Quitting smoking is, for most people, the simplest way to improve their health. Smoking is a primary cause of many of the diseases which are the biggest killers. Cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more are caused by smoking.
But why is smoking so dangerous? By looking at just a few of the chemicals in cigarette smoke, it becomes apparent why smoking causes so many illnesses. Cigarette smoke contains:
- • Ammonia
- • Arsenic
- • Carbon Monoxide
- • Formaldehyde
- • Lead
A doctor's advice is not necessary to know that these are not things people should be consuming. What's more is that when smokers talk about "tar" in their lungs, what they are really describing is a thick, sticky mix of the over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke that is lodged in their lungs. This "tar" overwhelms the body's natural mechanisms that clean and preserve lung tissue, causing disease.
How To Quit Smoking
Most of the information described above is not news to smokers. Very few smokers would disagree that it is a very unhealthy habit, and most people would benefit from quitting. Actually quitting, on the other hand, is very difficult for many smokers. Here are a few tips and strategies to make quitting easier:
Use More Than One Cessation Aid
Many people will try to quit by chewing gum, going cold turkey, taking other medications, etc. Even the best plan might fail once in a while, so by creating a backup plan of how to handle the time when willpower is low, or the pack of gum is empty, or whatever the issue is, there are several lines of defence against cravings. By having a "plan B" (and even plan C and D), the chances of successfully quitting smoking are much greater.
Consider Mental Triggers
One of the major barriers to quitting for most people is routine. There are many times of day when people have cigarettes (with a morning coffee, while drinking, etc.). By avoiding certain rituals, the brain does not experience the same kind of triggering that causes an overwhelming urge to quit smoking. Use the money that is saved from cigarettes to try some new things. Staying away from old routines is one of the best ways to make a change.
Expect To Slip Up
For most people, it will take several attempts to quit completely. If quitting is going well, but a stressful day is too overwhelming and you end up smoking, don't take that as the end of the road. Quitting smoking is retraining your brain to behave differently. Professional golfers will spend thousands of hours practicing their swing. Each time you successfully make it through a craving it is like one of those swings. Even the best golfers have a shot go wild once in a while. Hitting a ball into the rough every so often is disappointing, but golfers don't think they should quit if they make one bad shot in a game. Similarly, smoking one cigarette after weeks or months of success should be treated like a "mulligan". It just means you need to practice not smoking more.