Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Quit Smoking Forever

Even occasional smoking can cause health problems.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Tobacco use accounts for nearly one in five deaths. Quitting smoking now can result in immediate benefits for your health. Every cigarette you smoke damages your lungs, blood vessels and cells throughout your body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make a Game Plan

Planning when and how you're going to quit can be a big help when it comes to quitting, according to HelpGuide.org. Pick a date within the next month and let your family members and close friends know when you plan on quitting. Decide whether you're going to quit abruptly on your end date or if you're going to taper down in the days before you quit. Most people choose to quit abruptly, but if you don't think that will work for you, try smoking only half of a cigarette when a craving strikes for a week or two before your quit date. Get rid of all of your cigarettes before your quit date -- don't keep extras around just in case. It's easier to avoid slipping in a moment of weakness if you have cigarettes around.

Make a List of Reasons to Quit

Making a list of the reasons why you want to quit can make quitting for good easier. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists overall better health, a greater sense of control and lack of addiction, setting a good example for your children and protecting loved ones around you from potentially harmful second-hand smoke as common reasons smokers want to quit. The reason you want to quit isn't important as long as it really is a motivating factor in your decision to quit. People with a reason to quit are often more successful in their efforts.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy is beneficial for many longtime smokers with a strong physical addiction to nicotine. Common over-the-counter nicotine replacements include chewing gum, lozenges and patches that release nicotine into your bloodstream. Nasal sprays and medications in pill form are also available from your doctor. Whichever nicotine replacement system you choose, always follow your doctor and the manufacturer's instructions when using nicotine replacement products designed to help you quit.

Get Help

If you want to quit smoking, you don't have to do it alone. Many areas have support groups that meet in person. If you can't find a support group in your area or don't have time for in-person groups, there are online groups and telephone groups that can assist you in quitting. For some people, simply being able to talk about the difficulty of quitting smoking can help ward of cravings, even if those cravings strike a long time after your last cigarette.

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