If you have ever attempted to quit smoking cigarettes, you've obviously found out how difficult it can be. The famous American author, Mark Twain once quipped, "to quit smoking is one of the easiest things in the world, I must have done it over a dozen times."
Although it will take much effort and hard work on your part to quit smoking, you can do it. Or maybe you would like to consider the alternative which is nearly half of all those who do not quit smoking will die as a result of health problems that are directly related to smoking.
Research has indicated that most people who smoke want to quit. Sales of books written to help people quit smoking have soared by over 260%.
Even though we realize that it is very difficult to quit smoking you should not be discouraged. Remember that millions of Americans have given up the smoking habit for good. In fact it is estimated that over 46 million Americans have quit smoking permanently.
Before you know it, after you decide to stop smoking, you can be free from smoking forever. You want to keep reminding yourself that it is never too late to kick your tobacco habit.
You May Be Wondering Where You Begin to Quit Smoking
Before you begin down the road of quitting smoking, you must first ask yourself if you really want to stop. If you can honestly answer 'yes' to this question, you are now ready to begin your journey towards becoming an ex-smoker.
As you begin your journey you will discover there are a number of ways to quit smoking and many programs available to help you quit. Keep in mind that there is no one perfect way for you to quit smoking but there will be one way or a combination of ways that are best for you.
How you are able to cope with stress when you quit smoking will significantly affect your comfort level and your ability to remain an ex-smoker.
To help you increase the chances of success, you may possibly consider including medication, such as is available in a nicotine replacement therapy program for instance. However not everyone who makes the decision to quit smoking will want or need to use these certain medicines.
However, although many smokers are able to quit smoking without using nicotine replacement therapy, it is found that most people who attempt to quit without NRT may not be successful on their first attempt.
You will find that there are many stop smoking aids that can assist you with quitting smoking such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, prescription medications such as Zyban and Chantix, herbal stop smoking products, stop smoking hypnosis, and acupuncture.
Most folks who decide to quit smoking may decide to use a combination of these methods and we will discuss some of them further on.
Harmful Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
You've heard it all before I know, smoking cigarettes is bad for you. If you did not already know this you would not be here, right?
But Just How Bad is Cigarette Smoking?
When asked why they want to quit smoking, most people stated their concerns for their health as one of the top reasons for wanting to stop smoking. Quitting your tobacco habit is singularly one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself. Your decision to stop smoking will not only improve your health but also the health of people around you.
We are all aware that smoking cigarettes can result in a large number of health problems including lung cancer. However what most folks do not realize is that smoking cigarettes is a major risk factor for many other kinds of cancers as well. These include cancer of the mouth, larynx, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, cervix, stomach, pancreas, and even some leukemias.
It is estimated that one out of every ten moderate smokers and close to one out of every five heavy smokers (excluding 15 cigarettes a day) will die of lung cancer.
Unfortunately for men smokers, we are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared with women smokers who are 12 times more likely to develop lung cancer than are non-smokers.
Of those smokers who do develop lung cancer, men who smoke are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than those folks who do not smoke. Also lung cancer is a bigger killer of women that is breast Cancer.
And even if you survive the lung cancer for now, the surgery to remove diseased lung and the ongoing chemo treatment will not be pleasant.
And let's hope you do not live in Canada – the wait for treatment might just kill if you are needing rapid treatment.
However lung cancer is not the biggest killer of a smoker – its circulatory disease.
Smoking plays a large part in increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and various other lung diseases. Smoking has also been found to increase your risk of periodontal disease which results in swollen gums and teeth that fall out.
Smoking has also been found to increase one's risk of age related loss of vision. Smokers have a much greater likelihood of developing the eye disease called macular degeneration.
The surgeon general has for decades been reporting on the health risks that are associated with smoking. The surgeon general concluded in 1990 that quitting smoking has major and immediate help benefits for both men and women of all ages.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself to dramatically improve your life and health.
Stop Smoking Medication
The use of nicotine replacement therapy such as found in nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, or nasal sprays, can be quite helpful in your attempt to quit smoking. The inhalers and sprays are only available by prescription but the nicotine patch and gum are available without prescription and over-the-counter at pharmacies or online.
Nicotine patches and nicotine gum help to lessen the severity and discomfort of nicotine withdrawal symptoms by controlling the release of nicotine into your body. This can help you deal with the physical component of nicotine addiction and can drastically reduce your withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine gum and nicotine patches may also enable you to control your weight as well while you are involved in your smoking cessation program as nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant. This may keep you from having to rely on a restrictive diet, appetite suppressant drugs or diet pill to help you not gain weight.
The nicotine patch is applied like a Band-Aid to your skin and slowly releases a controlled amount of nicotine into your system through the day. The patch can be used by individuals who may have problems with gum due to dental work or may find the gum inconvenient due to school or work place restrictions.
The nicotine gum is chewed slowly to release nicotine and then placed between your cheek and gum until another nicotine urge arises. Nicotine gum can also replace some oral gratification that cigarettes may have given.
Other Quit smoking aids include Zyban (same active ingredient as Wellbutrin) which is a prescription antidepressant, bupropion hydrochloride, and is thought to work on the reward / withdrawal receptors in your brain.
Another prescription stop smoking drug that has been designed exclusively as a stop smoking aid is Chantix. Chantix is not an antidepressant so is not subject to the same types of side effects.
Also some natural herbal products like the herbal patch, which works like the nicotine patch but uses herbs instead of nicotine and herbal drops which are added to water or your favorite fruit juice, have shown promise in helping to alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms, reduce your irritability , Curb your hunger, and eliminate toxins from your body.
Hypnosis as an Aid to Stop Smoking
Some people find that hypnosis or hypnotherapy can be helpful to help them stop smoking. Hypnosis is a suggestion to your subconscious mind while your body and mind are in a deep state of relaxation.
Research seems to suggest that stop smoking hypnosis can be successful in helping folks to quit smoking and if visiting a hypnotherapist seems to be bit inconvenient, self hypnosis tapes and audio CDs are available online.
The Medical Hypnosis and Counseling Center believes that while not a cure all, hypnosis can play a long-term role in keeping folks away from cigarettes.
Support for Smokers Who Would Like To Become Non-Smokers
Most folks who have been successful at quitting smoking make the suggestion that you develop a network of support from friends and family. Research that has come out recently seems to suggest that continued support as well as encouragement from friends, family, and health care providers can be extremely helpful.
Studies also suggest that people will find greater success with their quit smoking efforts if they combine several stop smoking subsidies. As an example, gettting on board with a support group as well as possibly using nicotine patches or gum can be quite effective. To locate support groups or a stop smoking helpline, you might want to check with the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345.
With the combination of smoking cessation aids, support, and good old-fashioned determination you will soon find yourself if the ranks of ex-smokers.
Contributed by guest blogger R. Edward Jones