You’ve decided to quit smoking. Congratulations! Your first day without cigarettes can be difficult. Here are five steps you can take to handle quit day and be confident about being able to stay quit. Having a plan can make your quit day easier. A quit plan gives you ways to stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit. You can build your own quit plan or find a quit program that works for you. Medicines can curb cravings and may also make smoking less satisfying if you do pick up a cigarette. Other drugs can ease withdrawal symptoms, such as depression or problems with concentration.
At the same time, the act of smoking is ingrained as a daily ritual. It may be an automatic response for you to smoke a cigarette with your morning coffee, while taking a break from work or school, or during your commute home at the end of a long day. Perhaps friends, family members, and colleagues smoke, and it has become part of the way you relate with them.
The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation, stopping smoking, represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.” It’s hard to quit smoking, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying a non-smoker, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Smokers are at higher risk than nonsmokers for a daunting list of cancers.
Find Your Reason. To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke. Or lower your chance of getting lung cancer, heart disease, or other conditions. Or to look and feel younger. Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up. The brain is hooked on nicotine. Without it, you’ll go through withdrawal. One reason people smoke is that the nicotine helps them relax. Once you quit, you’ll need new ways to unwind.
Everything you could ever want to know about quitting smoking! Check out our ultimate guide to the overwhelmingly large amount of effects of smoking. From lung cancer to emphysema, learn about it here! Tobacco addiction is both mental and physical. For most people, the best way to quit will be some combination of medicine, a method to change personal habits, and emotional support.
Whether you’re a teen smoker or a lifetime pack-a-day smoker, quitting can be tough. But the more you learn about your options and prepare for quitting, the easier the process will be. With the right game plan tailored to your needs, you can break the addiction, manage your cravings, and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good. When you stop smoking, nicotine withdrawal may give you headaches, affect your mood, or sap your energy. Nicotine is an addictive drug.
Carbon monoxide, which can be toxic to the body at high levels, is released from burning tobacco and inhaled as part of cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide bonds very well to blood cells, so high levels of the gas can prevent the cells from bonding with oxygen. The lack of oxygen in the blood often causes serious heart conditions and other health problems.
After stopping smoking:
20 minutes: Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal.
8 hours: Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream has fallen.
12 hours: Your blood oxygen level has increased to normal. Carbon monoxide levels have dropped to normal. The risk of coronary artery disease for smokers is 70 percent higher than for nonsmokers. It is the most common form of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. However, just one full day after quitting smoking, your risk for coronary artery disease will already begin to reduce. Your risk of having a heart attack also starts to decline.
Fifteen years after your last cigarette, your risk for heart disease will be at the same level as that of a nonsmoker. The long-term benefits of quitting smoking are significant and can increase life expectancy.
Keeping busy is a great way to stay smoke free on your quit day. Being busy will help you keep your mind off smoking and distract you from cravings. Being active can curb nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms. Think about occupying yourself:
- Quit smoking cold turkey.
- Drink lots of water.
- Relax with deep breathing.
- Spend time with non-smoking friends and family.
- Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery. Try drinking water instead.
- Systematically decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke.
- Use nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Write all your reasons for quitting on a card.
- Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you.
- Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette.
- Make your home smoke free, meaning that no one can smoke in any part of the house.
- Remove all lighters and ash trays from your home. Remove anything that reminds them of smoking.
- keep your cigarettes, lighters, and matches out of sight
Do not try to avoid smoking situations or opt out of life. Go out and enjoy social occasions right from the start and do not envy smokers, pity them. Realise that they will be envying you because every single one of them will be wishing they could be like you: free from the whole filthy nightmare. No smoker wants to see their children start smoking which means they wish they hadn’t started themselves.
Quitting smoking is difficult. It happens one minute… one hour… one day at a time. Try not to think of quitting as forever. Pay attention to today and the time will add up. It helps to stay positive. Your quit day might not be perfect, but all that matters is that you don’t smoke—not even one puff. Reward yourself for being smoke free for 24 hours. You deserve it. And if you’re not feeling ready to quit today, set a quit date that makes sense for you. It’s OK if you need a few more days to prepare to quit smoking.
Research shows that most people try to quit smoking several times before they succeed. (It’s called a relapse when smokers go back to smoking like they were before they tried to quit.) If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the next time. Don’t give up! Many people try several times before giving up cigarettes for good. If you light up, don’t get discouraged. Instead, think about what led to your relapse, such as your emotions or the setting you were in.
When you drink, it’s harder to stick to your no-smoking goal. So try to limit alcohol when you first quit. Likewise, if you often smoke when you drink coffee, switch to tea for a few weeks.
Anger and Rage When You Quit Smoking
When you quit smoking, your emotions may not be as in check as they were before. Even if you are not an emotional person, the effect that cravings can have on you can turn you into that kind of person.
The best treatment is prevention. This holds true for any disease, and it applies equally as well to withdrawal symptom rage. If you know what makes you angry, you can simply avoid it and avoid the anger.
Try hypnosis, acupuncture, or counseling using cognitive behavioral techniques.
Smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. The nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporary—and addictive—high. Eliminating that regular fix of nicotine will cause your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Because of nicotine’s “feel good” effect on the brain, you may also have become accustomed to smoking as a way of coping with stress, depression, anxiety, or even boredom.
A wide array of toxic substances is released in the burning of tobacco. Over time, these substances cause your blood vessels to narrow, which increases your risk of having a stroke.
Whenever you’re tempted to light up, take a look at all the ways smoking can damage your health: Increases risk of lung, bladder, pancreatic, mouth, esophageal, and other cancers, including leukemia Increases risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure. Increases risk of diabetes Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease Affects mental capacity and memory Contributes to thin bones
Never be fooled into thinking you can have the odd cigarette just to be sociable or just to get over a difficult moment. If you do, you’ll find yourself back in the trap in no time at all. Never think in terms of one cigarette, always think of the whole filthy lifetime’s chain. Remember: there is no such thing as just one cigarette.
Do not keep cigarettes on you or anywhere else in case of an emergency. If you do, it means you’re doubting your decision. Non-smokers do not need cigarettes. You are already a non-smoker the moment you put out your final cigarette.
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Don’t try to diet while you give up cigarettes. Too much deprivation can easily backfire. Instead, keep things simple and try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These are good for your whole body.
You can’t always avoid the anger. There will be times where it comes out of you and you just have to deal with it. In that instance, you cannot let it control you, and you cannot try to marginalize it. Instead, focus on what is causing you that anger. Is it really a big deal and worth being angry about? Are you really angry about that trigger or is it just that you miss your cigarettes?
Keep in mind that these feelings of anger and irritability will be strongest within the first two weeks of withdrawal. Don’t bottle up your emotions. If something makes you angry, express it instead of smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you’re bored, admit to yourself that you’re bored and find something energetic to do instead of lighting up. Life will soon go back to normal as a non-smoker but be on your guard not to fall back into the trap.
Managing unpleasant feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common reasons why adults smoke. When you have a bad day, it can seem like cigarettes are your only friend. As much comfort as cigarettes provide, though, it’s important to remember that there are healthier (and more effective) ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Cigarette cravings
- Irritability, frustration, or anger
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Difficulty concentrating