The Easiest Ways To Quit Smoking
Smoking-related diseases claim the lives of 430,700 Americans each year; of these 430,700 Americans, 45,000 are Black. African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from chronic and preventable diseases compared to White Americans.
Of the three leading causes of death in African Americans — heart disease, cancer, and stroke — smoking and other tobacco use are major contributors to these illnesses. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), if current patterns continue, an estimated 1.6 million African Americans who are now under the age of 18 will become regular smokers. About 500,000 of those smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.
If you are a smoker, it’s time to quit. If you’re not a smoker, but you know someone who is, it’s time to urge him or her to quit. It won’t be easy. If it were, you probably would have already quit or convinced your loved one to do so. The difficulties of quitting this lethal habit are minimal in comparison to the health benefits. Use the following guidelines as a starting point to help you convert from smoker to nonsmoker:
1) Get mentally prepared. Think long and hard about all of the benefits of quitting. Imagine being free from the health risks, feeling fresh and having extra money to spend. Use these thoughts to gain motivation and confidence.
2) Devise a strategy. Pick a date to go smoke free and stick to it. Prepare for temptations. When do you smoke the most? What makes you want a cigarette? Either try to avoid situations that will manipulate you into smoking or think of healthy alternatives to smoking, like chewing gum. Also, try to gain the support of the people around you. Tell your co-workers that you are quitting, so they will stop inviting you on “cigarette breaks.”
3) Go smoke free! Throw away all of your cigarettes. Do not keep them around “just in case.” This will be too tempting. Be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms. The first few weeks are the worst. After awhile the symptoms will subside. Withdrawal symptoms are signs that your body is starting to recover. Here are a few of the withdrawal symptoms and ways to overcome them:
· Cravings – your brain is missing the nicotine fix, this should get better after a few weeks.
· Coughing – your lungs are clearing out tar. Try having a warm drink to soothe your cough.
· Hunger, diarrhoea or constipation – your body is just returning to normal, try to eat healthy snacks instead of junk food.
· Dizziness – your brain is getting used to having a normal amount of oxygen. Don’t worry, this should only last a few days.
· Trouble sleeping, bad moods – these are signs of nicotine withdrawal and shouldn’t last more than two or three weeks.
4) Don’t give up. Don’t fall victim to the “just one cigarette won’t hurt” theory. The idea is to quit completely, not quit just a little bit. You should be proud of yourself during every step of your journey. You are taking control of your life and your health. Remember you are in control, not nicotine.