There’s a killer among us: a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to deprive people of their health, their wealth and their very life. This killer strikes every day, and inflicts unimaginable pain upon a countless number of victims. The killer doesn’t hide, and neither do they run. They show no mercy, and are relentless in their destruction. They target everyone under the sun, year after year, with no signs at all of letting up their assault. Having read this your instincts are probably screaming at you to do something and fight back… but that’s going to take a little extra effort considering that this killer is in the form of a one-gram cigarette.
There are obvious reasons why smoking tobacco is a bad idea: it’s addictive; and it causes adverse health complications such as cancer, heart disease, or lung disease, to name a few. Cigarette-use and its problematic outcomes transcend far beyond the hospital bed however. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the economic costs that are attributable to smoking within a three-year period can total up to $300 Billion. These costs include financial losses due to premature death, medical expenses, unproductive employees and residential fires. Since 1965 in fact, approximately 20 million people – and counting – have died as a result of causes that are directly linked to smoking, and that’s just in the United States alone.
The greatest tragedy about this loss of life is that it’s completely preventable. One simple decision to live healthy can completely change your destiny from inevitable illness, to longevity and prosperity. Letting go of your cigarette-use is a path to sound well-being both as an individual and at the societal level as well. Less cigarette use means longer life and more time to spend with loved ones. Less cigarette use means a smaller financial burden in terms of medical care; all circumstances that have a cascading effect of fostering stability and happiness. If you are ready to take a leap and kick the habit, here are five things to do that will set the right foundation for a tobacco-free life.
Don’t expect to stop smoking without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. By the time most smokers make the decision to quit, chances are they’ve become addicted to the nicotine in tobacco. This is why quitting cold-turkey is unrealistic and futile. If it took you time to develop the practice of smoking habitually, it will also take time for you to reorient your body to life without a constant infusion of nicotine.
Identify your Triggers:
Smoking is a nervous behavior. This is to say that it’s something people reflexively do as a way to self-soothe during tension. If there are recurring circumstances in your life that happen to compel you to grab a cigarette, learn to identify them, and intentionally resist their influence. For instance if you know that social anxiety makes you crave a smoke, train yourself not to reach for cigarettes in social contexts.
Quitting isn’t an event, it’s a process. It’s a process that should ideally last for the rest of your life. Once you take the plunge, do it wholeheartedly and don’t look back. If you treat quitting as a lifestyle change rather than a momentary decision, you will develop the determination it takes to keep trying even when you relapse and smoke again.
Replace your Habit with a Good One:
Smoking ironically fills a void in people’s lives. Not only is nicotine euphoric, the physical act of biting cigarettes satisfies an oral fixation that would otherwise leave smokers unnerved. If you stop using cigarettes without supplementing said euphoria and oral fixation, you will end up creating a vacuum that can set off relapse unless it is replaced.
Use the Buddy System:
If you have a choice, don’t go it alone as far as quitting is concerned. Take advantage of every emotional support system within reach to find the strength you need to stay the course. You can even get professional support through your primary care provider who can recommend Nicotine Replacement Therapies that are medically proven to counteract withdrawal. Any kind of social support with this decision enhances your odds of successfully giving up cigarettes.
Life’s too short to spend grappling with destructive habits like smoking. You may enjoy the comfort of having a cigarette clenched between your fingers in the moment, but that happiness simply pales in comparison to the freedom of knowing that your health, money and time don’t belong to one-gram of ground tobacco leaves. The power is in you to make the right choice. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.