Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stop Smoking Record

Quit Smoking Checklist

People choose to quit smoking for a variety of personal and health-related reasons. Although it is a difficult challenge, kicking the habit will reap great immediate and long-term rewards. Once you have made the decision to quit smoking, follow the steps below to begin the journey toward a healthier lifestyle.


1. Prepare for the challenge. According to the government website Smoke Free, many ex-smokers admit that quitting was one of the hardest things they have ever done. Set a "quit date" within the next two weeks to emotionally prepare yourself for the task. Share with your friends and family and establish a support network. Understand the withdrawal feelings you may experience, such as depression, insomnia, headaches and hunger. Learn about the medical complications associated with smoking through the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society or Center for Disease Control and Prevention for additional motivation. Consult your medical doctor or call a hotline (see Resources) to help customize a plan of action.

2. Commit to your Quit Date. On your chosen day to quit smoking cigarettes, dispose of all cigarettes in your home, purse, car and workplace, and do not have any more cigarettes. Keep busy with exercise, work and activity. Go to places where smoking is banned-- such as the mall, library, movies or place of worship. Drink lots of water all day long. Check-in with your support network-- friends, family or an organized group-- to help you during the day. Carry a pencil in case you feel the need to have something in your hand; for your mouth, try chewing gum, a lollipop or flavored toothpick. If you are taking withdrawal medication, follow all directions and consult your doctor as needed.

3. Redirect your smoking urges. It is natural to feel an overwhelming need to smoke, especially in the beginning. When the desire strikes, practice meditative breathing exercises and positive visualization techniques. Try new activities to keep you busy-- such as biking, swimming, walking, gardening or needlepoint-- as these activities keep both your body and mind busy. Understand that withdrawal urges are natural; call a supportive friend for ongoing encouragement. Don't let yourself be tempted by rationalizations-- such as "it's just one puff" or "I'm having a bad day." Stay positive. If the symptoms are extremely difficult, consult your doctor and discuss withdrawal medication options.

4. Stay mindful of the rewards. Remind yourself often about the immediate benefits your body is experiencing now that you have quit smoking. Your teeth are whiter, your breath fresher and your fingernails less yellow. You have more money in your pocket. Your senses of taste and smell have become stronger and more alive. Despite coughing that may occur following your quit date, your lungs are clearing and breathing will become easier. According to the American Cancer Society, within two weeks after quitting, your blood pressure will be lowered, your carbon monoxide level will return to normal and your blood circulation will improve. Additionally, remember that quitting smoking dramatically reduces the risk of death from heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and many other dangerous diseases and conditions. Revisit the American Cancer Society's website for additional resources.

5. Eliminate or reduce triggers. Many smokers associate smoking with other things, such as driving and drinking alcohol or coffee. Understand that these things may ignite cigarette cravings and try to reduce your trigger exposure to reduce the temptation. Ask friends, coworkers and family not to smoke around you.

6. Seek out additional quitting methods. Some smokers have found success in kicking their habit with the help of hypnosis, thought field therapy, counseling, support groups, medication, nicotine patches, gum, inhalers or nasal spray, acupuncture, laser therapy or nutritional herbs. Consult your doctor to customize a treatment plan.

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