Practical Advice for Quitting Smoking

stop smokingMany of us have our vices, be it cigarettes, a glass of wine at the end of the day or a shopping addiction. Some people have addictive personalities, meaning that they may have many vices, not just one – but some of our vices are more dangerous than others and smoking is up there as one of the most dangerous. Statistics show that tobacco smoking is to blame for more than a quarter of all cancer deaths and a whopping 86% of lung cancer deaths are caused by tobacco consumption. It’s also been established that tobacco consumption is the single most preventable cause of illness and early death –  and after just one year of quitting, your risk of a number of illnesses, including heart disease is reduced to half that of a smoker.

So, you know that smoking is bad for you – we all do. Just knowing that something is bad for you is not necessarily enough to make you stop. We’re all guilty of thinking, ‘that won’t happen to me, it will happen to someone else’, and you could very well be correct. Maybe you won’t develop lung cancer. Maybe you won’t develop heart disease. But you will eventually develop skin that looks old before its time, skin that is greyish in color and thin in texture, yellowed fingers and fingernails, reduced circulation and a wheezing, hacking cough. And if that wasn’t enough, smoking also decreases your circulation and blood flow, meaning that male smokers may not be able to sustain erections for particularly long periods of time and female smokers may lose their ability to become aroused.

One of the best ways to begin the journey of quitting smoking is to list all of the positive things that you’ll gain from quitting. For example, if your skin is damaged by smoking, quitting will improve your skin tone and texture. If you find that you’re short of money, work out the amount of money you could save by quitting smoking. Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day will spend on average over £900/$1000 on cigarettes in just six months. That’s an astonishing amount of money when you think about it – so figure out what you could put that money towards if you quit and treat yourself when you reach your goal.

You should also tell everyone that you’re quitting. That way, if you fall off the wagon, you’ll have a support network to help you get back on. You’re also less likely to smoke if people know you’re quitting as you won’t want to disappoint friends and family members that may be supporting you on your journey. You also will not feel comfortable sneaking around for a cigarette, whereas if you don’t tell anyone, there’s absolute nothing or no-one to stop you from going outside for a quick smoke.

Anticipate that you’ll get a cough after quitting. It is usual for a cough to develop once you’ve quit as your airways begin to wake up again. Many smokers say that this cough makes them feel terrible and encourages them to start smoking again. Realizing that this cough is normal should help you to resist temptation.

Remove all smoking paraphernalia from the house – ashtrays, cigarette lighters, matches, cigarette holders, and all cigarettes. Keep temptation out of the way and you’ll be less likely to smoke. Also, if you do buy cigarettes from the store, you won’t have a lighter or an ashtray to use, meaning that you won’t be able to enjoy your cigarette in the same way.

Finally, if you are cutting down before quitting, make yourself go outside to have a smoke. Smoking outside in the wind, rain or snow is enough to make anyone seriously cut down their smoking. Above all, visit your doctor and have regular contact with them. That way, you’ll be able to track the benefits of quitting smoking as your health begins to improve. For more information on quitting smoking, speak to your doctor or nurse.