Reducing Risky Behavior: 8 Tips for How to Quit Smoking

Apicha Community Health Center Nov 25, 2015  
how to quit smoking

Everybody does things that are bad for their health.

These risky behaviors might include personal vices like eating fattening food, having sex in such a way that increases the chance of getting STIs or HIV/AIDS, or even smoking.

Nearly everyone’s life involves risky behaviors, Apicha Community Health Center is introducing blog series listing ways of reducing risky behaviors.

This will be a four-part series dealing with Smoking, Substance Misuse and Abuse, Risky Sexual Behaviors, and Sedentary Lifestyle and Unhealthy Diet. To kick things off, this post will provide 8 tips for how to quit smoking.

Why Quit Smoking?

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it might be one of the most important things you do to improve your health.

Of the more than 2.4 million deaths in the U.S. annually, over 444,000 are caused by smoking, which is considered the largest cause of preventable death in the world. In fact, smokers die on average 10 years sooner than non-smokers.

Smoking can lead to lung disease, heart diseases, other cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and premature death. Because of the toxic carcinogens in cigarettes, they harm the cells in our body, which is why they increase the risk of cancer.

Smoking also causes premature aging and is the biggest risk for a man developing a problem achieving an erection.

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8 Tips for How to Quit Smoking

Unfortunately, there’s not one simple answer for learning how to quit smoking.

Below you’ll find a list of 8 different tips and techniques, that in combination might just work for you.

  1. Don’t Go Cold Turkey:

    Although it works for some people, about 95% of people who go cold turkey relapse. The reason for that is nicotine (a chemical found in cigarettes) is addictive. When people give up smoking completely, their bodies crave the nicotine and withdrawal symptoms may occur. Symptoms may include feeling frustrated, depressed, restless, or irritable.

  2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):

    There are products available to replace the nicotine you’d normally be getting from cigarettes in a less harmful way until you’re able to quit. These include nicotine gum, lozenges, or patches. Many of these options are available without a prescription from your doctor and can be picked up at your local pharmacy. Or, if you get them through your doctor, the cost is frequently covered by Medicaid.

  3. Nicotine Prescription Pills:

    If you are unable to take NRT or if it is not working for you, there are other quit-smoking medications that are available that require a doctor’s prescription. If you think you would like to take these pills, you will need to discuss it with your doctor.

  4. Set A Date and Give A Specific Reason to Quit:

    Setting a specific quit date has been shown to help people quit. And, it’s important to think of a specific reason you’re quitting. Are you doing it for your health? Are you doing it to not expose your children to second hand smoke? Reminding yourself of a personal and specific reason for quitting can help you not light up when you’re craving a cigarette.

  5. Let People Know You’re Trying to Quit:

    Friends and family can be great allies when you’re trying to quit smoking. They can talk you out of having a cigarette and help remind you of the reason you’re quitting.

  6. Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and Other Triggers:

    Take some time and think of the times you’re most likely to smoke. Do you smoke when you drink? Do you smoke when you’re around certain people or a certain time of day? Until quitting smoking gets easier, some have found success avoiding the situations when they’re most likely to smoke or planning an alternative activity. For example, if you normally take a smoke break at work, use that time to take a walk around the neighborhood.

  7. “Clean House":

    Throw away your ashtrays and lighters and other things that remind you of smoking. As much as possible, clean or use air fresheners around your home to remove the smell of smoke. For many people, sight and smells can be big triggers.

  8. Don’t Get Frustrated if You Relapse:

    It is very common for it to take several tries to quit smoking for good. If you have a cigarette, don’t beat yourself up. Think about what caused you to relapse and adjust your plan. Quitting is a journey and it takes time.

If you don’t have a primary care provider and are interested in quitting smoking, Apicha Community Health Center may be able to help.

Apicha Community Health Center | LGBT Health Center in NYC

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