This week is National Non Smoking Week (January 18-22) and the main purpose of this campaign is to highlight and to create awareness about the dangers of smoking. Now, a plausible question would be “why do we still run stop smoking ads when everyone should know by now that it isn’t good for you”? Well, the truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of people who start smoking per year whether it is deemed to be a social among friends or psychological due to increased stress. The idea that you can quit whenever you want may be possible but according to research, most get stuck with an unintentional habit that is linked to cause fatalities with prolonged use. Smoking is known to be the number 1 preventable cause of death in North America. It’s a lifestyle habit that is considered a modifiable risk to your health; meaning the decision to start or stop (although challenging) is yours. As many as 75%-80% of smokers say they’d like to quit, however, it takes the average smoker five to 10 attempts before successfully quitting.
There are a few commonly discussed negative affects of smoking such as it leads to various forms of cancer, emphysema and more and still we are learning that there are a number of bodily systems that are also affected (see http://www.healthline.com/health/smoking/effects-on-body for more details). A trending alternative to actual cigarette smoking is the E-cig that is growing in popularity among youths under the age of 17 due to its accessibility. E-cigs are battery operated cigarette simulators that are shaped and operate much like the real thing, even with a glowing orange light at the tip. You inhale and exhale nicotine that is heated and then vaporized to create the same smoking experience. Due to its recent existence, there isn’t enough of a prolonged study to truly understand the long term effects, however, there are some of the same withdrawal, irritability and craving symptoms that are associated with regular cigarette users.
So, are you trying to set the New Year off right and want kick the habit of the stick? Here are a few tips that will help you put out the smoke and set you up for success:
- Eliminate a cigarette break by doing something else that you enjoy.
- Do things with non-smokers.
- Smoke a few less cigarettes each day.
- Keep your pack of cigarettes, matches or lighter and ashtray out of reach.
- Reduce or avoid coffee, tea, cola and alcohol for as long as it takes since there may be a connection to socializing.
- Replace cigarettes by sweat-inducing physical activities that you enjoy
- Most cravings (even for fatty foods) will last for less than 5 minutes
- Create a distraction to help deprogram your urge.
It takes only small steps towards bigger benefits. You can do it!!