Tag Archives: Stop Smoking

The Social Factor of Quitting Smoking

It is not easy to stop smoking because you have to deal with the addiction on two fronts – physical and psychological. You not only have to suffer with physical withdrawal symptoms, you also have to face psychological withdrawal. If that is not enough, you are faced with the social factor of quitting smoking, as well

There are a number of positive social outcomes that motivate people to quit smoking. Among them are: most relationships improve, and being a non-smoker can help when seeking a job or securing promotions at work. Unfortunately, there is one potential negative social outcome – resistance from your smoker friends.

Image by John Benson
Image by John Benson

Why Your Smoker Friends Do Not Support You

Almost every smoker has said at one time or another that they want to quit. As a result, it seems that friends would support your decision and cheer you on as you fight the addiction.

Unfortunately, for many people, their experience is just the opposite – sometimes to the extreme. Friends may give you a hard-time, encourage you to smoke again, or even turn their backs on you. That kind of peer pressure can be difficult to withstand.

Smoking is what smokers do together. It creates a bond. Asking for a light or offering a cigarette is a way to break the ice when people come into your group. It is an integral part of your social persona. When you quit smoking, you are breaking a long-standing social custom.

Some may interpret your choice to quit as a criticism of their behavior. You may have said that you are quitting because it is an unhealthy, costly, disgusting habit; so, their decision to continue smoking reflects badly on them.

When you demonstrate the willpower to quit, it may make your smoker friends insecure. They have probably talked about quitting, but you are actually doing it. No matter what they say to your face, they may actually want you to fail. Your failing would make them feel better about their smoking.

Quitting at Work

As noted above, one reason for quitting is that you will have better job prospects, but your current job situation may make quitting impossible. Many people start smoking because everyone smokes where they work. Smoke breaks are a normal part of the day and provide a chance to relax and chat. If you quit, what will you do during smoke breaks?

You can still join the group and have coffee instead; but, it is tough to sit around while everyone else smokes. You are already fighting the battle of your addiction and trying to resist the temptation to smoke. Sustaining your commitment when everyone else is lighting up can prove to be nearly impossible.

Smoking and Drinking – A Match Made in Heaven

If you like to party with friends – smoking and drinking are typically part of that activity. Luckily, many states no longer allow smoking in bars, which helps with this scenario. But, the reality is that tobacco and alcohol is a match made in heaven (or hell, if you are trying to quit).

Strategies to Resist the Urge to Smoke

When you are in the process of quitting, it will be much better to avoid situations that tempt you to smoke. For example: stay out of bars, stop hanging out with the non-smokers at work, and take a social break from some of your smoker friends. All of these can be painful; but, remember they are only temporary measures. It usually works best if you let friends and co-workers know what is going on, and ask for their support.

The good news is that not all of your smoker friends will snub you. In fact, the majority will see what you’re doing as a wonderful thing. You may even inspire others to do the same. In other words, the social factor of quitting smoking may not be as bad as it seems.

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The Best Reason to Stop Smoking – Your Health

Smoking is an insidious habit.  Once you start, it is difficult to stop. It takes hold and you become captive to the habit.  It becomes your drug of choice.

Nicotine is not only one of the most widely used drugs in the world; it is one of the most addictive and physically harmful – responsible for 480,000 deaths each year (including deaths from secondhand smoke).

Access is unobstructed. Tobacco in all forms is legal and readily available for purchase at gas stations, liquor stores, news stands, supermarkets, etc.

It is fairly safe to say that the majority of smokers would like to break free of their nicotine addiction – primarily because of the health problems linked to smoking. Unfortunately, addictions are hard to break. It is easy to talk about; but, difficult to do. Because it is an addictive drug, quitting involves withdrawal symptoms, which makes quitting a huge challenge.

The best reason to stop smoking is for your health and the health of those you love.

Image by Sabo Photography
Image by Sabo Photography

If You Want to Stop – Keep These Points in Mind

  1. Choose a good start date. Avoid high-stress times, e.g. the holidays, finals week, important job assignment due. High-stress increases your body’s need for nicotine and will make it harder to resist.
  2. Be prepared for possible weight gain. When you stop providing a continual nicotine stream into your body, your metabolism decreases and most people gain between five and 10 pounds. Excessive weight gains of more than 10 pounds are the result of substituting food (usually sweets) for cigarettes.  (Trading one addiction for another.)
  3. Most smokers try to quit more than once before it actually holds. It usually takes a couple of tries, at least, before they finally quit for good. As with most things that are worthwhile, it takes time, dedication and focused effort in order to get the job done.
  4. Preparation is critical.  

a.    Set a date (more about this later).
b.    Remove all tobacco products and accessories (lighters, matches, ashtrays) from your house, car, and office space.
c.    Alert your friends and family of the start date and ask for their support.
d.    Talk to your doctor – this is especially important if you have health concerns.

