Say “NO!” To Cigarettes
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to learn more about your enemy. You need to know what you’re up against, what your options are and where to go for help.
When smokers try to cut back or quit, the absence of nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is both physical and psychological.
Physically, the body is reacting to the absence of nicotine. Psychologically, the smoker is faced with giving up a habit, which is a major change in behavior. Both must be dealt with if quitting is to be successful.
- constipation or diarrhea
- falling heart rate and blood pressure
- fatigue, drowsiness and insomnia
- difficulty concentrating
- increased hunger and caloric intake
- increased pleasantness of the taste of sweets
- tobacco cravings
These uncomfortable symptoms lead the smoker to again start smoking cigarettes to boost blood levels of nicotine back to a level where there are no symptoms.
If a person has smoked regularly for a few weeks or longer and abruptly stops using tobacco or greatly reduces the amount smoked, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last cigarette and peak about two to three days later. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks.
Identify the moods and emotions that make you want to smoke. Stress is a common reason, but there are plenty of others; grief, anger, guilt, hunger. Smoking may have made you feel better for a minute or two, but the effects are short term.
While most people who quit find dealing with stress challenging, finding new ways to cope with difficult situations can be personally rewarding.
Take time to think before you react to unexpected difficulties. Remember, having a cigarette is not going to make the problem go away. As a non-smoker, you have learned new strengths and have shown great determination. What other ways can you look after yourself or get the support you need instead of falling back on a cigarette?
No matter what your age or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will help you live longer. People who stop smoking before age 35 avoid 90% of the health risks attributable to tobacco. Even those who quit later in life can significantly reduce their risk of dying at a younger age.
Ex-smokers also enjoy a higher quality of life with fewer illnesses from cold and flu viruses, better self-reported health status and reduced rates of bronchitis and pneumonia.