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Most people are aware that smoking has a negative effect on lung health, but the effects on your mental health, vision and wallet may not be as noticeable. Tobacco dependence is a chronic condition itself, and like many other chronic conditions, it can be dangerous if left untreated.
Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and other conditions:
But smoking doesn’t just affect your health, it affects your finances too. A study conducted by the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society found the economic impact of smoking cost $1.4 trillion in 2012. Imagine the cost savings if just 10% of people were able to quit smoking.
Smoking cessation (the process of quitting smoking) is not an easy feat, and many people are not able to quit on their first try. But that’s okay! The key is to keep trying. Use these tips to help successfully complete your smoking cessation journey:
#1. Don’t overestimate your willpower
Willpower absolutely has a place in the smoking cessation process, but it is not effective to rely on willpower alone. Roughly 95% of people who attempt to quit “cold turkey” without treatment do not succeed. This has nothing to do with someone’s level of self-discipline. The addictive nature of smoking impairs the brain’s ability to control impulses, which is why medical treatments are often helpful.
#2. Get a doctor’s help
Many people don’t realize that aids to quit smoking are covered by insurance, including medications and counseling. Your healthcare provider can help guide you through the process and find a treatment that works best for you. Your doctor can also be a part of your support team.
#3. Change up your routine
Do you have a smoke break scheduled into your daily routine? You’re not alone. When you begin to quit smoking, you may experience intense cravings during the times you normally had set aside for smoking. Adjusting the order or time frame in which you perform your daily tasks can help you better curb those cravings.
#4. Know your triggers
Triggers are people, places, emotions, etc. that make people want to smoke. Knowing what your craving triggers are can help you avoid and overcome them. If your triggers are emotional, they can be hard to avoid. The National Cancer Institute offers these tips for coping (that don’t involve smoking).
#5. Prepare for mood changes
The withdrawal process can cause changes in mood. Increased sadness, irritability and restlessness are common, but these emotions usually last only a week or two. If it lasts longer, it’s important to talk to your doctor as there may be an underlying problem such as depression. Exercising, being around people and keeping busy can help you combat these mood changes.
#6. Reward yourself
The journey to quit smoking is not an easy one, so don’t be afraid to reward yourself along the way. With all the money you’ll save from not buying tobacco products, you could go on a vacation, take yourself on a shopping spree or pay off debt. The possibilities are endless. Use this free calculator tool to see how much you could save with a smoking-free lifestyle.
“Tobacco Use and Pregnancy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“10 of the Worst Diseases Smoking Causes.” American Lung Association.
“Diseases Linked to Smoking Cost the World $422 Billion in Health-related Expenses.” The American Cancer Society.
“Read This Before Trying to Quit Smoking ‘Cold Turkey.’” The Truth Initiative.
“Want to Quit Tobacco – Treatments to Help You are Covered in Health Insurance.” American Lung Association.
“Smoking and Depression.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.