So you have decided to quit smoking.
Getting yourself off tobacco is probably one of the best things you can do for your health.
But we understand it’s not that easy.
Getting ready to quit smoking can be overwhelming and that’s why we’re here to help.
Here’s a checklist that will help you prepare for your first few days without a puff:
Remember Why You’re Quitting
Every person has a reason why they decide to quit.
The reason, inspiration or motivation varies from person to person.
Everyone’s story is unique and so must be yours.
Think about your reason; what is your motivation to quit. Keep it close to your heart.
Use it as a north star to remind yourself why you decided to quit in the first place.
It can help you stay motivated even when the strongest of cravings stand in your way to a smoke-free life.
Set Your Quit Date
When you set your quit date, you have a timeframe to prepare yourself for the journey.
It is important to keep you accountable for your decision.
The date you set depends on your mental strength.
While tomorrow might be too soon, don’t wait too long as well.
The recommended date would be a month after you finally decide to quit.
A month gives you enough time to be ready yet isn’t too far away to get you off track of your goal.
There is no right day, just choose a convenient day and keep yourself motivated.
Fight Smoking Triggers
Triggers cause you to crave for a smoke.
Each person’s triggers are different and they can arise from anywhere.
Most smokers share some common triggers like the morning cup of coffee, driving to work, having a beer, afternoon break with co-workers, after lunch, etc.
These triggers give rise to learned behaviors which make cravings more intense.
Identifying your triggers and being ready for them is one of the best quit smoking tips.
Knowing these triggers can make you less vulnerable to giving in to the temptations and slipping up.
Amazing Benefits Of Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking is no easy journey and if you’ve been smoking for a while you may even wonder if quitting is worth it.
Will managing cravings and nicotine withdrawal be too much to handle?
If the damage is already done, will it really make a difference?
No matter what stage of quitting you’re at, it’s a journey worth undertaking.
You’re not just reaping the health benefits when you quit smoking; the positive social and financial implications are just as high.
Health Benefits Of Quitting Smoking
Better Heart Health
Smoking is the leading cause of heart attacks and heart disease and you can significantly improve your heart health simply by quitting smoking.
Quitting lowers the levels of cholesterol and fats circulating in your blood, which will help slow down the buildup of new fatty deposits in your arteries.
When you quit smoking, your blood becomes thinner and the chances of dangerous clot formation reduce.
In fact, quitting smoking can lower your risk of coronary heart disease to the levels of non-smokers, over a period of time.
Improved Respiratory Function
When you quit smoking, the cilia, the tiny hairs in your nasal passageway and other parts of the respiratory tract that filter out dust when you breathe, are the first to regrow and regain normal function.
This means you are literally breathing easier and clearer soon after you quit smoking.
Your lungs also become stronger when you quit; you will find that it gets progressively easier to climb up a flight of stairs without losing breath and fit in a more productive workout without feeling drained of energy.
Smoking suppresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to illness.
Not only does it make you particularly susceptible to respiratory infections, but it can also trigger autoimmune responses in which your immune system attacks your own lung tissue.
Quitting smoking cuts out exposure to tar and nicotine, enabling your immune system to regain its strength.
Your white blood cell count also returns to normal, and blood flow improves, enabling better nutrient absorption and quicker wound healing.
Stronger Muscles And Bones
Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor for osteoporosis and studies show a direct link between tobacco use and decreased bone density.
Quitting smoking helps your bones gain strength and reduces your risk of getting fractures.
Cutting out cigarettes also improves the oxygen levels in your blood, making your muscles healthier and stronger.
Research shows that just quitting smoking can help you gain muscle mass and strength.
Quitting smoking breaks the cycle of addiction and can potentially rewire your brain.
After about a month of quitting, a large number of nicotine receptors in your brain return to normal levels.
As your senses get sharper, you will have improved hearing and vision, and food will taste and smell better.
Lower Risk Of Cancer
Quitting smoking is the best way to lower your risk of getting cancer.
Research indicates that five years after quitting, the risk of developing lung cancer in former heavy smokers dropped by 39% compared to current smokers and continued to drop with time.
When you quit smoking you lower your risk of getting not just lung cancer, but at least 13 other kinds of cancer including cancer of the throat, mouth, stomach and pancreas.
Improved Hormone Health
Quitting smoking helps control your blood sugar levels and restores your estrogen levels to normal.
This helps reduce your risk of diabetes. If you’re a woman, quitting smoking improves your chances of a healthy pregnancy in the future.
Quitting smoking is associated with reduced stress, depression and anxiety.
You’ll see a definite drop in your stress levels when you quit smoking and as a result, you’ll also find yourself sleeping better.
Improved Life Expectancy
Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than non-smokers.
Research clearly shows an increase in life expectancy among those who quit smoking, even those who quit later in life.
Although life expectancy was shortened by more than 10 years among current smokers compared to non-smokers, adults who quit smoking before the age of 40 regained almost all of those lost years.
Quitting while you’re younger will give you added health benefits, but quitting at any age will give you back the years of your life you stand to lose by continuing to smoke.
Financial Benefits Of Quitting Smoking
Smoking is a drain on your finances, and over the years it just adds up.
Every cigarette you don’t smoke is an investment not just towards your health, but also the health of your finances (Savings Calculator).
Cigarettes are expensive and when you cut them out, you can save up instead for the better things in life like travel, food, hobbies, and experiences.
Social Benefits Of Quitting Smoking
Cutting out cigarettes improves your oral health as well as the appearance of your teeth.
Quitting is also great for your skin; smoking negatively affects the skin by depriving it of oxygen and nutrients.
What’s more, you also smell better, because your clothes and hair no longer reek of smoke!
Did you know that quitting smoking is better than anti-aging lotion?
Quitting clears up blemishes and protects your skin from premature aging.
You Are Safeguarding Your Loved Ones
Do you really need a better reason to quit than protecting the health of your loved ones?
Smoking exposes those closest to you to a range of potential illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and meningitis.
If you’re a parent, quitting will also reduce the likelihood of your children taking up smoking themselves.
There are no negative consequences of quitting smoking, only benefits.
If you smoke, you know that quitting is only going to make things better.
And right now is a great time to start.
If you’d like more information, additional support (FAQs) or would like to speak to one of our trained counselors, reach out to us today.
Self Help Tips To Help You Quit Smoking
If you smoke, you’ve probably heard this a million times before: you should think about quitting.
It’s easier said than done though.
We all know the health risks of smoking but that doesn’t make it any easier to give up cigarettes.
Quitting smoking is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face, but- and you probably already know this- it is worth it.
Read on for our best-ever tips on how you can quit smoking:
Plan Your Quit
The first step is to accept that quitting smoking is not easy.
But it can be done. What you need is a plan that works for YOU.
Read up all you can about quitting and talk to your doctor about the various quit options open to you.
Think about whether you want to reduce to quit or stop all at once.
Then, set a quit date. Choose a date to quit smoking, within the next two weeks, and stick to it.
This is a great way to mentally prepare yourself for quitting, without losing your motivation to quit.
Try to pick a time when you have less stress in your life, so you can focus on quitting.
Find Your Reason
Ask yourself what your most compelling motivation to quit is.
Choose a reason that will be strong enough to resist the urge to light up.
Invest some time in identifying a powerful, personal reason to quit.
It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke.
Or lower your risk of getting lung cancer or cardiac disease or other harmful hazards of smoking.
It could be one reason or many. Write it all down so you have a visual affirmation of why you want to quit.
Tell your friends, family and loved ones that you are trying to quit and enlist their support.
If you don’t have a large social network, your doctor and other healthcare professionals can provide support.
You can also join a support group or talk to a counselor.
Those who are close to you will go that extra mile to support you in your quitting journey.
They know that you are doing something amazing!
Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) uses a therapeutic dose of nicotine through product forms such as nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches so you can manage nicotine withdrawal and cravings while staying committed to quitting cigarettes.
It enables you to step down your dependence on cigarettes gradually.
Nicotine replacement therapy can help you cope with the tough physical withdrawal symptoms, so you can focus on the psychological aspects of quitting smoking.
Studies have shown that using nicotine replacement therapy can increase your chances of quitting smoking by 50%.
Identify What Makes You Crave A Cigarette
Learn how to identify your triggers including specific situations, activities, people and feelings, and figure out the best strategies to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Identifying your triggers will help you figure out ways to eliminate or limit them.
Cravings usually last 5-10 minutes, so figure out ways to keep yourself busy when a craving strikes so you don’t give in to the urge to smoke.
You could try getting out in the fresh air for some time, calling a friend, hopping into the shower or running up and down the stairs.
Give Yourself A Break
Find ways to help you relax and unwind so you’re not tempted to turn to smoking.
Physical activity is a great way to deal with the stress of quitting.
Take up running, swimming, cycling or join a Zumba class; you’ll keep cravings at bay while burning calories and keeping fit.
You can also try meditation, listening to soothing music, making time for a hobby or treating yourself to a massage.
Quitting smoking can be hard and it is also a process, not a one-time event.
Take your quit journey one day at a time and stay positive to help you get through it.
Don’t give up and don’t lose your faith in quitting.
