On Friday, 31st of May, the world observed World No-Tobacco day. This annual campaign offers an opportunity to raise awareness on the deadly effects of tobacco smoke and the dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke. The theme for this year’s campaign was ‘Tobacco and lung health’. Earlier this year our column focused on lung health, and alluded that healthy lungs are fundamental in our quest for total well-being and a good quality life. Many people do not regard their lungs as vital until it is (almost) too late for them. For the most, it happens when smoking literally takes their breath away.
Smoking is a difficult-to-manage addiction, and steals away a smoker’s health and the health of people around them. It causes lung cancer, is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis, and causes infertility in both men and women. Maternal smoking cause small-for-date babies and childhood respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and asthma. and may even lead to still birth in babies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cautions that there is no safe way to smoke, and replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, vaping device or hookah won’t help you steer clear of the health risks. Giving up smoking is life-saving, as it lowers the risk for smoking-related diseases extensively, and can add years to your life. A well-designed smoking cessation program is key and should include the following steps:
The decision to quit
Quitting smoking is a challenge, but you can rise to the challenge once you make the decision to quit. Talk to your doctor about the need for nicotine replacement therapy or smoking cessation medicine such as Zyban.
Understand your high-risk times
Understanding why you smoke and why you do it at a specific time is essential. Being cognisant of your specific behaviour and relationship with your cigarette help to plan your cessation in a pro-active way.
Stock up on supplies
Your brain will still crave the oral sensation of a cigarette and stocking up on substitutes like gum, raw vegetables and carrot sticks will help you to nip those unwanted cravings in the bud, putting you ahead of your game.
Pick a Quit Date
Quitting is a personal commitment, so choose a quiet and stress-free day.
Let People Know
Be smart and choose people in your circle of influence who you think will be helpful.
Remove Smoking Reminders
Smoking is triggered by cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays. Get rid of these paraphernalia, so you don’t fall prey to a relapse.
The First 2 Weeks
The first two weeks are critical. Give yourself the best chance by staying busy, going for walks or to the gym in the early days. Don’t try to quit alone. Most importantly, don’t hang out with smokers. That is a high risk environment for at least the first several months.
Maintenance and Coping Strategies
Quit one day at a time. Celebrate your victories, however small and insignificant they may seem. Manage your stress, get plenty of rest and eat healthy.
The following additional coping strategies may help:
Refuse to let your addiction win;
Think of the benefits to your health, finances and family;
Remind yourself that there is no such thing as “just one puff”. Stay clear from that inviting thought at all times;
Practise saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke anymore.”
A craving lasts 10 - 20 minutes, so if you expect it and distract yourself, the cravings will pass and you will be on top of your game.
Remember, put the cigarette out before it puts you out. Quit today! It is the right thing to do.
2019-06-03 08:58:36 21 days ago