Deciding to give up tobacco is one of the most important decisions you can make to better your overall health. Just two years after you quit smoking, you’ll experience a wide range of benefits, including:
- A tremendous decrease in risk of stroke
- A decrease in heart rate and blood pressure: some former smokers achieve the same levels as a nonsmoker just a couple of hours after quitting
- A 50% decrease in risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of lung cancer: over 80% of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking
- Significant financial savings from no longer purchasing tobacco products
Of course, quitting smoking is no easy task; for many, it can feel downright impossible. Despite wanting to quit, and despite knowing the negative effects on your health, the urge to light up can be simply overwhelming. Most smokers harbor the belief that their attempts to quit are sure to fail, making it hard to justify the agony of attempting to go cold turkey.
If you’ve struggled to quit smoking, you’re not alone. Tobacco use is a global addiction that affects roughly 1.2 billion people, creating substantial health and financial burdens. The CDC reports that there are over 7 million tobacco-related deaths worldwide every year. Nicotine is highly addictive, causing many to smoke for decades. Individuals who attempt to quit on their own often relapse within the first month; only 3-5% stay abstinent.
Here are some tips to use when you’re ready to quit smoking for good. This is an important and celebratory moment in your life, and it’s important to walk into it with as much strength and conviction as possible.
Find Your Reason to Quit
The best motivation to quit any habit is to find what drives you. It could be to improve your health, save money, or protect your family from secondhand smoke. Whatever the reason, make sure that it’s strong enough to outweigh any urge that will compel you to light up.
Know Your Triggers
A person who quits smoking can experience cravings years after they have quit. Make a list of things that trigger your urge to smoke and reduce your contact with them as much as possible. Some triggers are unavoidable; for these moments, you’ll have to learn to manage by using healthy coping skills or replacement behaviors.
Set a Date That Works for You
Quitting smoking is a big decision that will come with trying times. Setting a quit date can let you prepare yourself for what’s to come. For some, setting a date can bring on negative feelings like anxiety or discouragement due to previous failed attempts. Think of those times as stepping stones on the road to success. Take into account what didn’t work for you the last time to avoid falling to the same obstacles.
Consider Using Medication
Quitting cold turkey isn’t right for everyone. It isn’t even always the recommended approach. Nicotine replacement products can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase your chances of kicking the habit. Because nicotine is so addictive, smokers who quit can experience serious withdrawal symptoms. Using medication to quit is not a sign of weakness; it’s designed to help you. If you’re unsure which options are best for you, consult with your doctor.
Be Prepared for Challenges
Although the urge to smoke doesn’t last long, those few minutes can feel like an intense eternity. Before you quit smoking, look for replacement behaviors or ways to occupy your time when urges arise. Some people use exercise to help blow off steam, while others listen to music to promote relaxation. You can also try reaching out to friends or family to help occupy your mind. Write down all the ways you can help yourself make it through moments of temptation unscathed, and be prepared to use one or even all of them when urges arise.
Get rid of it all – everything that reminds you of smoking and things that can set off the desire to smoke. Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette, throw away paraphernalia such as ashtrays and lighters. Clean any household items that smell like smoke to eliminate potential urges. If you smoked in your car, clean it out. One of the best things you can do to stay abstinent is to eliminate anything that reminds you of smoking.
Never Give Up
Most people make numerous attempts before they can successfully give up smoking for good. If you slip, don’t let that discourage you from quitting. Remember to treat those moments like steps on the path that you must walk to reach success. Think about what led you to relapse and remember to avoid that trigger next time, and each attempt will bring you closer to your goal.
Deciding to quit smoking takes some serious mental and physical strength. Whether it’s your first attempt to quit or your hundredth, never give up, because the rewards are too great to pass up. Quitting will improve your health in a wide variety of ways almost immediately, elevate your physical appearance, and can even lead to significant financial savings. Despite knowing the benefits, quitting smoking can challenge you to muster all your willpower and more. If you’re ready to take advantage of professional-grade resources to overcome the habit for god, reach out to Achieve Concierge. From the initial moment of quitting to managing withdrawal symptoms and prolonged urges, our mission is to provide you with the tools and skills you need to successfully navigate every step of this important transition. Achieve Concierge is committed to providing the highest level of mental wellness care with personalized service that is second to none. Call us today at (619) 393-5871 to learn more.