How to Quit Smoking

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How to Quit Smoking

Smoking is implicated as a risk factor for many health problems, including:

  • Premature death: cigarette smoking is the single most important cause of premature death. Most premature deaths caused by smoking are due to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease.
  • Cancers of the upper respiratory tract, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, stomach, and pancreas; myeloid leukaemia.
  • Cerebrovascular disease, aortic aneurysm, and heart failure caused by coronary heart disease.
  • Peptic ulceration (gastric and duodenal).
  • Angina, peripheral arterial disease (including Buerger’s disease), macular degeneration, impotence, infertility, skin wrinkling, osteoporosis.
  • Increased severity of asthma, respiratory tract infections and diabetic retinopathy.
  • Passive smoking: exposure to environmental tobacco smoke causes an increased risk of smoking-related diseases, especially lung cancer and heart disease.
  • Children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, otitis media and chest infections in the first years of life.
  • Fetal exposure to maternal smoking increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth. Smoking in pregnancy may also affect the child’s physical growth and academic attainment may be reduced.

How to Quit-smoking basics

Tobacco is a killer. Smokers and other tobacco users are more likely to develop disease and die earlier than are people who don’t use tobacco

Nicotine is highly addictive, and to quit smoking — especially without help — can be difficult. In fact, most people don’t succeed the first time they try to quit smoking. It may take more than one try, but you can stop smoking.

Take that first step: Decide to quit smoking. Set a stop date. And then take advantage of the multitude of resources available to help you successfully quit smoking.

Quit-smoking action plan

Now that you’ve decided to quit smoking, it’s time to map out your quit-smoking action plan. One of the first steps of your quit-smoking action plan should be “Get support.”

Support can come from family, friends, your doctor, a counselor, a support group or a telephone quit line. Support can also come from use of one or more of the medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for smoking cessation.

Another key step in your quit-smoking action plan? Planning for challenges. For example, make a list of high-risk places you’ll want to avoid when you start your quit-smoking plan. Think of other places to go where smoking isn’t allowed, such as a shopping mall, a museum or movie theater.

Living smoke-free

What does living smoke-free mean? Living smoke-free is your opportunity to live a healthier and probably longer life. By the end of your first year, your risk of heart attack decreases by half. After 15 years, it’s almost the same as someone who never smoked. Living smoke-free can also mean better quality of life — with more stamina and a better ability to appreciate tastes and smells.

But living smoke-free doesn’t mean living stress-free. In fact, smokers often cite stress as a reason for relapsing. Instead of using nicotine to help cope with stress, you’ll need to learn new ways to cope. Be proactive. You can find out more about stress management online or at the library. For more help, talk with your doctor or a mental health provider.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Available methods of NRT include:

  • Patches
  • Gum
  • Nasal spray
  • Mouth spray
  • Inhalation cartridge
  • Lozenges
  • Sublingual tablets