A lot of smokers say, “Don’t tell me why to quit, tell me how.” Hopefully this information will provide you with the things you need to know about quitting smoking and tips on how to do it.
1. Smoking kills people.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. That means we can do something about it. There are approximately 45 million smokers in the U.S. and 1/2 of the people that smoke will die because of a smoking related illness. A smoker loses 10 years life expectancy compared to a non-smoker.
2. Quitting improves your health.
Another misconception is, “I’ve smoked my whole life so it won’t make a difference to quit now.” Within minutes of your last cigarette or tobacco usage your body starts to restore itself. Within 2 weeks-3 months of quitting smoking your lung function has already improved. After 1 year of quitting the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half. After 5 years the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. After 10 years of quitting the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half compared to a person that is still smoking. Even if you’re thinking that you will quit “one day,” smoking is highly addictive and why not start now?
3. Smoking is expensive.
$6.36 is the average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States. That’s more than a tank of gas. Not only is smoking a huge blow to the wallet, but with every pack of cigarettes, money is being lost for future health-related bills. For every $6.36 average you spend on a pack of cigarettes, that equals $35 health-related costs.
4. Because you can.
Quit because you can. Millions of people do each year. Quitting can be intimidating, seem impossible, or maybe you simply don’t want to give up your addiction. For a lot of people with cancer, smoking is a huge stress reliever. Quitting will be hard, but with a personalized plan of attack, you can quit.
Tips on How to Quit Smoking
If you are a person with cancer then you know that some things are out of your control, especially your cancer. However, quitting smoking is something you can do. It is a way to have some control over your body. For smokers, quitting can be a very long process, but it in the end it can be empowering. Here are some suggestions by WhatNexter’s who have quit smoking.
- Be realistic. Take it one day at a time; some found that making the decision day-by-day was easier than thinking about quitting forever.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Only 4-7% of people are able to quit smoking without outside forms of help.
- Patches have worked for several WhatNexter’s.
- Focus on ways to deal with your anxiety so that smoking will not be your first response.
- Use the Quit for Life program from the American Cancer Society. Quit for Life is a phone and web based program where you are matched with a quit coach who will help outline a personalized quit plan for you. This program has helped over 1 million smokers quit.
- Take the money you would spend on cigarettes and put it away towards something you wouldn’t normally buy. Some WhatNexter’s have purchased something extravagant and said they gained a lot of pleasure from quitting.
- Some WhatNexter’s carried an unopened pack of cigarettes with them for weeks but did not smoke them. This may not be a good idea for you if the temptation to smoke is too high, but for some WhatNexter’s it was good to have the security blanket and then eventually throw them out.
- Tell others that you are quitting so that they will hold you accountable. It is especially helpful to tell other friends that smoke so they remember not to offer you cigarettes or even smoke around you.
- The American Cancer Society identifies four key factors that may help you lay out a plan to quit smoking.
- Contact your local hospital many have smoking cessation program that are covered by insurance.
Some WhatNexter’s have quit cold turkey, some have taken months to quit, and some have only quit after a serious visit to the hospital caused by smoking. Whatever works for you, please plan a quit date sooner rather than later. Within minutes of your last cigarette, your body will start to restore itself and over time your risk of dying of lung cancer will decrease.
If you were a smoker, what advice would you give a person that is trying to quit for the first time? What unique things worked for you? Leave your comments below.