Smoking Cessation: Tips to Help You Quit July 2, 2016
Cigarette smoking is a dangerous and difficult habit to break. Not only is it a highly-addictive habit, but it can also be extremely fatal, causing over 5 million deaths in the United States each year. Most of those who lose their lives from cigarette smoking are smokers themselves, while some others are those who suffer from secondhand smoke exposure.
The good news is, quitting smoking is possible. The injuries, illnesses and deaths that are caused by cigarette smoking are preventable, and the overall health of cigarette smokers who do indeed quit can improve not only dramatically, but fairly quickly. Positive changes in the body begin to occur as quickly as 15 minutes after smoking your last cigarette. Within 2-4 days, more and more physical changes begin to take place as the body works to do what it does best: to heal.
We know that cigarette smoking is a hard habit, and one that many of our clients may be struggling to break. We recently read the below recommendations and wanted to share with you. However, before making any changes to your lifestyle, please contact your health care professional or physician.
Did you know?
- More than 70% of cigarette smokers say that they would like to quit smoking
- More than 50% of cigarette smokers report attempting to quit smoking within the last calendar year
- If you try to quit smoking without help, studies show that there is only a 3-6% success rate
- 68% of cigarette smokers try to quit without help. For the 32% who utilize help, there is a 30%, annual success rate when optimal treatments are used
- When health care professionals simply mention or advise smoking cessation, the patient’s chance of quitting goes up
- Doctors are able to assess a smoker’s “lung age” (how much the lungs have aged as a consequence of cigarette smoking); often this can act as an incentive to quit smoking as well
A common model that is used to describe a smoker’s readiness to quit is called The Stages of Change Model. In this model, there are five different stages. The five stages are: 1) pre-contemplation (just thinking about it but not yet ready to quit), 2) contemplation (considering quitting but not yet taking action), 3) preparation (preparing an attempt to quit smoking), 4) action (following through with the attempt to quit smoking through smoking cessation or reduction) and, 5) maintenance, or smoking cessation that is consistently maintained.
Since you may be considering quitting smoking, you may also want to consider utilizing various treatment options to help increase your chances of success. Options like behavioral counseling as well as prescription medications that can help reduce symptoms are available throughout health care professionals. Former smokers who have successfully quit have used options like acupuncture, financial incentives and even hypnosis.
Although acupuncture receives mixed reviews when it comes to its actual usefulness in terms of smoking cessation, many former cigarette smokers have said that it did help them to quit. In 2012, a meta-analysis on hypnosis was conducted and found that it does have potential benefits. When studies have offered financial incentives to smokers, their chances of quitting did indeed increase. When you find yourself contemplating quitting or even trying to take action and coming up with a direct plan, here are a few more useful tips that we hope can be of use to you.
Quitting Smoking Tips
- Set a quit date for yourself. It doesn’t have to be right away, in fact, it is usually anywhere from two to four weeks away from the date you make the decision
- There are two main options most commonly used: either completely stop smoking on your quit date or, reduce cigarette smoking slowly in the days and weeks leading up to your quit date
- Studies show that there may be slightly higher success rates for those who quit smoking altogether on their quit date as opposed to reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked beforehand
- If you do relapse, do not give up. Over 22% of smokers relapse within the first three months after trying to quit smoking. If this happens, consult your health care professional and to discuss possible pharmacological options
- Work closely with your health care professional: they are there to help you quit safely and effectively
- Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for support from family and friends, as well as your doctor. Studies show that with support, one’s chance of quitting increases greatly.
While smoking cessation is a hard and often long journey to take, the benefits greatly outweigh the struggle. Not only is cigarette smoking an expensive habit, but it is a deadly one. We wish you the best should you be trying to quit, and once again remind you to please consult directly with your health care professional to answer all of your health and smoking cessation questions.
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