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You Can Quit Smoking!

by: Amy, RN

Sure, You Can Quit!

It's never too late to quit and there's never an easy time to do it. So quit now, right now, put down that cigarette, it's so easy to smoke them while on the computer. To quit, you need to break your addiction to nicotine and to the habit of smoking -- which also includes the pleasure you get from smoking.

I think some people are addicted to everything that goes along with the act of smoking; lighting that match or lighter, the manual and oral pleasure, no wonder it's so darn hard! Your habits are the behaviors that go with your tobacco use, such as lighting a cigarette when you get out of work or school, when you walk the dog, after dinner, in the morning or whatever your personal smoking behaviors are.

Ways To Make Quitting Easier - (It's Not Easy For Most People)

Pick a date to stop, if you can't stop today. Choose one two to four weeks from now so you can get ready to quit. If possible, choose a time when things in your life will change, like when you're about to start a break from school. Or just pick a time when you don't expect any extra stress at school, work or home. Of course life is very unpredictable so you just can't wait for there to be NO stress in your life. Wouldn't that be easy.

Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit. Keep that list available so you can look at it when you have a nicotine craving. Make a list of what you like about smoking also.

Keep a record of where, when and why you smoke. You may want to make notes for a week or so to know ahead of time when and why you will crave a cigarette. Plan what you'll do instead of smoking (see list above for ideas). You may also want to plan what you'll say to people who pressure you to smoke.

Throw or give away all of your tobacco. Clean out your room if you have smoked there. Throw or give away your ashtrays and lighters, just get them out of your house and or room.

Tell your friends that you're quitting. Ask them not to pressure you about smoking. Find other things to do with them besides smoking. If you have to avoid being around people who smoke, do that for a while. But do let friends know why you are avoiding them. You're doing this for YOU, not them.

When your stop date arrives, STOP. Plan little rewards for yourself for each tobacco-free day, week or month. Buy yourself a new top, get some new chewing gum, ask a friend to see a movie. Take a friend to get your favorite dessert or decaf... whatever.

Go ahead, put it out, it might just be next to your computer.

Reasons Not to Smoke (You know them.)

Cancer Risk! - Lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer every year in the U.S.
MONEY! It's expensive (over $1000 a year for a pack a day, an estimation, it can be more)
Bad breath -- others do smell it
Stained teeth and fingers
Cough/sore throat
Breathing problems
Wrinkles (more sooner than people who don't smoke)
Arguments with family and friends who want you to stop smoking.
Heart disease risk, including heart attack, no you're not too young.
Gum disease risk
It stinks up your clothes, hair, skin, car, pets, it goes on and on...
Cigarette burns on your clothes or in the house, car, wherever
Risk of second hand smoke to people around you
(and your pets too)
Nonsmokers don't like kissing smokers. There is nothing sexy about smoking.

What's in Tobacco?

There are more than 4,000 chemicals found in cigaretes (250 are toxic poisons, 50 cause cancer) Some chemicals found in tobacco include:
(found in toilet bowl cleaner); Aresenic (ingredient in rat poison); Polonium 210 (nuclear waste); Carbon Monoxide (car exhaust); Acetone (used in finger nail polish remover)

Nicotine remains in the body for ' to 12 hours after a single use of tobacco.

Common Concerns About Quitting:

Will I gain weight when I quit?

Probably. Some people gain a few pounds. Other people lose weight. The main reason some people gain weight is because they eat more food as a substitute for smoking. You can avoid gaining weight by watching how much you eat, staying busy and working out. ANOTHER reason people gain weight is because smoking increases your metabolism, with some people as high as a 7% increase, I am not going to lie about this, so you may have to increase your metabolism with exercise.

How will I feel when I quit?

Awful at first. You may feel irritable and cranky. You may also get angry or upset faster, have trouble concentrating or feel hungrier than usual. You may have headaches and cough more at first (while your lungs are clearing out). All of these can be symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine. Keep in mind that the worst symptoms will be over in a few days. However, you may still have cravings for tobacco. Those cravings have less to do with nicotine addiction and more to do with the habit of smoking.

What About Nicotine Gum or Patches?

These products may help you if you feel like you can't quit on your own or you have serious withdrawal symptoms. Don't use the gum or patch without talking to your health care provider first. These products were not designed for teenagers and could make you sick if you use them the wrong way. You may need to follow special instructions. If you're an adult, go ahead and buy some, but remember, you're still getting nicotine.

Smoking and Pregnancy - Does cigarette smoke get through to the unborn baby?

Answer: Yes, when the mother smokes, so does the baby. Smokers take in poisons such as nicotine and carbon monoxide (the same gas that comes out of a car's exhaust pipe). These poisons get into the placenta, which is the tissue that connects the mother and the baby before it is born. These poisons keep the unborn baby from getting the food and oxygen needed to grow.

What if I Can't Quit?

You can quit. Most people try to quit more than once before they succeed. So don't give up, you may not quit the first time you try. Just don't go out and buy a whole pack of cigarettes if you think you 'failed'. (Candy helps sometimes, especially chocolate). Take some time to think about what happened to cause you to slip. Figure out how you'll handle that situation differently next time. Then try again. You can do it!

Don't Let Another Year Go Up In Smoke

Are you one of most smokers who want to quit?

Try following this advice...

1. Don't smoke any number or any kind of cigarette. Smoking even a few cigarettes a day can hurt your health. If you try to smoke fewer cigarettes, but do not stop completely, soon you'll be smoking the same amount again.

Smoking low-tar, "low-nicotine cigarettes" usually does little good, either. Because nicotine is so addictive, if you switch to lower-nicotine brands you'll likely just puff harder, longer, and more often on each cigarette. The only safe choice is to quit completely.

2. Write down why you want to quit. Do you want:

to feel in control of you life?
to have better health?
to set a good example for your children? (If you are a parent, obviously).
to protect your family from breathing other people's smoke?

Really wanting to quit smoking is very important to how much success you will have in quitting. Smokers who live after a heart attack are the most likely to quit for good -- they are very motivated. Find a reason for quitting before you have no choice.

3. Know that it will take effort to quit smoking. Nicotine is habit forming. Half of the battle in quitting is knowing you need to quit. This knowledge will help you be more able to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal that can occur, such as bad moods and really wanting to smoke. There are many ways smokers quit, including using nicotine replacement products (gum and patches), but there is no easy way. Nearly all smokers have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal when they try to quit. Give yourself a month to get over these feelings. Take quitting one day at a time, even one minute at a time; whatever you need to succeed.

4. Half of all adult smokers have quit, so you can too. That's the good news. There are millions of people alive today who have learned to face life without a cigarette. For staying healthy, quitting smoking is the best step you can take.

5. Get help if you need it. Many groups offer written materials, programs, and advice to help smokers quit for good. Your doctor or dentist is also a good source of help and support.
There's Help out there.
You Don't Have to Do it Alone.

Some Resources on The Web:

Nicotine Anonymous

American Lung Association

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