by cheryl wheeler
I want to quit smoking; it is something I've done for 25 years of my life. Nearly everyone in my family smokes. Of my three grown children, two smoke. I now have three little kids again and I don't want them to smoke.
I've looked all over the web for help and tips and come up with quite a few resources. I'm going to share these with you plus some tips of my own I've learned from past attempts to quit.
Step One: Get ready.
Set a specific date. This makes it easy to celebrate your anniversary each year and it makes it real not something you're going to do someday. Change your surroundings, remove ashtrays and lighters from your home, do it yourself or have carpets, drapes and furniture cleaned to remove the smoke smell. Clean all your clothes to remove tobacco smell. Toss out all matches and cigarettes. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. This will help shore up your resolve to make it last. Some reasons are, your health, decrease your chance of a heart attack or stroke or cancer. Quit to breathe easier, no coughing. Increase the health of your family; no second hand smoke around your children. You deserve a better healthier life. You owe it to your children to allow them a healthy life, they deserve their mom to be around and healthy and set them an example. Your teeth will be whiter, you will smell better smoking increases wrinkles and aging. You will have extra money, you will have more stamina for playing with your children or making love to your spouse. You will look and feel better. More time for you and family. Just think of the time that you waste looking for cigarettes, lighters or matches. The time you take out for smoke breaks.
Step Two: Get support
Tell everyone that you are quitting. Make sure family and friends know not to smoke around you. Visit your doctor. He can suggest local resources and prescribe medications. Visit your dentist to have your teeth cleaned. Seek out counseling or support groups in your area. Try quitting with a friend or spouse. Make it a bet. Set aside your cigarette money and whoever smokes first forfeits their ciggy money.
Step Three: Learn new skills and behavior.
Instead of lighting up, take a walk and fill your lungs with fresh air. Brush your teeth often and chew sugarless gum, the mintier the better. Suck on hard candies. Give yourself a fancy manicure; take up knitting to keep your hands busy during television watching. Join a health club. Visit the library or take your kids skating. Go places where smoking is not allowed. Write letters to friends or get a pen pal. Meditate or take a hot bubble bath to relax. Save your cigarette money for a spa trip. Plan something for every day. Keep yourself busy.
Step Four: Use medication.
Nicotine gum and the patch are available over the counter. Your doctor can prescribe Bupropin, the inhaler or the nasal spray. By using quit smoking aids you can double your chances of quitting for good.
Step Five: Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations.
Know that just because you are quitting doesn't mean that life is on hold. Stressful situations are a part of living so plan ahead how you will handle them. Relapses happen, most non-smokers had to try two-three or more times before they quit for good. Nicotine is an addictive drug. To some people it can be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Allow that you are only human and start again from this moment forward. Re-read your list of reasons to quit. Reinforce yourself positively, you are a non-smoker, you deserve a longer, healthier life. Think of yourself as a non-smoker. If weight gain is a concern for you then keep loads of healthy snacks around, air popped corn, celery or carrot sticks, bran muffins, low-cal yogurt and pretzels are just a few. What caused your relapse last time, how will you handle it this time? Don't be afraid to try something silly it may be what works. Try different combinations of suggestions and tips till you find what works for you.
Never give up. This is your life, take it back from the tobacco companies. They don't care about you. Cigarettes should have been banned decades ago. You think they didn't know how harmful cigarettes are, they did and they do but they still peddle them. Worse, they are now out to hook your kids just like they got you and you are their best marketing tool of all because you set the example for your children.
Here are some of the many resources on the web and some 800 numbers you can call for more information, tips, suggestion and help.
Clearing the air
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 800-358-9295
Center for Disease Control and Prevention 800-CDC-1311
National Cancer Institute 800-4-CANCER
American Cancer Society 800-227-2345
American Heart Association 800-AHA-USA1
American Lung Association 800-LUNG-USA