Why Should I Stop Smoking?
Although most people understand that smoking is a harmful habit, people who smoke often have difficulty quitting. However, more than 16 million people in the US have a disease directly caused by smoking. Most people know smoking is linked to lung disease and cancer. But smoking can also cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, immune system problems, and rheumatoid arthritis. Consider these 3 tips to kick the habit for good.
1. Find your why
When making any significant lifestyle change, finding inner motivation is crucial. For some people, quitting smoking is about living longer. For others, kicking the habit is about saving money or sparing loved ones from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Before trying to quit, identify that reason why quitting is important. In difficult moments, many people benefit from repeating these reasons aloud or writing these reasons down.
2. Find alternate habits
Many people use smoking as a way to wind down and deal with stress. Try to find healthier alternatives for stress management. Exercise, meditation, journaling, or listening to music can all be helpful ways for dealing with anxiety or stress. Many people also benefit from speaking with a therapist or counselor who can help identify triggers and form alternate habits.
3. Identify triggers and find distraction
Many people link picking up a cigarette with specific activities. For example, some people always smoke at bars or while watching TV. Try to identify alternate habits or distractions to resist temptation. For example, try knitting or coloring while watching TV instead. When a craving strikes, try doing pushups or running up and down the stairs a few times until the intensity of the craving lessens.
How to cope with nicotine withdrawal
Nicotine withdrawal is no joke. Many people use nicotine replacements such as gum, patches, or lozenges, to get ahead of cravings. These products can be used for a few months to help people transition away from smoking instead of going cold turkey. A healthcare provider may even prescribe a medication to help with nicotine withdrawal. The bottom line about withdrawal? Ask for help. Withdrawal will be part of the process, so reach out and be prepared.
A healthier you
For many people, quitting smoking starts with speaking with a primary healthcare provider. These providers can connect people with local smoking cessation programs or support groups. They may also provide medications to help with nicotine withdrawal. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider.