Clinically Reviewed by Sarah Hogan, MA LPC
Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 13 years of experience in the behavioral health field as well as a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma. She has extensive experience in counseling and case management with local mental health authorities, emergency homeless shelters, leading high acuity response teams, and serving first responders/veterans.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Not only does it have many long-term benefits, but it can also make a real difference in your life right away.
Smoking affects your health in so many ways. From increasing your risk of cancer and heart disease to premature aging and wrinkles, the dangers of smoking are well known. Yet, people often overlook the immediate benefits that come with quitting.
If you’re still smoking, here are some reasons why this should be the year you quit.
The Harmful Effects Of Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes is one of the most harmful things you can do to your body. Every year, smoking kills millions of people around the world. In the United States, smoking is responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths.
Smoking cigarettes causes many different types of cancer, including lung cancer, throat cancer, and stomach cancer. Smoking also increases your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, and cyanide. These chemicals damage your lungs and other organs. They also increase your risk of developing cancer.
Smoking cigarettes also harms those around you. Secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for about 34,000 deaths each year in the United States. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and asthma attacks.
The Benefits Of Quitting Smoking
There are many benefits to quitting smoking, and this year is the perfect time to do it. Here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- Improved health— quitting smoking has numerous health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses.
- More money in your pocket— smokers spend a lot of money on cigarettes each year. Quitting will free up that money for other things.
- Better breathing— smokers often suffer from shortness of breath and other respiratory problems. Quitting will improve your breathing and overall lung health.
- Increased energy— smokers tend to have lower energy levels than non-smokers. Once you quit, you’ll likely find yourself with more energy to do the things you enjoy.
- Improved appearance— smoking takes a toll on your skin, teeth, and hair. Quitting will help you look and feel better about yourself.
- Improved sexual health, especially for men. Quitting smoking will help gain and maintain erections and help make them harder.
How To Quit Smoking
If you’re like most smokers, you’ve probably tried to quit smoking many times. You may have even been successful for a while, only to start smoking again. This year, make a plan to quit smoking and stick to it. These tips can help you quit smoking and stay smoke-free for good.
Set a quit date and tell your family, friends, and co-workers about it. This will help hold you accountable and give you support as you go through withdrawal and cravings.
Start by cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Then, when your quit date arrives, throw away all of your cigarettes and ashtrays.
Start in the middle of the afternoon. Many people try to start quitting first thing in the morning, but afternoon is best to get you over the first hurdle more rapidly.
Get rid of anything in your home or office that reminds you of smoking, such as lighters and ashtrays. Wash your clothes and freshen up your car to get rid of the smell of smoke.
Avoid places where people are smoking, such as bars and parties. If you can’t avoid them completely, try to spend less time there or go outside when people are smoking.
Exercise or take walks every day to help relieve stress and cope with cravings. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods to keep your body healthy during withdrawal. And finally, don’t give up if you have a slip-up— just get back on track the next day.
Quitting is going to take a lot of willpower— addiction to cigarettes is a powerful disease— but millions of people around the world have done it, and so can you.
Resources For Quitting Smoking
There are many resources available to help you quit smoking. Here are just a few:
Your local library or bookstore likely has books on quitting smoking. Some popular titles include “The Easy Way to Quit Smoking” by Allen Carr and “Quit & Stay Quit” by John R. Hackett.
There are many websites dedicated to helping people quit smoking, such as www.smokefree.gov. These sites offer tips, advice, and support from other smokers who have successfully quit.
Your doctor can also be a valuable resource in quitting smoking. He or she can prescribe medication to help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and provide advice on how to stop smoking for good.
Cold turkey might not be the right option. You could also consider nicotine replacement therapies like patches, nicotine gum, or nicotine lozenges.
You could also potentially come to a treatment center like ours. We have all the resources you would need to quit, and stay quit for good.
Call For A Free Substance Abuse Assessment
Quitting smoking is a challenge, but it’s one worth taking. It can vastly improve your overall health and well-being while also saving you money in the long run. Making this decision will not only benefit you but also those around you who are exposed to secondhand smoke.
If you’re ready to quit smoking this year, do yourself and others a favor by starting today. And know you can always call us for a free substance abuse screening. We can be reached by phone at (512) 488-1128 and we’re looking forward to speaking with you!