5.  Medications Are Available.   There are a variety of medications available to reduce nicotine cravings and/or depression if that becomes a problem. Nicotine patches and nicotine gum can be helpful in keeping the nicotine levels constant throughout the day.  The gum works well for people who have an oral fixation with smoking.  Nicotine inhalers and lozenges release nicotine into the blood stream quickly and provide a more immediate response to nicotine cravings.

6. Benefits: When you stop smoking you reduce the risk of lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, chronic lung diseases, and a variety of other cancers.  Your physical appearance will also improve. You will avoid or eliminate premature wrinkling, bad breath, stained teeth, yellow fingernails, and gum diseases. The benefits of becoming a non-smoker extend beyond you – to your circle of influence.  You will decrease the health risks created from secondhand smoke for loved ones and friends.

Stop smoking and get healthy!

Photo Credit: Photosession Nimon&Rion Sep14 via photopin <a

Decide to Be a Non-Smoker

Image by Mark Morgan
Image by Mark Morgan

This posting is about using personal power to reach the goal of becoming a non–smoker – using your power of decision, your power of action, and your power of focus.  The challenge to stop smoking can be daunting, but you can do it, if you want to – if you decide to be a non-smoker. You know how to be a non-smoker because you were born a non-smoker. Smoking is a habit that you have developed (an addictive one to be sure); but, even addictive habits can be broken.

The biggest huddle to becoming a non-smoker is the decision process. You heard me correctly, it is a process. It is not a simple, quick decision. It requires not only a behavioral change, but a mindset and lifestyle change.  In addition to overcoming an addiction, you must also let go of something that you enjoy and replace it with absolutely nothing.

Smoking is probably a big part of your social life and is definitely part of your daily routine. The everyday repetition of the same process creates a powerful trigger in your brain that links to your entire being. So. . . how can you stop such behavior? It is simple . . . not  easy . . . but simple. You must decide to quit smoking.

As I said before, the decision to quit is a process and can take time. I started smoking my senior year in college and continued to smoke (off and on) for another seven years. The last three years were spent trying to quit.

This is how it played out.  First, I was not fully convinced that I wanted to quit because I was dating and later married – it was an integral part of my social persona.  As I faced the challenge, I questioned my intent, my habit, and my reasons for quitting (or not). Ultimately, I realized that smoking was a powerful emotional, social habit, rather than physical. After some time, I finally realized that I did not need a cigarette to be “cool” or to keep my hands busy when I was socializing. It was a crutch that I did not need. That understanding help me make the decision to quit for good – and I did.

Ask yourself if inhaling carcinogens into your body is worth the risk just to give yourself more confidence or to control your emotional state? To key to making the decision is to know yourself and understand your habit.  Start paying attention to your thoughts and feeling connected to smoking.

  • Each time you reach for a cigarette, ask yourself why – what was the trigger that made you want to smoke?
  • What were the thoughts and emotions connected to the need to light up, and to the actual smoking process? For example, were you feeling anxious or nervous? After smoking did you relax and gain enough strength to face an issue, or solve a problem?
  • When you want to relax and you reach for a cigarette, notice what is actually relaxing you. Is  it smoking, or is it simply taking the time away from it all?  Or – is it the thought that you deserve to take a few minutes to relax?

Question yourself about your smoking habit and the drivers of the habit.  Keep asking questions! Eventually, you will find the answers that you need to make a unwavering decision to stop. You will then be able to  focus your energy on the goal, and you will stop smoking.

Time Table for Body Cleanse from Smoking

Natural Body Cleanse from Smoking

The human body is miraculous in its capacity to repair and heal, even when if it has been misused and abused. One of the most common forms of abuse is smoking – an unbelievably powerful addiction that hurts the body with every puff of a cigarette.  BUT . . . because of its resiliency, in just a few days after your final cigarette, your body will begin to repair itself. It is truly magical!

This is true regardless of the number of years you have been a smoker, the body can recover from the abuse and you will begin to feel better and better with time. Barring any long-term disease or chronic condition that may have developed, you can move forward confidently with the knowledge that you can return to good health. That knowledge will help keep you strong when you hit the rough spots – and there will be rough spots.

This is a brief overview of what will happen within your body when you quit smoking. (It is actually quite exciting).

After your last cigarette, the body begins to cleanse itself:

– Less than 1 hour – your heart rate and blood pressure drop to non-smoker levels.

