Out of every 10 men who died of lung cancer last year, nine of them smoked cigarettes. And, out of every four men who got cancer last year, three of them smoked cigarettes. Smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke emphysema and many other cancers. Tobacco smoke contains 4,000 chemicals, of which 43 are cancer causing. All cancers caused by smoking are preventable.
Smoking is more than a simple habit: it’s an addiction to nicotine, the toxic chemical found in tobacco. Breaking away from the addiction is a difficult task. However, your good health is worth the work. Changing the behaviors that support the addiction will help in the struggle.
BE AWARE OF TRIGGERS
- Ask yourself, “What are the times of day you find yourself smoking?” Keep a smoking diary to pinpoint your trigger times.
- Once you can recognize the triggers, try substituting alternate behaviors.
- Be sure to remove all smoking materials from your home and workplace.
LOOK FOR AND ACCEPT SUPPORT
Tell the people in your life that you want to quit. Set a quit date and ask them to support you in your decision. You will be on edge at first and their understanding of your irritability is important. Some people also benefit from organizations and support groups. Call a friend who has already quit for support during rough moments.
WHEN THE URGE HITS
The urge to smoke will pass, whether you light up or not. As time goes on, the urge to smoke will become less intense and easier to manage. When you feel an urge coming on find something else to do. Take three deep breaths, brush your teeth, walk around the block, chew gum or drink some water. Exercise can also curb cravings and keep the weight off that is sometimes associated with quitting smoking.
HELP YOUR SYSTEM RID ITSELF OF THE NICOTINE
Drinking lots of water will help flush the nicotine out of your system. Also pay close attention to your diet. Eating healthy, well-balanced meals will help your body cleanse the toxins out of your system.
KEEP YOUR HANDS BUSY
Find substitutes for the hand movements you use when you smoke. Start a new hobby that involves your hands such as woodworking, gardening or painting.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR
Your doctor can offer you support and can also refer you to a quit-smoking counselor.