You've been thinking about not smoking. Maybe you've even told friends or family members that you're going to quit. Congratulations! Committing to quit smoking for good is the first step to a smoke-free and healthier life. Join many other smokers in the pledge to quit during the American Cancer Society's annual "Great American Smokeout," a day to challenge people across the U.S. to quit using tobacco. The Great American Smokeout takes place on the third Thursday of November every year.
- Set a quit date and make a plan to stick with it. When you establish your goal quit date, it will be easier to build a realistic plan and stick with it. Take it one step at a time.
- Find a new hobbie to distract you during cravings. Perhaps go for a walk with a friend, take a cooking class, work a crossword puzzle. Finding an activity to participate in will keep your mind off cravings.
- Choose a healthy food that can replace the habit of bringing a cigarette to your mouth. Carrot sticks or smaller vegetables make a great replacement.
- Seek support : You don't have to go it alone. Access the many support options available: smoking cessation programs and support groups, individual counseling and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). (Click Resources for contact information.)
- Kick the craving: Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) can help relieve withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe an anti-depressant or Varenicline (brand name Chantix ¨ ).
Quitting Smoking Benefits the Body
Does quitting smoking really make a difference? Check out these recovery numbers from the American Cancer Society:
- In 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- In 12 hours: Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- In 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- In 1 to 9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease and the cilia start to regain normal function in the lung.
And the health benefits keep growing the longer you stay smoke-free: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke in the years ahead. Need more?
So go ahead kick the habit for good! Have a friend who smokes? Encourage them to join you in your pledge to quit during the Great American Smokeout.