We have all met different people who claim that 'quitting smoking is easy.' They generally say this as they are puffing on a cigarette. Sure -- it's easy to quit for an hour or a day, but it is the steadfastly remaining quit part which is demanding.
Perhaps the most beneficial incentive for avoiding cigarettes is knowing how it rewards you. According to the US Surgeon General's report the advantages of giving up smoking begin almost straightaway and increase the longer you keep away from smoking. After just 20 minutes of nonsmoking your blood pressure comes back to normal. Eight hours later, your system has flushed the carbon dioxide. During the three months after quitting, your lung capacity increases by 30%. One year after quitting your risk of heart attack has become half that of a steady smoker. After five years your risk of sudden stroke has normalized and after 10 years your expected risk of lung cancer is half that of a steady smoker.
These increased physical health benefits are one and the same regardless when you quit. Of course, if you quit when you are young you have a much better probability of regaining normal health within a shorter time. But even if you quit when you are 60 your life expectancy and primary standard of living will significantly intensify.
Unfortunately, what is going to happen 10 years down the road is often of little direct importance during a spell of nicotine craving. The longer you quit smoking, however, the less often these cravings will readily occur. But smoking is more than just a physical addiction, it is also a behavioral habit, and long after the physical need for nicotine has been finally overcome you may still feel the need to smoke in special circumstances.
Identifying the current circumstances which cause you to reach for a cigarette can be of great help in overcoming the inclination to smoke. If you usually recognize, for instance, that you feel like smoking at parties, you may especially need to avoid them for a particular interval of time until you break the habit. Also, if current conditions of stress make you want to smoke, finding alternative ways to deal with stress will help you stay smoke-free.
Despite all your best efforts, you may find that you have had a relapse and have taken up smoking again. If this results, don't let this discourage you -- many people have to try four or five times before they successfully quit. The most important is immediately to stop smoking. Even if you are in the middle of a cigarette, put it out and discard the balance of the package. Don't get down on yourself or think that you have failed -- each time you reaffirm your commitment to quit it becomes stronger.
Look for moral support from family and confidantes. If you deeply feel like smoking, talk to somebody about it and let them know what you are going through. Some communities have solid encouragement groups for people who are trying to quit. With regular scheduled meetings and contact with other group members you can support one another and offer encouragement and expert guidance.
Some companies besides offer programs for employees who wish to quit. Take advantage of all of these services -- your long-term commitment to quit smoking is helpful not only to you but also to your family, friends, and associates.
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