Strategies To Help You Quit Smoking Cigarettes

Cigarette smoking continues to be one of the most troubling health concerns in the world, claiming millions of lives and hurting the health of millions more. Despite its known risks, a lot of people still continue to enjoy their tobacco sticks and puff at will.

If you are a cigarette smoker who wants to kick the habit, read this article to learn some effective strategies to help you quit smoking.

History of Tobacco

Tobacco was known to be in existence as early as 600 A.D., which was evident from the carved drawings in stone made by the Malayan Indians of Mexico. It was first grown by American Indians who smoked a pipe for either religious or medical purposes.

Tobacco became one of the first cash crops because it was the first crop grown for money in America to help pay for the American Revolution against England. The first U.S. President George Washington also grew tobacco during those times.

By the 1800s, people have started using tobacco in small amounts – either by using it with pipe, chewing it, or rolling it in a cigar. Cigarettes were then sold to soldiers by the end of the Civil war.

By the year 1900s, the cigarette industry has expanded so much that more companies started shifting to manufacturing tobacco, the American Tobacco Company being the largest and most powerful tobacco company in the country.

With the rampant use of tobacco in the country, medical professionals have seen a pattern of diseases related to tobacco smoking. As a result, in 1965, the U.S. Congress passed the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, which states that every cigarette pack must have the following warning label on its side: “Cigarette may be hazardous to your health.” This should serve as a form of information on what cigarette smoking can do to one’s health, specifically referring to the possibility of acquiring lung cancer.

Because of this, tobacco companies have come up with several alternative products that lowered the amount of tar and nicotine as well as improved the filters to keep the customers patronizing their product.

It was in 1984 when Congress again passed another law called the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act. This legislation instructed cigarette companies to change their warning labels every three months that can be used alternately to help provide widespread information of the possible harm that cigarette smoking can do.

It was in the 1980s when local governments and private companies have started taking actions in restricting people from smoking in public places. Tobacco companies were no longer allowed to advertise on radio or television due to law stipulations. Since then, many offices and establishments – including airlines – no longer allow smoking during flights. Along with this is the increase of state taxes on cigarettes.

Despite these regulations, how is it possible that cigarette consumption has not declined?

Facts on Cigarette Smoking

Medical experts have long established how cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer, yet people still continue to puff their health away. Here are some disturbing facts on smoking:

  • Tobacco kills around 6 million users each year. 5 million deaths were caused by directly smoking tobacco while 500,000 deaths accounted for exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • About 80% of tobacco users come from low to middle-income countries.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S.
  • By gender: 17 of every 100 adult men and more than 13 of every 100 adult women in the US.
  • By age: 13 out of every 100 adults aged 18-24 years old; more than 8 every 100 adults aged 65 years and older.
  • By ethnicity: Cigarette smoking was highest among non-Hispanic American Indians and lowest among Asians.
  • By education: Rate of cigarette use was highest among those with a graduate education degree certificate and lowest among with a graduate degree.
  • By poverty status: Tobacco usage was highest among those living below the poverty level.

Effects of Smoking

Education on the effects of smoking should be emphasized, especially among the youth because children as young as 14 years old are already smoking cigarettes. This is common among children this age as they become curious and as they face peer pressure. Worse, smoking can be a precursor to other forms of addiction such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and meth.

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Some of the effects of smoking cigarettes are:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Poor vision
  • Bronchitis
  • Blood cancer
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Lung cancer
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Heart disease
  • Yellow fingers
  • Coughing
  • High cholesterol
  • Stained teeth
  • Smelly hair
  • Wrinkling of skin
  • Poor health condition
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Cervical cancer
  • Early menopause
  • Dementia

Secondhand Smoke Kills

Not many people realize this, but exposure to second hand smoke can cause serious health hazards. This is the primary concern of the government, leading to prohibitions against smoking in public places. It is truly unfair how one can suffer as much as a cigarette user that is why people should be reminded on how to prevent from further using tobacco as their means of recreation or stress-reliever.

Moving Away from Smoking

Some countries have started adopting regulations related to smoking prohibition in public places, with the hopes of encouraging more people to lead a healthier lifestyle and to slowly veer away from smoking. However, despite all the warnings and imposing higher taxes on tobacco, it continues to be one of the prime “commodities” that people cannot seem to live without.

