By now, most people know the risks associated with smoking. So let’s talk about what you can do to quit smoking. Quitting the habit is no easy feat, and many smokers have quit a few times only to start the cycle over again. The key to success in quitting smoking is planning and commitment. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that you research your options, including joining a support group, using self-help materials such as books or pamphlets, or using nicotine replacement products. Once you’ve educated yourself, your plan should include one or more of these options.
There are many benefits to quitting smoking. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation, eight hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Twenty-four hours after quitting, your chance of heart attack decreases and two to three weeks after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30 percent. The benefits of quitting smoking increase the longer you remain a nonsmoker.
The ACS recommends the following suggestions to smokers on their quitting day:
Do not smoke
Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and any other items related to smoking
Keep active – try walking, exercising, or doing other activities or hobbies
Drink lots of water and juices
Begin using the nicotine replacement if that is your choice
Attend a stop-smoking class or follow a self-help plan
Avoid high-risk situations where the urge to smoke is strong
Reduce or avoid alcohol
Use the four "A's" – avoid, alter, alternatives, activities – to deal with tough situations
More than 40 million Americans have successfully quit smoking, and you can too.