Most former smokers will tell you the same thing: quitting smoking was one of the hardest things they have ever done. With feedback like that, it’s no wonder that many current smokers are reluctant to give quitting a try. Virtually everybody who is in the midst of quitting report experiencing hunger, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and headaches. These withdrawal symptoms usually start the day people quit smoking and can last for weeks.
But there are lots of great things that happen to your body after you quit smoking. Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate drop down closer to normal. The carbon monoxide level in your body normalizes. Within a few weeks, the coughing and wheezing subside and circulation is regulated. Your risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer are reduced quickly. Keep all these positive aspects of quitting in mind as you ease into a non-smoker lifestyle. Here are a few more tips to help you prepare to quit:
Before you actually quit, write a list of all the reasons why you want to quit. Your list might include improving your health, feeling better, being a better role model for your kids, saving money, and so much more. These items will help motivate you on the rough days ahead.
Think of the times throughout the day when you are most likely to smoke. Do you have a smoking buddy at work who you take smoke breaks with? Do you feel like you have to have a cigarette with your morning coffee or right after a meal? Write down other things you can do during these times that can replace those smoke breaks.
Be smart about when you actually quit. Set yourself up for success – don’t set your quit day for finals week, or in the middle of a major project at work. Pick a day – or better yet, a week – when you will be able to avoid major stressors.
There are fantastic resources online to support you through this transition period. Check out smokefree.gov and ucanquit2.org.
Few lifestyle choices can have a greater impact on your health than making the commitment to quit smoking. Your local pharmacist can recommend products and support groups to help ensure your success. Come see your pharmacist at Melrose Pharmacy for the products, information, and support you need to successfully quit smoking.