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5 guaranteed ways to quit smoking

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.

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If you have made the momentous decision to stop smoking, and you wonder how to go about it, you have found the right place for useful advice. It may seem really hard to give up the habit after several years or months of taking addictive tobacco. But the benefits are too much to be passed over. Imagine! Quitting can buy healthy years back for you by undoing some of the damage already made. So why not? The tips below will take you necessary step after step to dropping the habit. See you on the other side.

1) What are your beliefs about smoking? This is an important question as your answer determines how motivated you are to stop and how likely you are to succeed. 

2) Do you know the advantages of giving up the habit? What are the reasons why your doctor spends several minutes discussing smoking with you? Can you list them? Let’s help you. 

Benefits of quitting 

When you stop smoking, you are protected to a large extent from heart disease and causes of heart-related deaths e.g. heart attacks, lung diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstruction (breathing difficulties due to narrowing and inflammation of the breathing tubes), poor wound healing, atherosclerosis (clumps of fat blocking the blood vessels) causing pain and loss of function in the limbs particularly the lower limbs, Buerger’s disease (inflammation of veins, nerves and arteries mostly in young male smokers).

Your smoking risk is graded in pack years. If you smoked 20 cigarettes a day for one year, this would equal one pack year. Do the math. The higher your number of pack years, the more likely you are to develop disease.

3) Choose a date (D-day),when you will become a non-smoker. It is a remarkable decision so be sure to pick a date that will have the barest stress. It is easier to quit without the bother of a nagging boss over your shoulder. 

4) Discard all your smoking accessories and cigarettes. Accessories include ashtrays, lighters, matches, pipes, and everything that reminds you of your habit. Do this before the D-day. In the same vein, start getting used to saying ‘no’ when offered a cigarette, even when you are told ‘it’s just one little puff’. Tell your friends and loved ones about this change. 

5) In some places, nicotine gums and patches are available, they help make the process of quitting easier by providing intermittent, limited doses of nicotine, the substance in cigarettes that makes it difficult to stop. There are other drugs that can be used as well, if you need them, discuss with your healthcare provider. 

Although smoking contributes a large share of the risks for the diseases mentioned above, there are other factors that may or may not be modifiable, that predispose you to them, such as obesity, alcohol, family history, age, sex, the type of work you do or used to do, and medical history. All of these are considered when trying to determine your risk. Still, quitting has unarguable benefits. You should quit too.

Have you tried quitting before?

Or have you quit smoking successfully? Did any of these tips work for you? Are there others we should add? Tell us in the comments about your experience, and share with us what worked for you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers!

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo