Cigarette smoking is a preventable cause of death in the United States. If you have thought about quitting but haven’t been able to, here are some reasons why you should and some ways to do it.
Quitting smoking now can decrease your risk of getting smoking-related illnesses like:
- Heart disease
- Several types of cancer, including:
- Chronic lung diseases:
- Macular degeneration
- Thyroid conditions
- Hearing loss
- Erectile dysfunction
Quitting smoking also has health benefits for your whole family! Exposing family members to second-hand smoke can increase their risk of many conditions and even premature death. By being a smoker, you may also increase the chances that your children will become smokers.
Once you’ve decided to quit smoking, set your “target quit date” a few weeks away. In the time leading up to your quit day, try some of these ideas offered by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute to help you successfully quit smoking.
For the best results, work with your doctor. Together, you can test your lung function and compare the results to those of a nonsmoking person. The results can be given to you as your “lung age.” Finding out your “lung age” right after having the test done may help you to stop smoking.
Your doctor can also discuss with you all of your options and refer you to smoking-cessation support groups. You may wish to use nicotine replacement (gum, patches, inhaler) or one of the prescription medications that have been shown to increase quit rates and prolong abstinence from smoking. But whatever you and your doctor decide on these matters, it will still be you who decides when an how to quit. Here are some techniques:
- Switch to a brand you find distasteful.
- Change to a brand that is low in tar and nicotine a couple of weeks before your target quit date. This will help change your smoking behavior. However, do not smoke more cigarettes, inhale them more often or more deeply, or place your fingertips over the holes in the filters. All of these act