Kicking the habit is hard – but it can save your life
According to the American lungs association, smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 430,700 American lives each year.
In addition, smoking costs the United States approximately $97.2 billion each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity at work. Worse, smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Quitting smoking is undoubtedly good for your health and for the health of those around you, but it can also literally save your life.
Quit smoking tip #1: See your doctor
Talk to your doctor or even your pharmacist about the different over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help you quit smoking. Nicotine replacement products can help you overcome the physical addiction of smoking, reduce cigarette cravings, alleviate withdrawal symptoms and help you kick the cigarette habit.
Quit smoking tip #2: Consider self-help options
The American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking program provides guidebooks, videotapes, audiotapes and an online option. You can also visit your local library or bookstore for other self-help materials. Having smoking cessation materials readily available can provide daily motivation to stick to your decision to stop smoking.
Quit smoking tip #3: Commit to quit
Pick your quit date a few weeks ahead of time and mark it on the calendar. If you can, pick a day when life's extra stresses are not at their peak, such as after the holidays. Mark a day on the calendar and stick to it.
Another option is the Stay Quit Monday plan – Stay Quit Monday is a Healthy Monday project of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications. You decide to quit on Monday and you recommit every Monday of every week.
Quit smoking tip #4: Exercise
Aim to get some type of physical activity every day. In addition to reducing stress, exercise can combat weight gain, improve your mood and energy levels, and give you something healthy to do when the need for a cigarette arises. Consider an activity as simple as walking, or join an exercise group or fitness facility for a variety of exercise options.
Quit smoking tip #5: Prioritize self-care
The American Lung Association strongly recommends that you eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Taking care of yourself should be a daily essential and will assist you in changing your lifestyle for the better.
Quit smoking tip #6: Take advantage of your support system
Kicking the habit is hard, but you don't have to do it alone. Ask family, friends and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with or having someone who will just listen can give you a needed motivation and morale boost. You're doing a great thing for your health and longevity – your loved ones and peers are proud of you. (And if you happen to have naysayers in the lot, limit or eliminate your time with them, if possible, and seek the positive support of those who care.)
Quit smoking tip #7: Join a quit smoking program
Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking from the American Lung Association or another one in your community (check your local listings for a smoking cessation group). A support group of people who are just like you in committing to quit smoking can keep you from feeling isolated and alone.