Smoking Cessation: What is Smoking and What Does It Do?
Smoking harms almost every organ in the body. It leads to many kinds of cancer: lung, mouth, esophageal, stomach, pancreas, kidney, and bladder. Smoking damages cells lining the heart and blood vessels and makes blood clots form easily. These effects increase chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Smokers are four times more likely than nonsmokers to die of heart disease. Smoking increases the risk of aortic aneurysm (swelling of a main artery) and circulation problems.
Cigarette smoke damages the lungs and causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, or emphysema and chronic bronchitis). Smokers get colds and chest infections (pneumonia) more often.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Other smoking-related health problems include mouth problems, sexual problems (men), thinning of bones after menopause (women), and stomach ulcers.
Smoking Cessation: Benefits of Quitting
After quitting smoking, the levels of the poisonous gas carbon dioxide in the blood decrease to normal. Between 2 and 12 weeks, lungs start to work better and the risk of heart attack decreases. Coughing and shortness of breath may take 1 to 9 months to improve. After 1 year, heart disease risk falls by half. After 15 years, risks of heart disease and stroke will be normal. After 10 years, the risk of getting lung cancer is half that of a continuing smoker.
Smoking Cessation: How To Quit
Quitting isn’t easy. Nicotine is addictive. People can have withdrawal symptoms (irritability, restlessness, sleep problems), but these go away after a few days.
Certain methods double the chances of success. Counseling can be individual, group, or telephone-based. The doctor, local hospital, or health center can advise about free support programs. Nicotine replacement therapy involves approved gums, patches, sprays, inhalers, and lozenges that have specific amounts of nicotine. Both over-the-counter and prescription preparations are available. Drugs include bupropion, which is a prescription antidepressant, and varenicline, which is an effective prescription pill that can reduce the urge to smoke. It works for 44% of people who take it for the full 12 weeks.
Smoking Cessation: Tips To Quit Permanently
1. Set a date for quitting.
2. Prepare yourself mentally. Think about how you will deal with cravings and temptation. Focus on why you want to give up.
3. Throw out all your cigarettes.
4. Ask friends and family for support.
5. Change your routine for a while to avoid situations that tempt you to smoke.
6. Chew gum or eat fruit or vegetables to distract yourself from the urge to smoke.
7. Think about getting counseling or joining a support program.
8. Call your doctor if you need a prescription for a smoking cessation product.
9. Call your doctor if you have medicine side effects.
10. Don’t let yourself smoke at all once you’ve quit, not even just one.
11. Don’t be discouraged if you fail. Most people try several times before they quit successfully.