With increasing costs of tobacco products, higher insurance premiums, greater risks of disease, and new laws across the country banning smoking in public, there are many incentives to give up smoking. However quitting the use of an addictive substance like tobacco is an incredibly difficult thing for many to do. As we observe the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout this week, take some time to encourage someone you know to develop a plan to quit.
Nicotine, a drug naturally found in tobacco can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine according to the American Cancer Society. When a smoker tries to quit or goes for long enough without tobacco, they may have to deal with the unwanted side-car of dependency—withdrawal. Both physical and emotional in nature, withdrawal can cause a smoker to experience some very unpleasant things like dizziness, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and weigh gain (just to name a few). With the negative symptoms that can crop up from trying to quit, it’s not hard to see why it can be a formidable challenge. Thankfully quitting is possible, and it all starts with a plan:
Pick a date. Choose a day when you are committed to quitting—whether a random day or a significant one, it is important to give yourself a timeline.
Decide how you’ll do it. Whether going cold turkey, cutting back, replacing cigarettes with gum, using a prescribed medication, or attending meetings there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Just make sure you have a plan prepared that makes sense for you.
Replace the old with the new. Throw out the cigarettes, and stock up on things like gum, hard candy, toothpicks, etc. to keep your mind off the physical act of smoking. Replace your old routines with new ones that don’t involve lighting up, and avoid situations where the urge to smoke is strong.
Get your friends involved. Build a network of support and accountability by letting your friends and family know about your decision to quit. Ask your friends who smoke to not do it around you.
Keep your resolve. Whatever method or combination of methods you choose to use to stop, quitting takes commitment—even in the face of withdrawal symptoms and psychological urges to smoke.
While quitting may seem like an insurmountable goal, it can be achieved by researching the options, recognizing the challenges, and defining a path for success. Visit the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout resource page for additional information on how to quit smoking.