You’ve probably heard an earful about the devastating short term and long effects of smoking. You are probably tired of seeing all the “smokers are liable to die young” tags and inscriptions. Your loved ones and friends might have been trying to get you to drop this habit. But try as they might, you just can’t seem to bring yourself to stop. The brutal truth is, smoking is hard to quit. It is a Sisyphean task. A large percentage of smokers are willing to quit, but only a few are able to commit to this resolve after several attempts.
10 REASONS & WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING
You might have attempted quitting in the past, but never pulled through. It doesn’t mean you are hopeless or a lost cause. You probably don’t have a reason or enough reasons to quit smoking, especially if you are still young. The threat of developing life-threatening illnesses at the later stage of your life may not be enough to conjure up feelings of fear and dread in you.
And if you aren’t so young, you might think “what’s the point of quitting after smoking for so many years, it is already too late”. But tell you what, Wheather old or young, willing to quit or not, it is never too late to redirect your steps and mindset and build a stronger resolve which you can actualize eventually. But to do this, you need an incentive, a motivation to prompt you into stubbing out those cigarettes for good.
Sometimes it is the smallest things that can motivate us into taking action. While the thought of life-threatening diseases like cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease may not be enough reason to incite your resolve to quit, other smaller and “seemingly inconsequential” reasons can. Here are 10 reasons that can motivate you to stop barbecuing your lungs and some ways you can implement quitting for good!!.
1.QUIT AND SMELL BETTER
A chronic smoker is always heralded by the unpleasant smell of smoke. The accompanying smokey smell might even be too strong for perfumes to douse. This smell is likely to earn you people’s veiled or unveiled disapproval when you are around them. Some people may make their disapproval so apparent by turning up their nose at you in disgust once you pass by them or open your mouth to talk. This isn’t a reputation you want to uphold!!! Quitting means you can get rid of the smell of smoke on your clothes, hair and breath, and stop being a discomfort to others.
2.REGAIN YOUR SENSE OF TASTE AND SMELL
Smoking doesn’t only make you smell like burnt wood, it takes away your ability to smell and taste properly too. Most smokers don’t enjoy the taste of foods like non-smokers and neither do they appreciate the smell of things like the average person. Smoking affects the sense of smell which in turn affects the sense of taste. You may not realize that you have a diminished sense of the foods you are eating or things you are smelling until you quit.
The instant recovery of your sense of taste and smell after quitting is a mind-blowing experience. Quit smoking and enjoy your favorite foods to the fullest. Quit, so you can enjoy the smell of roses, scented candles, and the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee.
- SAVE MONEY
Smoking is shockingly expensive, but most smokers already know this. A pack of cigarettes can cost between $5 and $10 on average. Double this amount by the pack of cigarettes a smoker smokes per day and the cost of healthcare for smoke-related illness and we will arrive at an exorbitant amount that isn’t worth accumulating on something so harmful as cigarettes, especially in today’s crumbling economy. Think of all the beneficial ways you could put this money to use and quit to save yourself some good money for more beneficial purposes.
Also Read: Vaping Vs Cigarette, which is safer?
- PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES AND OTHERS
It is no longer news that second-hand smoke is pernicious. The cancer research, UK estimates that about 11,000 deaths are caused by second-hand smoke in the UK, every year. The American lung association also states that 480,000 deaths are caused by second-hand smoking in the US, yearly. That’s a huge number of preventable deaths. Imagine being the cause of some of these deaths. Imagine losing your loved one, all because you couldn’t stop smoking.
That’s a burden of conscience you wouldn’t want to carry with you all your life. And there is no excuse for being careful, the NHS explicitly states that a large volume of second-hand smoke is invisible and odorless, so no matter how careful one is, your loved ones will inevitably breathe in toxins from the smoke. So it is best to stop exposing people and your loved ones to puffs of cigarette smoke by bidding farewell to smoke.
- LOOK AND APPEAR BETTER
Everyone wants to look their best. There is a reason why we almost always stare at the mirror and gauge our appearance. Sometimes we are satisfied with what we see and some other times we blame the mirror. But smokers have no one to blame for their stained nails, teeth, and premature wrinkles, other than tobacco. It has been found that quitting smoking can reverse the effects of premature aging very quickly.
Smoking causes skin biochemical changes that lead to wrinkles and other aging effects. In essence, smoking makes you age in appearance. You sure wouldn’t enjoy looking like a 50-year-old grandpa when you are just 30. The tar from smoking also darkens your fingers and face, plus the inhalation action causes a strain to the muscles of your mouth, hence the appearance of mouth wrinkles. However, It is not too late to polish your looks and appearance, just drop the cigarettes!!
- IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP PROSPECTS
The honest truth is that, if a non-smoker was asked to make a relationship choice between a smoker and a non-smoker, they’d pick the latter in a heartbeat. If you are familiar with most dating sites or advertisements, the relationship seekers often make it clear that smokers should not attempt to contact them. The bottom line is that smoking narrows your relationship prospects, people are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke, and would rather not risk condoning such behavior from their future partners.
