Published: March 20, 2019
Kick Butts Day, organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, occurs on March 20, 2019. This is a great day to get involved in helping smokers you know give up smoking.
Did you know?
When someone quits smoking, the body begins healing immediately, even if that person was a longtime smoker.
If you or someone you know smokes, the best step you can take toward improving your health is to quit. Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans every year – more than HIV, drugs, alcohol, car accidents, and guns combined. Along with a greater risk for lung cancer, smoking also causes many other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illness and many other types of cancer.
How to Quit Smoking
Are you ready to quit? Here are 5 tips experts recommend to help you succeed.
Make a Plan
Start by deciding how you want to quit and ask friends and family to support you. For some, quitting cold turkey may be the best choice, while others may prefer medication or a nicotine replacement tool, like gum or the patch, to help them through the physical cravings. Your doctor can help you decide which is right for you.
The longing for nicotine usually goes away after a couple of weeks, but the desire to fall back into old habits may last longer. Those who successfully quit didn’t always succeed the first time or even many times after – but they never gave up trying. Avoiding temptation is an important step. Stay away from places where other people smoke. Get to know your triggers and learn what situations make you reach for a cigarette so you can figure out how to deal with them before they happen.
Adopt New Habits
One of the hardest aspects of quitting is breaking the routines you had while smoking. So what is the best way to break old habits? By introducing new ones. Try chewing a stick of gum after meals, when you would otherwise want to smoke. If you feel like taking smoke breaks at work, get up and walk around the block instead.
Create a Win-Win with Exercise
Whether it’s walking, biking or lifting weights, exercise is a great tool for quitting smoking. Being active takes your mind off the desire to smoke, while the endorphins released help you feel happier and more energized. And you get the usual benefits of working out, including weight loss, improved cardiovascular health and better lung function.
Set attainable, short-term goals to keep you motivated for the long-term goals. Then give yourself a (nonsmoking) reward for meeting them. For example, put aside all the money you’d normally spend on cigarettes in a week, and at the end of the week use the money for concert tickets or gear for a new hobby.
Go to mywha.org/quit for information on WHA’s online smoking cessation program.
WHA Members: Learning your health status and risks allows you to take control of your health so you can live a longer, healthier life. Take the first step and sign up with Optum to access all the tools and coaching that are available right at your fingertips!