Focusing on the health hazard of what tobacco smoking can lead to, cigarette smokers should be able to find ways on how to help themselves to be free from this substance that can shorten their lives.

Smoking is a form of addiction without the users realizing it. It is an act that has become part of a daily routine or ritual. Some people automatically smoke as they sit on a chair while reading the morning paper, while others enjoy a cigarette with a cup of coffee or with friends. It is because of the presence of nicotine that causes the body to have a “good feel” effect, and that is why smoking has become a way for people to cope with emotional distress or boredom.

Ways to Quit Smoking

Here are some ways to get you to start living a smoke-free life:

1. Change your mindset

Accept the fact that smoking will affect you physically if you don’t quit now. Think of how much money you can save from refusing to buy packs of cigarettes. This can definitely keep you away from health conditions which can put a toll on your finances.

Think of yourself as someone who is not just free from all the harmful chemicals that a stick of cigarette can infuse in the body, but a healthy individual that your family can be with for a long time.

2. Put it on paper

Make a “Quit Smoking Contract” that states the reasons why you would like to quit smoking. Set your projected date on when you hope that you won’t ever feel the need to smoke again.

It’s also a good idea to write down the reasons why you smoke, and then assess whether smoking gave you a solution to your problems.

You may also list down the times when you feel the urge to smoke, so that you may be able to track down specific times or incidents that push you to smoke.

3. Do it slowly

It may not be easy to completely stop smoking in one day, but allow yourself to slowly wean from smoking. If you used to buy in bulk, try buying just one pack at a time. Bring along just a few sticks when you go out so that you can slowly teach yourself not to think of smoking once you run out of cigarettes. Just make sure you won’t be running to the nearest convenience store.

Try cutting it to 1-2 sticks each day until you are comfortable with not having to smoke one.

4. Keep yourself busy

As you wean from smoking, find things that can occupy your time. List down worthwhile activities that can help your mind focus on it instead of wanting to light a stick. For instance, you may want to wash your car, play a game, go out for coffee, take a nap, have sex, or chew a gum.

Make several copies of the list so that you can always go through them when the urge to smoke arises.

5. Use smoking cessation aids

Reducing the intake of nicotine can gradually help. As a replacement to smoking, there are nicotine patches that you can use to help in slowly getting rid of smoking.

The amount of nicotine in the patch is in low dose and is absorbed in the skin. Using this may take some time until the individual is no longer feeling the need to smoke.

6. Feel good about yourself

When you have programmed your mind to stop smoking, studies showed that it is easier to quit when you are in a good mood rather than when depressed.

7. Consult an expert

Should everything mentioned above is of no help to completely stop on your own, consider asking help from a therapist. In some cases, more than being a habit, smoking may be triggered by some hidden issues that we you to face. Counseling using cognitive or behavioral techniques can help to fully identify the cause or triggering factor.

8. Join a support group or meeting

Being involved in a support group may help you get rid of smoking. A typical support group is composed of people who are also trying to stay away from smoking. Some individuals may have completely overcome this ordeal but they still continue to attend so that they can inspire and motivate other recovering addicts to quit the bad habit for good.

9. Read up on quitting techniques

There are a lot of good reading materials that can help you realize the importance of quitting the habit now – not tomorrow or the day after next. The ability to be free from the harmful effects of the chemicals found in a stick of cigarette should be a cause of alarm to start leading a healthier lifestyle.

What Could Happen After Smoking Cessation?

Some people notice some weight gain after they have quit smoking. Understandably, this is mainly due to the fact that smokers are trying to look for ways on how they can mask out their smoking urges, and food somehow replaces the urge to smoke.

Because of this, there’s a big chance of being overweight or obese. Once this happens, a new set of learning and training should be done – that is, choosing the right kind of food and knowing the proper amount of food to be taken in each meal.

Lena Butler

My name is Lena Butler. I live in San Diego, California. I work as a customer service representative for TestCountry.com. I attended the University of San Diego and majored in marketing. I enjoy spending time at home, working on my painting and playing with my two pet rabbits, Carl and Lenny, when I am not here sharing interesting posts :)

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