- KEEP FERTILITY PROBLEMS AT BAY
Smoking may not only interfere with your relationship prospects, but it can disrupt your reproductive mechanism as well. It can contribute to cases of erectile dysfunction and low sperm count, which can hinder male fertility. In women, it can reduce the quality of eggs and cause a range of problems during pregnancy. It can cause miscarriage, abnormal bleeding, and premature birth. It may also affect the unborn child who may end up developing several illnesses later in life. If you care a lot about your fertility status or your unborn child(in the case of pregnant women), now will be a good time to stop smoking.
- BECOME MORE FIT
Smokers often report low and diminished physical activity. They find it difficult to carry out simple exercises like jogging and taking long walks. Even climbing the stairs might prove difficult. This is because smoking in itself causes overworking of the heart and lungs which translates to low energy levels.
Smokers often feel short of breath because their lung capacity is greatly reduced. Quitting smoking will enable you to breathe better and carry out your favorite sports, perform exercises, and do physical activities without overwhelming physical exhaustion or wheezing.
- HAVE BETTER SEX
Sex is important in any relationship and smoking can get in the way of sexual performance. Smoking restricts effective blood circulation which can hinder erection and sensitivity. Quitting will drastically improve blood circulation which can translate to better erections and more orgasms in women.
Also Read: Marijuana for Cancer
- STAY OFF INFECTIONS
It’s a given that smoking exposes one to long term health complications, but most people aren’t aware that smoking also makes one vulnerable to colds and flu and other viral and bacterial infections. Cigarette smoke compromises the body’s cilia which is responsible for trapping harmful bacteria and viruses and prevents them from causing us harm.
A defective cilium means more infections. Maybe you now have the answer as to why you are always getting the flu and other infections, it is the cigarettes!!! Once you quit, your cilia will start working properly again and you will be less susceptible to infections.
HOW TO QUIT SMOKING
We’ve talked about the importance of having an incentive to quit smoking and mentioned some possible reasons that can motivate one to drop the harmful habit. So it will only be right to shed some light on how to transform those reasons into proactive measures that will eventually lead to a complete cessation of the unwholesome act.
To quit smoking is no walk in the park. In fact, having a solid enough reason and motivation to do so, is only one step among many. Here are some effective tips that can help you navigate your path to being smoke-free.
Have a game plan
Once you’ve made the resolve to stop smoking, decide on how and when you want to quit. Pick a day that you will quit and decide if to quit abruptly or gradually. Both methods work effectively. Make these preparations against your quit day as suggested by the American Cancer Society :
- Throw away your cigarettes and ashtrays. Do not leave even a trace behind.
- inform your friends, colleagues, or loved ones about your decision so they can step in to encourage you further or reinforce your decision when your resolve starts to wane.
- Stock up on oral replacements like candies, carrot sticks, cinnamon sticks, and sugarless gums, straws, and toothpicks.
- Decide which method of quitting will best suit your interest, either Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT) or quit smoking aids (NRTs, medication, and E-cigarettes), or a stop-smoking class.
- Resist external temptation to smoke by always saying “no thank you, I don’t smoke” when offered.
- Create a support system, either a quit smoking club or a friend or family member who has towed the same path and is willing to help you succeed as they did.
- If you are using a quit smoking medication, take your dose religiously up until your quit day.
- Finally, if you’ve attempted to stop quitting in the past and failed, reflect on what worked and what didn’t and take note.
Resist the urge to smoke
It is almost inevitable not to have tobacco cravings while trying to quit. It is especially worse on your quit day/the first day. Once the cravings set in, delay and resist. The urge usually passes within 3 to 5 minutes and may come intermittently. Keep on delaying as it comes. Take deep relaxing breaths and imagine your lungs filling with air. Sip water sip by sip to extinguish the cravings. And distract yourself from the craving thoughts, you can go for a stroll or listen to soothing music.
Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
What most smokers struggle with while trying to quit is nicotine dependence. It is very difficult to fight off the craving for nicotine (which is the major substance found in tobacco). NRTs are products designed to help you stave off these cravings by supplying your body with a measured dose of nicotine without the added toxins of other substances found in tobacco.
NRT products approved by the U. S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include skin patches, lozenges, chewing gum, nasal sprays, and inhalers. Nasal sprays and inhalers are to be used only on prescription bases. Nicotine patches have been found to be very effective after they were sent to willing quitters for free. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, sent 500 people free patches to quit smoking after they signified interest to stop smoking.
The smokers who were not given any form of counseling reported high 30-day abstinence from smoking which was twice as high as those who weren’t given any patches. The researchers concluded that sending willing quitters free NRT patches might actually motivate them to quit smoking. Several other studies too arrived at the same conclusion. So if your loved one or someone you know is struggling to quit, consider sending them free NRT patches.
USE ANTI-SMOKING MEDICATIONS
The FDA has approved two medications that do not contain nicotine to serve as a quit smoking aid. The drugs are Bupropion(Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix). These are prescription drugs that are not to be used without a doctor’s supervision. Zyban works by stifling the chemicals in the brain that play a role in nicotine cravings. The drug helps with nicotine withdrawal symptoms by suppressing cravings for nicotine.