– Around 8 hours – nicotine level drop by 93%

– From 2 to 7 days – the cravings will be intense – they will peak – then start to diminish

  • The lungs begin to repair themselves
  •  Breathing gets easier
  •  Lung capacity begins to expand

– Within 10 days – the withdrawal symptoms will ease – the body has cleansed itself and adjusted to the absence of nicotine

– Within the first few months – the body flushes all remaining nicotine

– Within 2-3 months –  the body is nicotine free

– During the rest of the first year – the lung cilia grows back and respiratory problems subside

You have probably figured out that the 2 to 7-day stretch in the beginning will be difficult. You must stay focused and resist the temptation to give in and grab a smoke.  It does get better, I promise.  By the 10th or 11th day the cravings will drop to a couple of cravings per day and they will only last for a short time (30 seconds – give or take). Of course, the number of cravings per day and the length will vary from person to person.

As you read through the time table, it sounds quite simple; but, do not be fooled. During the withdrawal phase it will be extremely hard to resist the temptation to smoke. Cravings will hit you at all times of the day; and the more you smoked the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.  They can be quite intense.

There are many options when it comes to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help you manage some of the symptoms. Many people find the nicotine patch helpful in relieving severe physical symptoms. NRT has proven to be quite successful. The different products vary in price and availability (some are only available by prescription). My recommendation is that you discuss this method with your doctor.

There are a number of natural techniques you can use to combat cravings, such as exercise, deep breathing, and meditation. Hopefully, you know yourself well and are aware of your triggers. If you do, it will help you say no to the insistent internal voice that is telling you it is time for a cigarette. Controlling the triggers and your automatic response will help a lot.

It is not easy to stop smoking for good – but people do it all the time – and so can you!

Can You Stop Smoking?

Smoking Cigarettes
Image by Andra MIhali

Can YOU stop smoking? Everyone knows the dangers and all the negative effects of smoking, yet people continue to smoke!  WHY?

A few statistics from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the United States is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked.
  • The major causes of excess mortality among smokers are diseases that are related to smoking, including cancer and respiratory and vascular disease.
  • Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year (including deaths from secondhand smoke).
  • Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.
  • Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. (Encouraging)

The potential health risks are enough to scare some people into quitting, but why not everyone?  It doesn’t seem logical that anyone would willingly put themselves at risk for lung cancer, heart problems, cancer of the larynx and even a severely increased risk of heart attack or stroke – and yet by continuing to smoke that is exactly what people are doing.

In spite of all the warnings, those who continue to smoke either believe they cannot stop, they think they are invincible (nothing bad will happen to them), or (as in the case of my son), they do not want to stop.

Unfortunately, by the time many smokers decide too quit, it is often too late. The damage has been done and the result is often a death sentence. The consequence of their addictive habit is they are forced to give up their lives, rather making the choice to give up their daily pack (or packs) of cigarettes.

I lost a brother, a sister and a father-in-law as a result of their choices to continue smoking. I know that none of them consciously chose to die, yet many people make that choice every day by clinging to their cigarettes.

If you decide to quit, be clear about “why” and make a full commitment to do so. If you decide to quit on a whim or a dare, it may be exciting for a short time, but your effort is not likely to be successful. In fact, in the end you may even be upset or a little sad that you did not actually stop.

Letting go of your addiction is never easy; so, why put yourself through it? There are many reasons to stop in addition to the physical impact on your body. In this series we will look at the most compelling reasons to stop smoking; but, today, there is one that I want to mention.

YOUR FAMILY – How do you want your family to remember you?  Do you want to leave the legacy of smoking to your children?  Of all the smokers I have known in my life not one of them has encouraged their children to smoke. In fact, they would be upset, or at least disappointed if their children became smokers.

Children love and idolize their parents and follow their lead. When you continuously smoke around them, you are sending a message that is far more profound than anything you can ever say about smoking – plus, you are endangering their health through secondhand smoke.

When parents smoke, there is a much greater chance that their children will smoke.  The best thing you can do to prevent that is to stop smoking immediately.

Making the decision to quit is personal – and must be something you WANT to do.  No one can force you to stop; but, at the same time ignoring the warnings and advice from your doctors puts you at risk for serious health problems.  The negative effects on your health can be devastating to you – and to you family – debilitating emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease can be life-threatening and heartbreaking. Your loss is also their loss.

We are in an era when people are more focused on living healthier lifestyles. If you are among that number and searching for ways to improve your life, one huge step forward would be to stop smoking. That alone can make a significant improvement in your health. You will also be showing your family that you love them and want to be around for a long time.

Your family relies on you for guidance, support, and love.  Make sure you are there to provide all of that, and more.

The answer to the question – Can you stop smoking? – is YES if you choose to. Taking the time to look at the reasons you want to quit and making an absolute commitment to do so is critical to your success.

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