So, you’re a smoker. There’s surely been pressure on you from either yourself, your loved ones, your doctor, or perhaps all three, to quit, but success has eluded you so far. Smoking can play a number of roles in someone’s life. For some, it is tied to bonding with a group of friends, for others it’s a means of escaping work for a few minutes. Additionally, the nicotine content in tobacco is a powerfully addictive substance. Even the strongest-willed individual can find quitting to be beyond their ability. Smoking is a pleasurable experience for many, so it’s not hard to understand the difficulty in putting the habit to rest. Here are five reasons to start your journey to a tobacco-free lifestyle:
1. Quitting smoking will not only improve your chances of living longer, but also of living better.
As soon as you quit smoking, the insult to your lungs and airways stops and your body’s natural systems set to work repairing the damage. This often means you will actually feel a weight lifted from your chest. You may notice that what once felt normal to you was actually not; A scratchy throat, chronic coughing, postnasal drip, becoming easily tired or breathless, and even a stunted sense of smell and taste are all common symptoms long-time smokers experience. Without tobacco, not only will you be less likely to suffer from one of the many diseases associated with smoking, like cancer, COPD, heart attack, stroke, vascular disease, pneumonia, high blood pressure, etc., you will have a much more enjoyable state of health.1,2
2. You will be able to spend your money on other things.
Smoking is becoming an increasingly expensive way to spend your time. There has been a steady trend of rising cigarette prices in nearly every corner of the world. That price adds up quickly, even if cigarettes are relatively affordable where you buy. If you regularly purchase a pack of cigarettes, do the math of how much is spent over a month or a year. Now, think of other worthwhile ways you could spend that money and you are on your way to pocketing some motivation!
3. You’ll have less hassle.
Rules to take your smoking away from any hazards or vulnerable people are enforced more and more. Gone are the days of smoking in the office for most workers. Forget about taking a cigarette out to smoke in the department store, the sports arena, or most restaurants. Those days have been over for a while. Now you have to ask yourself: is that cigarette really worth standing in the rain? Or evacuating to thirty feet away from the building? Imagine the freedom to go outside only when you want to, rather than when you need to smoke.
4. You will be doing your family and friends a favor.
The smoke you inhale is not the only pathway your cigarette smoke takes. Second-hand smoke affects those around you in several ways. Most immediately, it can irritate the nose, throat and lungs of by-standers. This is especially true for young people. Children and babies are known to be at higher risk for developing asthma and other breathing problems if they live with someone that smokes.3 Even if the smoker takes the habit outside, the toxins infiltrate their clothes and hair, creating a hazard for holding little ones as they snuggle against you.4 Among the long-term consequences, cancer and stroke rates are higher in those exposed to second-hand smoke. 3 You may even find your house more peaceful at night, as those who smoke or those exposed to second-hand smoke more frequently snore.1
5. Make yourself proud!
Quitting an addictive substance like tobacco can be difficult. For some, it is a daily commitment to remain smoke-free. That’s why it is something worth celebrating! Many of those who quit smoking find numerous social advantages to their new-found accomplishment. You may be a better role model for the young people in your life by not only modeling a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle, but also by showing them how to overcome self-destructive habits!5
So now that you’ve decided to quit, what are the next steps?
Decide the best approach for meeting your quitting goal. Are you wanting to do it on your own? Nicotine replacement is a simple approach to reduce the satisfaction of smoking by replacing the nicotine from smoking with another source, and slowly weaning off. Perhaps this is not the first time you’ve tried to quit, in which case you may benefit from one of the medical treatment options your medical provider can offer for reducing cravings to smoke. Whatever the case, having a strategy in place will increase the odds of your success.6
There are numerous resources for those interested in quitting. Text QUIT to 47848, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or visit smokefree.gov for guidance and support in your journey to a healthier you.
Now, get out there and be a quitter!