One of the most common resolutions made each year is to quit smoking; unfortunately, nicotine addiction is a hard battle to win, but the folks at the Quit Line are eager to help smokers drop the nasty habit. Ainslee Lara is a quit coach with the Quit Line and she offered a number of tips for those who are looking to fight their cravings.
Lara recommends smokers plan ahead to quit rather than just trying to drop the habit on a whim. She said it’s better to have a plan for how to manage the withdrawals, especially for regular smokers. Plan ahead at least a week or two, she said, and account for the discomfort of withdrawals.
On top of that, Lara said research shows that using something to replace nicotine, such as patches or gum, can double the chance of success. She said there are five keys that they encourage people follow: number one, she said, is to set a quit date. Following that, look into medication to minimize withdrawals. Then, she said, prepare your environment – essentially tobacco-proof your life and ensure you don’t hold on to any cigarettes. Fourth, she recommends incorporating support from friends or the Quit Line. Finally, make sure that you strategize for coping, whether it’s deep breathing when you’re stressed, walking, or calling a friend.
While it may sound like a lot of work, Lara said there are numerous benefits.
“The health benefits range from within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse go back to a normal rate. Within eight hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood drops to normal. At the year mark, the risk of heart disease is half of that of a smoker. Five years, chance of getting lung cancer is decreased. Ten years, the risk of lung cancer is cut in half, and 15 years, the risk of heart disease is as low as someone who never smoked,” said Lara.
To talk to a quit coach now, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.