Breaking the Smoking Habit

by Percival J. Meris on July 20, 2009

She needs to quit smoking.

SMOKING IS A RISK FACTOR FOR ILLNESS AND A CAUSE OF PREMATURE DEATH. While the behavior can be modified and its morbid effects prevented, nicotine addiction makes this extremely difficult. Many smokers wish they had never started the habit. If first-time smoking produces unpleasant feelings, why do they continue to the point of turning into a habit?

One culprit is advertising. Advertising induces desire for the product by creating a positive image of a smoker – elegant, or rugged, or sexy. Another is peer pressure. This is a very influential force, especially on the adolescents who want to feel a sense of belongingness among his friends. Also, the influence of a celebrity they idolize has a strong impact on them, as they seek out for a role model. Another is the relieving effect of smoking on stress and tension. The nicotine that reaches the brain acts as relaxation chemical.

Benefits of Smokeless Lifestyle

One who does not smoke enjoys physical, emotional, and social benefits. The major physical health benefits include improved circulation, increased stamina, better vision, reduced risk of diseases, not to mention removal of smoke smell in the mouth and on hair. Improved self-image and self-respect, greater happiness, a sense of emotional well-being are just a few of the emotional benefits of a cigarette-less life. Socially, he will not become a burden to his family if he gets sick from smoking. He will be more acceptable to his friends and loved ones, especially if they hate smokers. He will not cause them illness from secondary smoke inhalation.

Starting Your Quit-Smoking Program

Before you start on a quit-smoking program, talk with your doctor first. He may want to take baseline measurements of your heart rate, blood pressure, and weight to serve as basis for comparison later on. He may also want to find out if you have pulmonary medical conditions, which may improve when you stop smoking. Include your dentist in your visit itinerary. He will note the improvements in your mouth and teeth later, since smoking affects them dramatically.

On the first day of the program, take deep breaths. Years of smoking have deprived your lungs of refreshing oxygen. Drink copious amount of water during the day. Every time you feel like smoking, take a sip. Finally, move, move, move. You will feel more relaxed, and the urge to smoke will go away.

The Process of Quitting

Safeguard against the temptation to smoke. Temptations are strong during the first months. Evaluate these temptations, and plan out how to deal with them. As time passes by, your cravings will diminish, and your will-power will strengthen. By that time, nicotine shall have gone away from your system.

Don’t let your guard down. When you have succeeded in quitting smoking, take care you don’t feel too confident. Someone may offer you a cigarette, and you decide to make an exception this time. Don’t fall into this. Be vigilant always for similar occasions.

Reward yourself as a motivation. We tend to continue doing what is pleasurable, and discontinue what is unpleasant. Since to quit smoking is unpleasant, especially in the beginning, you have to neutralize the experience with a pleasure. It is important, therefore, to make the process of quitting as positive and pleasurable as possible. Identify alternatives to smoking that bring you pleasure and fun.

Next, get down into more details of your quit-smoking education by grabbing yourself a book on how to quit smoking. If you can’t find one in the house or printed copies are not available in your local bookstore, consider searching the internet. One good program that I can recommend is Quit Smoking Today. It is ideal for people who want to quit smoking without using “will power” or experiencing any cravings whatsoever.


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