Quit Smoking

Our bodies are good to us. They get us around, adapt to our changing environments and usually do whatever we ask them to do. Unfortunately, however, most of us take our bodies and our health for granted. While some consistently eat poor diets or don’t exercise, others smoke.

In fact, cigarette smoking alone is linked to 30 percent of all heart disease deaths. To start immediately improving your health, take steps to quit smoking today.

Health Benefits of a Smoking Cessation

The benefits of a smoking cessation start within 20 minutes of quitting and continue to grow with each year. Here’s a sample timeline of how your health improves once you give up smoking:

  • 20 minutes: Blood pressure and pulse rate drop. The body temperature in your hands and feet also increases due to improved blood circulation.
  • 8 hours: Oxygen levels in your blood increase back to normal, while the carbon monoxide levels drop to normal.
  • 24 hours: You have already decreased your risk of a heart attack.
  • 48 hours: Nerve endings begin to repair themselves. Your sense of smell and taste improve.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves, your lungs function better and it is easier for you to walk.
  • 1 to 2 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is half of what it was.
  • 5 years: Your stroke risk is reduced to a level similar to that of non-smokers.
  • 10 years: Your risk of lung cancer is half the risk of smokers. Your risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas cancer decreases. Your risk of ulcers also decreases.
  • 15 years: Your risks of coronary heart disease and death are reduced to levels similar to that of non-smokers.

How to Prepare to Quit Smoking

Some may be skeptical about their ability to quit smoking, either because they have failed to quit before or because they have been smoking for many years. Without a doubt, quitting smoking and breaking a nicotine addiction is an extremely difficult task. However, by setting up a plan and sticking to it, you can effectively quit smoking. Follow this acronym for five simple steps to help prepare you to quit smoking:

  • Schedule a quit date. Pick a day in your calendar that you will quit smoking.
  • Tell people. Tell your friends, family and co-workers that you plan on quitting smoking. You will be discouraged to smoke if the people around you know you are trying to quit. Also, you can use these people as a support system.
  • Anticipate and plan for setbacks. If you are serious about quitting smoking, plan ahead for stressful times when you may want to regress and pick up a cigarette. Similarly, avoid places that make you want to smoke.
  • Remove all tobacco products in your house, car, desk, office and anywhere else you may keep them. Throw them in the garbage and don’t keep any in your possession, as this will tempt you unncessarily.
  • Talk to a doctor. He can recommend programs or offer advice and help on quitting smoking.

Methods of Quitting Smoking

You can choose between a variety of methods and/or products to help you quit smoking. Ultimately, the best method is the one that you will stick with. Keep in mind that different methods or techniques will be more or less successful with different people. For example, while some people experience success with going “cold turkey” (completely quitting without the help of nicotine products), others may need to use the nicotine patch or certain medications to help them stop smoking.

Another possibility is gradual reduction, where you lessen the amount you smoke until you have kicked your smoking habit completely. Less popular, but still effective options include hypnosis, acupuncture and laser therapy. Any of these methods can be successful, as long as you remain committed to your goal.