Why does it seem so hard to stop smoking?
causes changes in your body and in the way you act. The changes in your
body are caused by an addiction to nicotine. The changes in the way you
act developed over time as you bought cigarettes, lit them and smoked
them. These changes have become your smoking habit.
Immediate reasons to stop
- Bad breath and stained teeth
- Bad smell in clothes and hair and on skin
- Lower athletic ability
- Cough and sore throat
- Faster heartbeat and raised blood pressure
- Risk of passive smoking to people around you
- Cost of smoking
Long-term reasons to stop
- Toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke
- Risk of lung cancer and many other types of cancer
- Risk of heart disease
- Serious breathing problems
- Risk of stomach ulcers and acid reflux
- Risk of gum disease/li>
- Risk of damage to babies of pregnant women who smoke
- Setting a bad example for your children
How should I get ready to stop smoking?
stop date 2 to 4 weeks from now so you'll have time to get ready. Write
down your personal reasons for stopping. Be specific. Keep your list
with you so you can look at it when you feel the urge to smoke.
To help you understand your smoking habit, keep a diary of when and
why you smoke. Using information from this diary, you and your doctor
can make a plan to deal with the things that make you want to smoke.
Just before your stop date, get rid of all of your cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays.
How can I get support and encouragement?
your family and friends what kind of help you need. Their support will
make it easier for you to stop smoking. Also, ask your family doctor to
help you develop a plan for stopping smoking. He or she can give you
information on telephone hotlines or self-help materials that can be
very helpful. Your doctor can also recommend a stop-smoking program.
These programs are often held at local hospitals or health centers.
Give yourself rewards for stopping smoking. For example, with the money you save by not smoking, buy yourself something special.
What about stress and my urges to smoke?
have a habit of using cigarettes to relax during stressful times.
Luckily, there are good ways to manage stress without smoking. Relax by
taking a hot bath, going for a walk, or breathing slowly and deeply.
Think of changes in your daily routine that will help you resist the
urge to smoke. For example, if you used to smoke when you drank coffee,
drink hot tea instead.
What will happen when I stop smoking?
feel when you stop depends on how much you smoked, how addicted your
body is to nicotine and how well you get ready to stop smoking. You may
crave a cigarette or feel hungrier than usual. You may feel edgy and
have trouble concentrating. You also may cough more at first and you
may have headaches.
These things happen because your body is used to nicotine. They are
called nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms are strongest during
the first few days after you stop smoking, but most go away within a
What about nicotine replacement or medicine to help me stop smoking?
replacement products are ways to take in nicotine without smoking.
These products come in several forms: gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler
and lozenge. You can buy the nicotine gum, patch and lozenge without a
prescription from your doctor. Nicotine replacement works by lessening
your bodys craving for nicotine and reducing withdrawal symptoms. This
lets you focus on the changes you need to make in your habits and
environment. Once you feel more confident as a nonsmoker, dealing with
your nicotine addiction is easier.
A prescription medicine called bupropion SR (brand names: Zyban,
Wellbutrin SR) helps some people stop smoking. It is taken as a pill.
Bupropion SR does not contain nicotine, but it helps you resist your
urges to smoke.
Talk to your doctor about which of these products is likely to give
you the best chance of success. For any of these products to work, you
must carefully follow the directions on the package. It's very
important that you don't smoke while using nicotine replacement
Will I gain weight when I stop smoking?
people gain a few pounds after they stop smoking. Remember that any
weight gain is a minor health risk compared to the risks of smoking.
Dieting while you're trying to stop smoking will cause unnecessary
stress. Instead, limit your weight gain by having healthy, low-fat
snacks on hand and exercising on a regular basis.
What if I smoke again?
Don't feel like a
failure. Think about why you smoked and what you can do to keep from
smoking again. Set a new stop date. Many ex-smokers did not succeed at
first, but they kept trying.
The first few days after stopping will probably be the hardest. Just
remember that even one puff on a cigarette can cause a relapse, so
don't risk it.