What can we do to stop smoking? Start with these three steps.
- Educate Yourself. The first step to quitting smoking is to understand your risks associated with tobacco use, but there's a lot more to quitting than frightening statistics. Our journey to smoke-free living will help us turn our life around in so many ways.
- 20 minutes after quitting: your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
- 12 hours of smoke-free living: the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
- 2 weeks to three months of smoke-free living: your circulation and lung function begin to improve.
- 1 week to nine months of smoke-free living: clear and deeper breathing gradually returns.
- 1 year after quitting smoking, a person’s risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
- 5 years after quitting smoking, a person’s risk of stroke is similar to that of a nonsmoker.
- Make a Plan to Quit. We’re more likely to quit smoking for good if we prepare by creating a plan that fits our life and lifestyle.
- SET a quit date within the next 7 days.
- CHOOSE a method; cold turkey or gradually.
- DECIDE if you need help from a healthcare provider or nicotine replacement.
- PREPARE for your quit day by preparing for cravings and urges to smoke.
- QUIT on your quit day.
- Tips for Success. Setting realistic goals and making slow changes over time are the best ways to set ourselves up for success, feel our best and live a healthy life.
- Deal with Urges to Smoke. Whether physical or mental, we must learn our triggers and make a plan to address them. We should avoid situations that make us want to smoke until we feel confident that we can make it through the urges.
- Stay Physically Active. Physical activity helps us manage our stress level so keeping active while trying to quit can help with the stress of not smoking. Plus it helps manage our weight and strengthen our heart!
- Learn to Handle the Stress. Quitting smoking may cause us to feel stress. We also may be more tempted to give in to cravings when we are stressed. Learning how to handle stress can help us make it through the first few months of learning healthier habits to replace smoking.
- Develop a Support System. Some of us have a “quit-smoking buddy” and others have a support program. Both can help smokers identify and cope with problems we may have when trying to quit.
- Stick with It. Quitting smoking take a lot of will power. We should reward ourselves when we reach milestones and forgive ourselves if we take a step backward. Get back on course as soon as possible to stay on track and kick the habit for good.