die of smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Quitting smoking can dramatically improve your health and wellness.
Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your blood pressure and pulse start returning to normal. As your circulation improves, your hands and feet begin to warm up. Within 8 hours of quitting about half the toxic nicotine and carbon monoxide will be cleared from your blood stream. Your blood vessels can thus supply more oxygen and other vital nutrients to your brain, muscles, and other organs. As time progresses, your sense of taste and smell return, breathing becomes easier and your stamina improves. The risk of cancer also is reduced with each year that you avoid smoking. Not only do you live longer, but you have a better quality of life.
Of course, quitting smoking isn’t easy. There may be some short-term problems such as increased irritability, anxiety, depression, and headaches once you give up smoking. These symptoms resolve by themselves as your body continues to recover and heal. Here are a few tips to help you resist the temptation to smoke once you have decided to quit:
Have a good reason to quit: There could one reason or several. List out in detail the short-term and long-term benefits of quitting smoking that are applicable to you. This may help you when dealing with cravings that you will encounter along the way.
Set a quit date: Plan to completely stop by a specific date. In preparation, you may start to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. Get rid of all your cigarettes and any clothes or furniture that smell of cigarettes before the set date.
Get accountability: Make your plan to quit smoking public. Enlisting the help of friends and family can be a big help when you are dealing with the transient withdrawal symptoms of smoking cessation.
Substitute smoking with a good habit: If you generally are more inclined to smoke after a meal, plan to have some fruit instead or go for a short walk. Take up a new hobby or sport to keep your mind off smoking.
Take it one day at a time: Rather than thinking too far into the future, find a way to distract yourself from the desire to smoke today.
Reward yourself for sticking to your plan: Treat yourself with the money that would have been spent on smoking to buy some nice clothes or perhaps a meal at a fancy restaurant.
In case you do slip up and smoke a cigarette, don’t be too hard on yourself. Accept responsibility for your actions, cut your losses, and continue with your plan. Once you begin to experience the improvements in your health and energy levels, the desire to smoke will only be a distant memory.