How can I stop smoking?
Adapted from Engs, R.C. Alcohol and Other Drugs: Self Responsibility. Tichenor Publishing Company, Bloomington, IN, 1987
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Why should I stop smoking?
First of all let's look at some of the reasons why you might want to stop smoking. Most things in life have risk. Some things are riskier than others. Long term inhaling of smoke, dust, sawdust, and other small particles are a risk for a variety of lung and other illnesses. Cigarette smoking, in particular has been associated with various cancers, heart disease, and emphysema.
Cancers - There is a great risk of developing oral cancers among tobacco users than non-users. These cancers include the throat, larynx, mouth, and the esophagus. Because of the increase usage of smokeless tobacco, oral cancers may account a very large percentage of cancers that affect people of America in the future. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer among men and women. There has been a rapid increase of women smoking during the last three decades. Approximately eighty percent of lung cancer are attributed to tobacco use. Twenty percent is due to environmental factors such as air pollution, airborne substances such as asbestos, iron, and radon, and breathing side stream smoke from tobacco products.
Heart Disease - Half of all tobacco-related deaths occur as a result of some form of heart disease. There is a seventy percent increase rate of heart disease in smokers than non-smokers. Some of the effects of smoking are as follows: an increase in the development of atherosclerosis which adds approximately ten years of aging to arteries, a decrease in the blood levels of HDL which protects against heart attacks, contributes to the sticking together of RBC, and a decrease level of oxygen supply to the heart and tissues in the body. The risk of heart disease is increased if a person is both a smoker and heavy drinker.
Emphysema - A progressive degeneration of the alveoli, air sacs, in the lung which causes the difficulty of breathing and oxygen assimilation. Emphysema is classified as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A protein known as alpha-one protease inhibits enzymes from destructing airs sacs in the lungs.
Social - Many non smokers do not like to date people who smoke. This is true of students and adults. Smoking is expensive, can burn holes in clothing, makes the breath smell foul, and causes early aging. Women who smoke generally wrinkle faster than women who do not.
What steps can I take to stop smoking ?
"Cold Turkey" - for this method you just stop smoking now.
In some ways this method is easier than "cutting down." Sometimes people stop because of a health crisis. There are various steps in the cold turkey process that can help.
- throw away all of your cigarettes, ashtrays, etc.
- list the times and places you usually smoke. Find a substitution for smoking in that situation. If you smoke in your car keep water for drinking. If you smoke when you drink coffee, change to tea.
- when the urge to smoke arises drink a whole glass of water or 20 sips from a drinking fountain
- chew on peppermints, cloves, or cinnamon sticks
- avoid drinking alcohol for the first month when you quit as drinking sometimes brings on the urge to smoke.
- learn and use relaxation and self hypnosis techniques when the urge arises
- will wait for a period of time (15 minutes, an hour) until the next smoke when the urge arises
- tell your friends that you are quitting. Talk to them about your cravings (this will decrease the urge)
- get out of your present situation and take a walk when the urge arises
Hypnosis - Hypnosis has a success rate of twenty to ninety percent and is used in conjunction with counseling, other methods and the suggestions listed above.
Smoking Clinic - most communities have a variety of smoking clinics. The cancer society, lung association and Seventh-day Adventists often offer programs.
Nicotine patch - A device that provides help for people preparing to cease smoking or who have taken unsuccessful action in the past. It is an adhesive pad about two inch square that delivers a steady dose of nicotine through the skin. The pad works for eighteen to twenty four hours and is used over an eight to twelve week period. However, some people find they get addicted to the patch.
Other sources for stopping to smoke: