Start a Program To Stop Smoking Now
Nicotine exposure poses serious risks to your heart and is linked to about one third of all deaths from heart disease. But, according to the American Heart Association, within one year of quitting, your risk of heart disease decreases by half.
It’s widely understood that smoking is a highly unhealthy habit, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 70% of adult smokers say they want to quit. But while more than half of the 21.5 million smokers in the United States report trying to quit, only 7.5% have successfully done so.
Although tobacco and nicotine dependence make quitting difficult, it is possible. In fact, since 2002, former smokers have outnumbered current smokers. For many people, quitting requires repeated attempts, but starting with a plan can improve your chances of stopping smoking for good.
Here are some suggestions on how to create a “quit plan” and stick to it:
- Set a quit date, perhaps one with special meaning. Choosing an actual date to quit will help prevent procrastination and excuses. Put your quit date on your calendar or write it somewhere you’ll see it daily to remind you of your goal.
- Get support from family, friends, and coworkers. Let others know you’re quitting. Not only does this make quitting more real to you, but it also allows others to support your efforts and help you avoid situations in which you’ll be tempted to smoke.
- Anticipate cravings and expect headaches and nervousness. Your body adjusting to no longer having nicotine is an unavoidable and often difficult part of quitting. Remember that every day you stay smokefree, the symptoms fade more.
- Avoid alcohol. For many people, alcohol is a trigger that increases their urge to smoke. It can also cause you to not have as much self-control and grab a cigarette without thinking.
- Avoid other smokers. Obviously, being around others while they’re smoking can increase your temptation to also smoke. But especially if you’ve used smoking as a way to socialize in the past, being around other smokers can be a big trigger.
- Start exercising. Not only is being physically active beneficial to your health in general, but it can also help you manage the stress and cravings associated with quitting smoking.
- Remember why you’re quitting. It’s important to determine your reason for quitting because that’s what will help you to stay motivated and keep going when you face obstacles.
Your primary care doctor is ready to guide you through your quitting journey and can prescribe effective medications to help reduce the desire to smoke. Use the MyKelsey app to directly schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.