Breaking the Addiction
Smoking is a strong addiction for both your body and mind. Each person is different. Find what works best for you. Sometimes combining several methods is the answer. Some people can stop on their own. Others - maybe you - need help from doctors, clinics or organized groups. To quit smoking, you must be ready emotionally and mentally. You must also want to quit smoking for yourself, and not to please your friends or family. Whatever your motivation, there is help for you. You can:
- Ask your physician for help
- Use individual or group counseling
- Join a support group
- Ask a friend to quit with you
- Take medicine to help with nicotine withdrawal
- Use nicotine replacement therapy
The Five D's
When the urge to smoke strikes, remember the five D's:
- Delay until the craving to smoke passes. Most urges pass within three to five minutes.
- Distract yourself by shifting your attention away from thoughts of smoking. Go for a walk, work on a crossword puzzle or do something else you enjoy.
- Drink water to beat your cravings. You may be surprised by how well it works.
- Take deep breaths to help you relax and release the stress of early smoking cessation. Close your eyes, breathe in slowly for a count of three and exhale for a count of three. Repeat.
- Discuss your feelings with a friend or loved one, or other ex-smokers.
If you’re around someone who smokes, you could be exposed to secondhand smoke from his or her cigarette, pipe or cigar. We now know that secondhand smoke can make non-smokers sick. Adults who don't smoke but live or work with smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer than other non-smokers.
Cigars, Pipes, Chewing Tobacco and Snuff Are Not Safe
Some people think smokeless tobacco (chewing or spit tobacco and snuff), pipes and cigars are safe. They aren’t. Using smokeless tobacco can cause cancer of the mouth, pre-cancerous lesions known as oral leukoplakia, nicotine addiction and possibly cancer of the larynx and esophagus, as well as gum problems. Pipe and cigar smokers may develop cancer of the mouth, lip, larynx, pharynx, esophagus and bladder. Those who inhale are also at an increased risk for lung cancer.