If you’re a smoker, you probably already know it’s not a healthy habit. The benefits of not smoking are vast, but the bottom line is this: if you stop smoking now, you’ll have a better quality of life and very likely have more years to live it.
We know that quitting smoking isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of tips and resources that can help you or someone you know start on the path toward success. Check them out and pass them along to family and friends.
- Learn about smoking-cessation aids. Quitting cold turkey isn’t the best option for everyone, and aids like nicotine patches, nicotine gum and medicines for withdrawal symptoms can help make quitting easier. At UK HealthCare, low-cost nicotine replacement products are available in our pharmacies and gift shops.
- Make it through the hardest part. It’s often said that if you can make it through your first week of not smoking, when withdrawal symptoms are at their worst, you’ll be on your way to success. From establishing new morning routines and daily habits to exercising more, little lifestyle changes can help you get through the toughest part of your journey.
- Consider your triggers. Different triggers make different people reach for a cigarette. Plan ahead for the things that cause you to smoke and come up with an alternative plan. Do you smoke during work breaks? Try taking a walk instead. Find a replacement, keep your hands busy, chew gum or take yourself to locations where smoking isn’t allowed.
- Avoid smoke at all costs. Ask people not to smoke around you, and avoid those who do.
- Don’t ignore your emotions. Quitting is stressful, and you’ll need to find ways of dealing with your feelings that don’t include cigarettes. Find someone to talk to about your feelings. Take slow, deep breaths, exercise or listen to calming music.
- Realize that a relapse isn’t the end of the world. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a cigarette after quitting. Relapse is a common occurrence and nothing to be ashamed of. Understanding why you chose to smoke is often the key to preventing it from happening again. Treat a relapse like an emergency: Figure out what caused it, and come up with strategies to keep it from happening again.
- Remind yourself why you’re quitting. Consider writing all your reasons on a piece of paper and keeping it in your purse or wallet. “My kids. My husband. My health. Feeling more energetic. Looking younger. Keeping my breath fresh …” List as many reasons as you can think of, then pull the card out when you’re craving a cigarette to remind yourself of your motivation.
From a healthier heart and lungs to whiter teeth and fewer wrinkles, you’ll reap major health benefits when you stop smoking.
- Looking for more resources to help you quit? Start here.
- The UK Lung Cancer Screening Program offers low-dose CT screens for patients who might be at risk for lung cancer, including smokers and former smokers. Find out if you or someone you love should be screened.