Smoking causes changes in the bodies and behavior of those who smoke. These changes are caused by an addiction to nicotine and develop over time.
There are a few reasons to stop smoking:
- Bad breath and stained teeth/ gum disease
- Bad smell on clothes, hair, furniture, automobile
- Lower athletic ability
- Cough / sore throat
- Raised blood pressure and increased heart beat
- Risk of lung cancer/heart disease
- Breathing problems and COPD
- Stomach ulcers/acid reflux
To stop smoking, following these steps will result in a higher success rate:
- Get ready (set a date for stopping)
- Get support and encouragement(stop smoking with a friend or co-worker)
- Learn to handle stress and the urge to smoke in other ways
- Get medication and use it as prescribed
- Be prepared for relapse
- Keep trying
Set a stop date of two to four weeks out in order to prepare yourself. Write down your personal reasons for stopping, and keep the list with you for encouragement. Keep a diary of why and when you smoke to help manage the urges to smoke, and plan how you will deal with these stressors. Throw away all of your cigarettes, matches, and lighters.
Tell your family and friends that you’re going to stop smoking to help build encouragement, or seek help from your doctor, local hospital and health centers for stop-smoking programs. Find other ways to manage your stress, such as taking a hot bath, going for a walk or drinking tea.
How you feel when you stop depends on how much you smoke. You may crave a cigarette, feel hungry or edgy, have trouble concentrating, get headaches, or cough. These symptoms will go away in a few weeks.
Nicotine replacement products are ways to take in nicotine without smoking and reduce the withdrawal symptoms. They come in several forms such as gum, patches, nasal sprays, inhalers and lozenges. There are also prescription products that help people stop smoking that do not contain nicotine. Talk to your doctor to decide which products are best for you.
Finally, most people gain a few pounds after they stop smoking. This, however, is a minor health risk compared to smoking itself. Dieting while trying to quit smoking will cause increased stress on your body, so it is preferred that you tackle one goal at a time. Don’t feel like a failure if you relapse. Set a new date and try again.
~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers to start your journey to stop smoking, please call our office at 757-488-3333.