Prevention and Wellness

Tobacco Addiction

Smoking is a hard habit to break. That’s because tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive drug. With every puff, you take nicotine into your body, where it affects the pleasure center of your brain. The more you smoke, the more marks are made in the pleasure center of your brain, causing it to want even more nicotine.

Tobacco use becomes so much a part of your everyday life that sometimes you may not even be aware you have lit a cigarette. You may have a cigarette with your meals, as you talk on the phone, when you first get up in the morning, with your first cup of coffee, reading a book, and many other activities.

The Facts About Quitting

Now that you understand the powerful addiction of nicotine, you can see why it’s tough to quit smoking. But you can do it. Just remember: 

  • You don’t have to do it alone. Here at Premier Community Health (PCH), we have a trained smoking cessation counselor to help you be successful.
  • Benefits are immediate. Once you smoke your last cigarette, you’ll see positive health changes right away–no matter how long you smoked–as long as no permanent damage has been done to your blood cells.
  • You may prevent health problems. If blood cells are damaged, they can become cancerous and build a tumor in your body. Nicotine builds cholesterol in your body, so blood cells can become very thick and attach to the walls of arteries, causing blood clots, artery blockage, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Get Ready to Quit

Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, take steps to get ready:

  • Get rid of all tobacco products (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff) as well as ashtrays, matches and lighters in your home, car, and office.
  • Write down your five most important reasons for quitting―and put the list all over your house and car, as well as in your cigarette pack.
  • Put a picture of a loved one under the cover of your cigarette pack.
  • Develop a plan and share it with those who can support you.
  • Choose a quit date and mark it on the calendar.
  • Have your teeth cleaned to make your smile brighter.
  • Keep gum, mints, and/or hard candy with you at all times to pop in your mouth when you get the urge to smoke.
  • Clean furniture, curtains, and carpets to lessen the smell of stale smoke.
  • Paint your walls―nicotine sticks to your walls and makes them dingy.
  • Buy new clothes so you can start fresh with some clean-smelling clothes to wear.
  • Redecorate your house―buy or move furniture, decorate or do other home projects to give your home a different appearance, life, and feel.
  • Change your routines (drive to work a different way, eat at smoke-free restaurants, limit time you spend with friends who smoke).
  • Tell people you are trying to quit smoking―gather support you will need from family, friends, coworkers, and others as you go on your journey to become smoke-free and prepare them for the physical and emotional changes you will be going through.
  • Ask friends and family not to smoke in your house or car.

How to Quit

As you get ready to quit smoking, think positive. But be realistic, too. Quitting smoking can take several attempts. (It’s normal to have up to seven attempts to quit before you do for good.) Don’t worry. Just learn more from each attempt so you’re more successful next time.

If you go back to smoking again, just pick your new quit day and start over. Be patient and kind to yourself, and reward yourself for even the smallest bit of progress–like cutting down one more cigarette smoked in a day.

These tips can help you as you are in the process of quitting smoking:

  • Use less and less tobacco each day until you do not use it at all. This may be a challenge when the time comes to give up those last few cigarettes.
  • Change your routine so you don’t connect activities with smoking. You may be less likely to automatically reach for a cigarette to go with that first cup of coffee if you drink it somewhere else or try tea.
  • Do it cold turkey. Pick a day to quit, and do not use any tobacco on that day or forever after. This is the fastest and most effective way to quit.
  • Find a quit-smoking buddy. Find someone who will quit with you or has quit successfully and knows what you will be going through. This gives you needed support while keeping you accountable and on task.
  • Use nicotine replacement therapy. There’s no reason to feel you have to quit on your own power. Take advantage of everything out there–like nicotine replacement therapy—that can help you quit. There’s no weakness or shame in using nicotine replacement therapy, especially since it nearly doubles your chance of quitting for good.
  • Keep reminding yourself why you want to quit. Always go back to your five main reasons for quitting when you reach for a cigarette or tobacco of choice. Reminding yourself why you want to quit will help you get through those times when you may want to give up.

We can help you stop smoking for good with our free Premier Health stop smoking program. Call (937) 227-9427 for more information.

Source: Premier Health Community Wellness Affiliate - Premier Community Health

Content Updated: September 11, 2013

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