It may seem tempting at times to just throw caution to the winds and have that one puff, but don’t do it.
Stop and think about your reason for quitting and all the positives that come with staying smoke-free.
In addition to the many health benefits of quitting smoking, it too has many financial benefits as well.
Celebrate yourself by spending the money you are saving by quitting smoking, on something rewarding and fun.
You are doing something incredible, so don’t forget to celebrate your wins, both big and small.
The Double P
Patience. Persistence. You’re going to need both these P’s to stay committed to your quitting journey.
Be accepting and forgiving of yourself even if you slip up managing relapse and try, try again.
Remember that time is on your side.
As soon as you quit, you start to get immediate benefits and they just build up over the years, adding to your lifespan.
Do Some Spring Cleaning!
Spring clean your way to a smoke-free start.
Do a complete detox of your health and your home.
Try to eat healthily; include more fresh fruits, green vegetables, lean protein and whole grains in your diet.
Avoid alcohol and cut back on caffeine.
Get moving with whatever form of exercise you prefer.
Stay hydrated with healthy fluids and make sure you’re getting enough sleep and are well-rested.
Spring clean your home, car and immediate surroundings to get rid of anything that reminds you of smoking.
Surround yourself with people you care about, who will stay with you on this journey.
What challenges can you expect when you quit smoking?
When you’re planning to quit smoking, it helps to be aware of what challenges you can expect along the way.
Nicotine addiction has physical, mental and social components and to stay smoke-free you’ll need to learn how to manage the challenges associated with each.
We are frequently asked questions about the common obstacles people face when they want to quit smoking.
Here’s a quick lowdown of what to expect when you give up cigarettes:
What kind of nicotine withdrawal symptoms will I have?
Nicotine is the main addictive substance in cigarettes and when you smoke regularly your body and brain get addicted to nicotine.
When you give up cigarettes, your body has to get used to not having nicotine, which is what causes withdrawal symptoms.
Craving cigarettes, feeling sad or irritable or having trouble sleeping are some of the common symptoms you can expect.
Less common symptoms include constipation, a feeling of dizziness, mouth ulcers or cold-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and sneezing.
Nicotine cravings are what you will deal with the longest so do your best to avoid triggers and draw up a plan to cope with smoking craving.
Withdrawal can be challenging but it helps to look at the symptoms as a sign that your body is recovering.
For most people, the worst symptoms last between a few days to a few weeks.
Nicotine replacement therapy can be helpful to manage withdrawal and deal with cravings.
It also helps to have a plan to deal with the challenges brought on by quitting that will help you stay smoke-free.
Will I feel emotional when I quit smoking? I’m worried about having to deal with anxiety and depression.
Making the decision to quit smoking is a big life change and it’s perfectly natural to experience heightened emotions during this stage.
You may feel irritable, angry, anxious and may experience feelings of depression.
Remember that the emotional upheaval is perfectly normal and is also just a passing phase.
Focus on the reason you want to quit and the many benefits of quitting smoking that you stand to gain, to stay committed to quitting and have the right perspective.
Building a support group of friends and family and speaking to a trained counselor will also help.
If you have a history of anxiety or depression, speak to your doctor about additional support to help you through this phase.
I’ve heard that most people put on a lot of weight when they quit smoking. Will that happen to me as well?
Quitting smoking is not always accompanied by weight gain but it is fairly common.
Cigarettes contain two chemicals, serotonin, and dopamine, that reduce hunger, so when you stop smoking your appetite will increase for a while.
A lot of people who are trying to quit also snack to fill the time instead of smoking.
What’s more, when you quit you may crave more sweets and carbs.
It helps to plan ahead and have healthy snacks on hand, so you can manage your diet better.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help as well because it has been shown to delay weight gain.
And if you do gain some weight, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Treat it as a temporary blip and remember that quitting smoking is only going to do wonders for your overall well being.
I want to quit but smoking is a big destresser for me. How will I cope with stress after I quit?
Managing stress will be one of the challenges you need to be mentally prepared for when you quit smoking.
Smoking is commonly perceived as a destresser but the reality is that the stress release smoking provides is only temporary.
Smoking doesn’t solve your problems, it only shifts your focus temporarily.
For most people, their stress levels reduce significantly six months after quitting.
Now that cigarettes are no longer an option, you will need to find different ways to deal with stress.
Nicotine gum and lozenges can help you quit smoking and along with that you can explore long term strategies like relaxation and deep breathing, meditation, increased physical activity, creative work or volunteering that you can integrate into your lifestyle.
Quitting smoking is not an easy journey and some of the challenges can be daunting.
Try to remember that this too shall pass and that you will feel better if you hang in there and quit for good.