If you’re a smoker, you’re participating in an activity that can actually shorten your life dramatically. The number one killer in the United States is heart disease. And the behavior that causes the greatest risk of heart disease is smoking. The worst part is that heart disease causes from smoking is almost completely preventable.
The best thing you can do for your heart is to quit smoking immediately. But quitting is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you stop smoking now. The first step to quitting is making the decision to do it. Then you’ll need to set a date so that you can get prepared for the big lifestyle change you’re about to make.
As you’re preparing to quit smoking, you need to remove anything related to smoking from your home. That includes lighters, ashtrays, and, of course, cigarettes. You should also ask the people whom you’re around each day not to smoke in front of you.
That may mean that you need to take your work breaks in a different area. Let your family and friends know that you’re going to quit and ask them to help support you in your efforts.
The best way to get rid of a habit is to replace it with a new one. Come up with a few substitutes for your smoking habit such as taking a walk, crocheting/knitting, chewing gum, chewing toothpicks or straws, and talking to a friend. One of the hardest thing for smokers is not having a cigarette with their normal routine.
For example, if you smoke on your way to work each day, you may have a hard time with the car ride. You might want to try changing the route you drive so that your focus is on the road. You could also change what you eat and drink so that you don’t associate your usual meals with cigarettes.
Many people are concerned about weight gain when they stop smoking. It’s true that some people tend to eat more in the early phases of withdrawal. However, the average weight gain is about 10 pounds – and those pounds can be worked off later. The risk for your heart from smoking far outweighs the risk of 10 pounds of extra weight.
Most of all, give yourself a break. Smoking is highly addictive and a very difficult habit to cut out. You may relapse during the first few months of quitting, but that’s also normal. Just don’t give up. Start over right away and keep going.
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