When it comes to heart health there is no bigger threat than smoking.
Smoking promotes blood clots, which can block blood flow to the heart, and it contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.
If you are smoker, it’s critical to your overall health to quit.
Quitting smoking is a difficult process. Our bodies become addicted, not only to the nicotine, but to the thousands of other chemicals in traditional cigarettes.
In addition to the physical addiction, many also become addicted to the social aspects or the habitual processes associated with smoking.
If you are a smoker, you typically have times of the day when you smoke more and other times when you smoke less. Even if you’re a light smoker, only lighting up in social situations, you still have a routine you associate with cigarettes.
Maybe you always have a cigarette after a meal. Or maybe you have a cigarette to curb your appetite or have one during times of increased stress. Regardless of the habit, we often have difficulties changing our routines.
To help break these smoking routines, it helps to have a strong will to say no and to replace the routine with a healthier habit. For example, say you usually smoke after you eat dinner. Instead of smoking try going for a walk around the neighborhood instead. With time you’ll find you’ll miss the old routine less the more you incorporate and stick to the new one.
Smoking Cessation Tools
Quitting cold turkey is a difficult way to kick the habit of smoking. Although the tactic works for some, many find it difficult to combat the physical and emotional connections they have to smoking.
Even if you know smoking is bad for you, some people still have difficulty telling themselves, “no.”
There are several different approaches to quitting smoking, and what works for one smoker, might not work for another.
One approach to quitting it to wean yourself off the physical and social habit of smoking by introducing small amounts of nicotine into your body at a time. There are patches you can wear, gum you can chew, and electronic cigarettes for those who find it difficult to break the hand-to-mouth habit that goes along with smoking.
If you try a smoking cessation tool to help you quit, the important thing to remember is the end goal.
You want to quit smoking, not just for your physical health but for your financial health, as well. You don’t want to substitute one bad habit for another. For example, if you try sucking on a piece of candy whenever you have the urge to smoke, you don’t want to eat so much candy that it causes damage to your mouth and teeth.
If you want to quit smoking, and you can’t go cold turkey, you need a plan. Be prepared to quit. Be dedicated to it. Set a quit date and follow through. Hold yourself accountable, but if you fail or slide, don’t give up. Pick yourself back up and try again. Sometimes it takes people several attempts before they actually stick to not smoking.
Talk About It
Don’t keep your desire to quit smoking a secret. Tell as many people about it as possible. Tell the lady at the gas station where you buy your cigarettes. Make her promise not to sell you any.
Tell your friends and family.
If you have friends or family who also smoke, ask them to help you quit. Better yet, rope them into quitting with you. There’s more support in a group.
Regardless, of your approach, you need to keep reminding yourself of your goal to help you stick to achieving it.
Quitting smoking is difficult. Reward yourself for hitting goals and milestones. Again, you don’t want to substitute one vice for another, but it’s important to pat yourself on the back from time to time. It’s not easy to get that smoking monkey off your back, and when you do, it’s critical for your mental health to celebrate.
As hard as it is to quit smoking, it’s easy to backtrack once you’ve quit. It starts slow at first. You feel confident you can quit. You feel the temptation is beneath you now, so you have a few puffs off a friends when you’re out for dinner and drinks. Then you move to bumming whole cigarettes, at first from friends then eventually from strangers. The next thing you know you’re buying a pack, possibly a carton.
Nicotine is a drug, and if you are a smoker, you are addicted to a very powerful drug.
After you have broken the cycle and quit smoking, you can’t afford to give yourself an inch because you very well could take a mile.
By quitting smoking you decrease your risk of heart disease and lung cancer, increase the size of your bank account, and help protect those around you by removing toxic second-hand smoke from the air. It might be difficult to kick the bad habit, but once you do, your quality of life will greatly improve.