Stop Smoking to Save Your Health
If you or a loved one struggle with the habit of smoking or vaping, you're not alone. It's estimated that over 34 million adult Americans smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. Some experts believe as many as four million children under the age of 18 use traditional or electronic cigarettes as well. Unfortunately, the addictive properties of this practice can make it a tough habit to kick. In spite of the struggle, it's important to understand the dangers of smoking and what steps you can take to help you quit for good.
The Health Risks of Smoking and Vaping
Those who use cigarettes on a regular basis are at an extremely high risk of developing several serious conditions:
- Cancer, including oral and lung
- Heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke
- Immune system issues
- Eye disease
- Lung complications
In addition, secondhand smoke can cause similar issues in those who are exposed to airborne toxins. Smoking can also lead to unsightly changes in eyes, skin, teeth, and gums. To protect your health, it's critical to stop smoking right away.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Making the choice to quit smoking can be a difficult step. However, with the right plan and support system, you can set yourself up for a more successful outcome.
Find a Support Group, Mentor or Accountability Partner
The desire to smoke will be strong once you start to cut back. It's incredibly difficult to resist cravings on your own, so it's important to have someone help you when it's hard to say no. You can find a community by joining a local support group and connecting with others who face the same struggles. It's also a good idea to find a mentor who has successfully quit, as they can provide meaningful advice and understanding without judgment. You're more likely to stay on track if you don't make the journey alone.
Talk With a Pro About Assistance Products
It's a good idea to talk to your doctor about your addiction since they can give you guidance on products and medications to make the change more gradual and less intense. Many people find that nicotine gum is very helpful when quitting. Others may turn to a patch or other medications to help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. A physician can also help make sure you're not placing harmful stress on other areas of your health during the process.
Meet With a Therapist on a Regular Basis
Speaking with a professional counselor can be very helpful as you make the next step for your health. They can help you cope with the stress and anxiety of withdrawal while helping you address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the habit in the first place. In addition, you can gain extra support while learning useful tools for navigating life.
Find Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
If you no longer use smoking or vaping to manage your stress, you'll need to replace it with a healthy alternative. There are many options, whether you want to be active or relax and unwind. Some popular choices include:
- Walking or causal biking
- Rigorous exercise
- Art or music
- Hobbies that build fine motor skills
By making positive choices, you can manage your everyday stress, as well as the tension that you may feel as your body detoxes from the nicotine.
Don't Give Up
Keep in mind that the decision to stop smoking is often difficult. Most people are not successful on the first try. Be kind and patient with yourself, and remember that each day brings the chance to try again.
If you smoke or vape, it's time to take back your health and well-being. Reach out and get the support you need to stop smoking today.