Perhaps you are already aware that smoking is bad for your lungs. It also makes it more likely for you to get high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
The nicotine found in cigarette smoke is a huge part of the problem. It increases your blood pressure as well as heart rate, narrows your arteries, hardens their walls, and increases your blood’s risk of clotting. It stresses your heart and puts you in a condition of a potential heart attack or stroke.
If you smoke, make quitting your first health priority. It is life-saving. Not a smoker? Remember that secondhand smoke is still quite risky to your health.
How to Quit Smoking
Prepare and get support. Maximize these tips to get started:
- Write down the reasons you want to quit. Read the list daily.
- Pick a date to stop smoking and tell your doctor about it.
- Also note the things that trigger you to smoke. Only in particular situations? With certain people? When you feel specific emotions?
- Make a list of activities worth doing in placement of smoking. Save it on your phone as it’s handy.
- Join a quit-smoking group or program.
- Discuss with your doctor about the impact of nicotine gum or patches. Some people find them helpful.
- Don’t carry any lighter, matches, or cigarettes. Keep these reminders out of sight.
- Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a straw or pencil, drum on the dashboard of your car’, or scroll through your phone.
- Are you living with a smoker? Ask them not to smoke around you.
- Don’t focus on the things you have given up. Reflect on how much healthier you will be.
- Do your best to avoid places, people, and situations that make you want to smoke.
- When you feel the urge to smoke cigarette, take a deep breath. Hold it for a while, and then slowly exhale. Do this a couple of times, until the urge to smoke passes.
- Take a walk or read a book instead of a cigarette break.
- If you crave cigarettes, eat low-calorie foods (like carrot or celery sticks, or sugar-free hard candies) or chew sugarless gum.
- It’s an exciting way to relax. You may want to start a fitness program before you quit.
- Avoid or reduce drinking alcohol and caffeine. They can trigger cravings to smoke.
- Get support. Talk to people around that your goal is to quit the habit.
- With your doctor, make a plan on using over-the-counter or prescription nicotine-replacement products.
How Will I Feel When I Quit?
Initially, it’s so challenging. You will probably crave cigarettes, feel irritable, feel extra hungry, get headaches, cough often, or have trouble concentrating. These are signs of nicotine withdrawal. It gets to the strongest level you first quit and will go away between 10 and 14 days.
In the first few days, work hard to stay in control. Always remember your goal. Remind yourself that these are symptoms that your body is experiencing healing and adapting to your new life without smoking.
Most people try to quit three times before it lasts. Hang in there! It will be worth it when you can confidently say you used to smoke.