~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – The Dangers of Smoking – Part 3 of 3 ~

Top Tips On How to Quit Smoking
It’s never too late to quit smoking; these tips are from various research groups and have been identified as the best tips to quit smoking:
– Quitting is different for everyone, so find an approach that will work for you. This may be either the cold turkey approach (stopping suddenly and totally) or a more gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Set a date to quit, and stick to it, however, make it sooner rather than later. Every cigarette damages your health.
– Get as much support as you can from family, friends and work colleagues. Let them know you are planning to quit and ask smokers not to smoke around you or offer you cigarettes. Quitting with a friend can also be an excellent idea this enables you to share your feelings and encourage each other to quit.
– Throw out all cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters and anything else that might remind you of smoking.
– Wash your clothes and clean your car and home to remove the smell of smoke.
– Nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches or chewing gum, could be a good idea for those who smoke heavily or who feel they may need the extra help. There are also oral prescription medicines you can take on advice from your doctor. Talk to your doctor about what is right for you.
– Plan ahead for situations in which you are likely to be tempted to smoke such as parties. Try to avoid these situations in the early stages of your quitting program.
– Write down all the reasons that made you decide to quit smoking, and carry them with you in case you need reminding!
– Avoid alcohol as many people find it hard to resist smoking when they drink.
– If you find you are losing motivation to quit, remind yourself of the many medical benefits of quitting! For example: did you know that after 1 year of quitting smoking your risk for coronary heart disease is about half that of smokers.
– Think of the financial benefits! Have you considered how much money you could save by quitting smoking and being a non-smoker? Cigarettes cost money, and the cost is increasing all the time. What could you do with all the extra money?
Keep the following 4 Ds in mind when you have a craving:
Delay: Remember that the worst cravings last for only a few minutes and will become even less frequent the longer you have quit.
Deep breathe: This should help you relax and focus your mind on something else.
Drink water: It is a good idea to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the nicotine and other toxins out of your system.
Do something else: You could go for a walk, to the movies or visit a supportive friend. Try eating an apple, chewing gum or cleaning your teeth when you would normally have a cigarette. You could hold something else, such as a pen or beads to replace the need to hold a cigarette.
Tip: Start exercising after you quit smoking! Exercise will not only act as a distraction from smoking it will release endorphins (the feel-good chemicals in your brain). This will also assist in creating new routines, help reduce nicotine cravings and get you on the road to better health. Remember that some activity is better than no activity but, before you start, it is advisable to discuss your physical activity plans with your doctor.
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