Chantix on the other hand acts on nicotine receptors in the brain and work to reduce the feelings of pleasure that is derived from tobacco use. It also helps with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Side effects may include mood and behavior changes, aggression, and suicidal thoughts. Ensure to check in with your doctor or health care provider before using any of these drugs
Trying to battle nicotine dependence on your own may be challenging and even futile. Nicotine dependence is no joke and you may need external support to help you wade through this devastating phase. You can opt for counseling services, quit smoking help support groups, support services, and self-help materials to help you weather the storm.
Counseling services and support groups provide behavioral therapy either individually or as a group, although individual counseling is the most effective. Meetings and support programs can be done online or offline.
The National Cancer Institute also provides support to people who are trying to quit smoking. You can also download a quit smoking app to help you through your journey. Some of the best quit smoking apps include Cessation Nation, Quit Now, Kwit, Smoke-Free, and MyQuit Coach.
HOW TO QUIT SMOKING COLD TURKEY
The cold turkey method of quitting smoking is to abstain from the use of nicotine products and medication to stop smoking. It also means quitting abruptly instead of gradually. Research seems to suggest that smoking cessation using the cold turkey method can produce long-term smoking abstinence than other methods.
However, It is a bit difficult to quit using this method as the nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms are usually more intense and difficult to deal with(without NRT and medication). And on the upside, withdrawal symptoms may be intense but they don’t usually last long as compared to when using NRT or medication.
Identifying your smoking habits, emotional and social triggers, and working around them can help you through this process. Here are some tips to help you conquer the cold-turkey method of being smoke-free.
- Cut off all activities you associate with smoking or that usually makes you want to have a cigarette. These may include prior or post-sex, watching TV, lunch breaks, and drinking alcohol.
- Identify the emotions that usually instigate the need for a cigarette( such as anxiety, euphoria, boredom, and stress) and find ways to cope with these emotions without having to smoke.
- Avoid parties, clubs, or any other social gatherings that involve smoking and drinking.
- Distract yourself when the cravings kick in by taking a walk or doing something that absorbs your mind.
VAPING TO QUIT SMOKING
Vaping is the use of vapes or e-cigarettes as an aid for smoking cessation. These E-cigarettes are devices that contain a less harmful amount of nicotine in vaporized form as opposed to tobacco smoke. The vapes heat a solution of nicotine and vegetable glycerine (or propylene glycol) and flavoring agents which are inhaled as vapor.
This vapor does not contain carbon monoxide which is the most harmful constituent of tobacco. They are considered to be 95% less harmful than the usual cigarettes. It is estimated that thousands of people in the UK have successfully quit cigarette smoking with the help of vapes.
It is even more effective when combined with physical behavioral support.E-cigarettes are of different types. These are; vape pens, mods, pod systems, and Cigalikes. The pen and pod are considered the best vape to quit smoking. They produce smaller vapor clouds and higher nicotine. Nicotine in itself is not harmful, but very addictive.
DO THESE QUIT SMOKING METHODS WORK?
Cream of tartar to quit smoking: There is information erroneously making the rounds that cream of tartar mixed with orange juice will flush nicotine from your body system and help you become smoke-free faster. This has been found to be false.
The major argument of this news article is that smoking causes hypokalemia, which is a medical condition that is characterized by low levels of potassium in the body. Again, this is a false claim because smoking does not reduce potassium levels in the body.
On the contrary, there is even evidence to suggest that the cream of tartar can cause hypokalemia. So yes, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of cream of tartar or cream of tartar mixed with orange juice as a quit smoking aid.
Hypnosis to quit smoking: Hypnosis is a trance-like state of mind that resembles sleep, but that is induced. It is believed that when someone is in this state, you could convince them to do or believe anything. During a hypnotic session for smokers, the hypnotherapist conjures up the unpleasant effects of smoking in the person’s mind by talking to them.
They may also ask the smoker to imagine the devastating outcomes of smoking. There are conflicting studies about the effectiveness of this method in smoking cessation. There is mostly just anecdotal evidence to verify it’s effectiveness.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO QUIT SMOKING?
This is a frequently asked “smoker’s” question. To quit smoking is to take on a challenging task, but the good news is, your body automatically begins to undergo reformative processes once you start depriving yourself of nicotine and carbon monoxide (Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been smoking). Withdrawal effects usually set in 2-3 days after quitting. Below is a typical Quit smoking timeline
- After 72 hours: Nicotine is flushed out of the body (although it may take up to 10 days in some people).
- 2-3 days: Withdrawal effects set in and may last for 1-3 months
In summary, withdrawal symptoms tend to disappear after three months of smoking cessation Most people begin to feel better after a week of quitting but it takes 2-3 months to make a complete recovery. In essence, the average time frame to get over nicotine dependency for most smokers is 3 months. However other symptoms like low energy levels and irritability may take longer to overcome.