Stop smoking today!
But staying smoke-free is the real struggle
It’s a story we’ve heard time and again
I’m not sure how many times I’ve quit smoking… What I do know is that I don’t want to pick up another cigarette ever again. The reasons are endless, and there really aren’t any positives at all. Even the cool factor that was once associated with smoking as a teenager, and glorified in movies has dissipated in modern culture.
Reasons to stop smoking
Make no mistake: When you smoke, Your breath stinks; your clothes stink, and if you smoke inside your home or car, they stink too. How do your loved ones feel about the way you smell? If they keep their distance, it’s because you stink!
Who can afford to smoke anyway? At R40 – R45 for a box of smokes, it’s an awfully expensive habit. If you smoke a pack a day, you’re spending about R1 200 a month on smoking (excluding lighters, ashtrays, burnt clothing and so on). That’s R14 400 a year. You could be investing that money, or clearing your debt much faster.
Other things cost more! That’s right – even if not directly associated with your smoking habit, you’re spending more on expenses like life insurance because you fall into a higher risk category.
Smoking reduces your lifespan. You are literally committing suicide in the slowest way possible. Horrible diseases associated with smoking include cancer, heart-disease, strokes and more. Your health is the most important reason to quit.
Avoid alternative nicotine products
Nicotine is the addictive drug in cigarettes. I’ve tried many alternatives from vaping to nicotine gum, to patches and snus (those little tobacco-filled pouches you put inside your gums). In each case, the end result was the same: I stayed hooked on nicotine and ended up going back to cancer sticks.
The question is how to stop, permanently
Sadly there probably isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. You can’t just flip the mental switch that triggers addiction. However, there are steps that you can follow to help you shift your mindset and start making better choices towards living a healthier life.
Setup a plan
- Make the active decision to stop smoking. Decide on the date or time when you will so that you can mentally prepare. Then do it.
- Smoking is often associated with other activities. Be conscious of those triggers and avoid them. Maybe this will mean that you avoid drinking for a while, or find something else to occupy you while you drive to work. Whatever it is, break the connection.
- Get rid of the reminders of your habit like cigarette packets or lighters.
- Drinking lots of water helps to flush out nicotine from your body.
- Look for support. Your family and friends will be glad to help you stop because I can guarantee they don’t appreciate it when you do smoke.
- Watch what you eat to avoid weight gain. Smoking, or stopping changes your metabolism. Often when you stop one addictive behaviour, you unknowingly replace it with another. Also, when you quit your sense of smell and taste will improve too, so everything will taste better.
- Exercise. Firstly, this will help take your mind off smoking and replace bad behaviours with positive ones. Secondly this will further help you manage potential weight gain.
- Be prepared for the symptoms of detoxing – these could last up to 14 days. You may get headaches, suffer from a persistent cough, or get cranky. This is a natural part of your body flushing the toxins out of your body, and it will pass.
- Avoid excuses. Any reason you give yourself to have one cigarette will lead to one pack and then you will need to quit all over again.
There are things you can try to assist you in breaking the habit
The most effective treatment I used was Champix which is a kind of medication. I’m changing the wording to simplify it, but I’m not sure if you want that for the newsletter to the same degree?The active ingredient, varenicline tartrate, helps people to stop smoking by reducing your urge or desire to smoke. It is a prescription medication, so you need to see your doctor first; they will check your blood pressure, see if the medication is suitable for you, as well as explain its possible side effects.
Some people have also had success with hypnotherapy. Essentially, this works by blocking or breaking the sub-conscious thoughts that keep your addiction in place. Subconscious ideas are thoughts that are in your brain but of which you are not openly aware.
Another option is the Allen Carr “Easyway” method. This is a program that helps you understand your addiction; transform it, and remove it.
Today is the day
Make today the day that you stop smoking and put your health first. Then focus on staying smoke-free for all the ‘tomorrows’ after that
Make your health a priority
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