Stop Smoking for a Healthier Life

The American Lung Association reports that smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the United States and costs at least $97.2 billion each year in low productivity and health care costs.

Smokers are at high risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and emphysema, and even non-smokers can suffer the consequences. Children who live with parents that smoke have an increased incidence of colds, pneumonia, ear infections, and asthma. In 1990, 30,000 cancer-related deaths occurred because of second-hand smoke.

Though the task of quitting can be a challenge, it is reported that more than 46 million Americans have quit smoking. If you or a family member is thinking about “kicking the habit,” you’ll find a few tips, in this brochure, that will assist you in moving toward a non-smoking, healthier lifestyle.

Making The Decision To Quit Smoking

There are two steps to quitting smoking. First is breaking the addiction to a very powerful drug — nicotine. Next is to stop the smoking habit.

The best way to quit smoking is to figure out your reasons for quitting. If the decision is yours, the results will last much longer. Set a date to quit — usually within 2 weeks of your decision. Don’t put it off for too long. Identify support systems that will help you stick to your goal. Identify potential barriers that may stop you from quitting — such as a co-worker who encourages you to smoke with the group or an upcoming stressful event, like the holidays, that will set you back. Identifying potential obstacles ahead of time will help you deal with them better.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. It is reported that the average person makes two to four attempts at quitting before they are able to remain smoke-free. The key is to not give up.

Tips For Quitting

  • Look into different self-help programs available to you.
  • Ask your physician about the use of medications such as nicotine patches and chewing gums.
  • Smokers can have different experiences when they quit. Some feel excited, sleepy, and/or lightheaded, crave sweets or become irritable. Be aware that each person reacts differently.
  • Incorporate exercise into your schedule. Exercise can help to relieve the lightheadedness, sleepiness and other symptoms associated with quitting smoking.
  • Incorporate into your life a balanced diet, with lots of water and sleep. This will help the process flow smoother.
  • Make sure to have family or friends around who can support you when you are craving a cigarette and listen if you are feeling frustrated with the process.
  • Talk to family and friends ahead of time, as they won’t always know how to support you. Look to people who will be positive even if you have problems along the way.
  • Be aware that low tar/nicotine cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pipes and cigars are still unsafe for your body and not good alternatives to a cigarette.

Why Quit Smoking?

The benefits are endless. And though you or a family member may miss the immediate nicotine gratification from a cigarette, eventually you will stop craving it altogether. When you quit, you cut your risk of lung disease, heart attack or cancer; rid yourself of cigarette stains on fingers, a hacking cough and the smell of cigarette smoke on your clothes and breath; have an increased sense of smell and taste; and save money usually spent on cigarettes. So as you start a new year, make it your goal to say goodbye to an old but not so good friend — the cigarette.

If you want to work toward a healthier lifestyle, you don’t have to do it alone. Simi Valley Hospital can help. Please call our us at (805) 955-6890 to find out about our free and low-cost health classes. We can also help you find a physician; just call Referral Services at (805) 955-6900.

Note: This is for information purposes only and not intended for use in place of the advice of a physician.

Source: The American Lung Association