It is generally thought that smoking is a lesser evil and only causes major medical problems if it is done in excess and over a long period of time. The reality is however very different. People need to quit smoking as soon as they can since it causes a lot of major and minor symptoms such as heart burn, breathing issues and pain in throat after smoking. All of these symptoms impact a person’s daily life and physical health.
Apart from making a person’s daily life miserable, smoking is also a major mortality cause around the globe. Contrary to popular belief, it is not HIV, substance abuse or motor vehicle accidents that make up the yearly death toll. Smoking claims more lives every year than all of these causes combined.
Add to the fact that ‘second-hand smoking’ is a very real danger that puts those in the vicinity of a smoker at just as much risk of death and disease as the smoker himself. If you quit smoking now, you can not only enhance your own lifespan but can also protect your loved ones! Here are a few doctor suggested tips for your journey towards a nicotine-free life:
1- Set A Quit Date
Goals are the key when it comes to accomplishing tasks that seem unsurmountable at first. You first have to set a goal to determine the amount of time that would take you to quit smoking. The goal however needs to be realistic and should be broken down into smaller daily goals or else you are likely to fail.
For example, many people decide to quit smoking in a cold turkey fashion. The problem with this approach is that it is not systematic and does not bring any long term results.
Determining a destination makes the journey comparably easier, so mark a date on the calendar as your quit date; that is, the day you will be entirely smoke free. Your next task is to gradually move towards this date with slowly dropping down the number of cigarettes each day. This approach will give you sufficient time to adjust to your new lifestyle and battle the aftereffects of nicotine addiction.
2- Announce It
Inform your friends, family and close colleagues about your decision and let them know how they can help. Telling others will make the transition easier as they can help cement your resolve, remind you of your commitment, and support you through this lifestyle change.
3- Know What Triggers You
Triggers can be anything from people and surroundings to situations. If you tend to smoke when you are stressed, remember that it is a trigger and smoking will not solve the problem. Focus on solving the problem that is causing you stress or distract yourself with other things. Also, frequent the places that are non-smoking zones and reduce the time you spend with friends who smoke.
4- Clear the Rubble
Clear away all of your smoking paraphernalia, including ashtrays, lighters and matches. Dispose of any remaining cigarette packs, even your emergencies stash in case of slip-ups or a relapse. The smell of smoke can serve as a trigger, so invest in air fresheners, wash and freshen your sheets, clothes and any other places where you tend to smoke.
5- Fill-up Your Schedule
A lot of people smoke out of social habits or boredom. During recovery, it is thus important that you are busy doing productive things instead of just spending time doing lesiure activities.Keeping yourself busy will help you think less about your current predicament, hence reducing the chances of a relapse.
6- Find Alternatives
Cravings cause the most nicotine addicts to fail in their early stages of quitting smoking. The thing to understand here is that most cravings last for only 10-20 minutes and then they go away. You need to distract yourself in the intial stages for just 10-20 minutes and gradually the frequency of cravings will also go away.
Distract yourself by finding alternatives such as sugar-free chewing gums, crunchy vegetables or even toothpicks. Keep a pencil, smooth stone, beads or a stress-relief ball in hand in case your fingers itch to hold a cigarette.
7- Reward Yourself
Overcoming addiction is easier said than done. Set small milestones between your start and quit date and treat yourself to good food, a nice gift or anything else that makes you happy on these particular days as a reward.
You should also get into the habit of patting yourself on the back for taking positive self-care steps in the right direction so that your motivation stays up straight through out the process.
Constructive self-satisfaction will provide you with an incentive to keep on moving forward till the day you can confidently claim that you are smoke free.
Still battling against nicotine addiction? Perhaps it’s time to consult a professional. Feel free to Book Appointments with Top Pulmonologists in Islamabad, Multan, Karachi and through Oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance in finding the RIGHT Doctor for your needs.