Take it from a former smoker: Quitting the cigarette habit can be very difficult, and you may have to try several times before being successful, but the benefits of butting out are well worth the effort and aggravation. So what are some good reasons to quit smoking?
It’s good for you
According to the Canadian Lung Association, within 48 hours of quitting smoking, your risk of having a heart attack decreases, and your sense of smell and taste begin to improve. Within 72 hours, the lungs are breathing easier, with a further 30 per cent increase in lung function occurring between two weeks and three months. After six months, coughing, stuffy nose, fatigue and shortness of breath improve, and after a year, your risk of having a heart attack has been halved. The benefits only continue the longer you are smoke-free, with the risk of dying from lung cancer cut in half after 10 years, and heart attack risk being that of someone who never smoked after 15 years. All that, and you’ll have a brighter smile and more overall energy to enjoy life!
It’s good for others
Not only will you set a good example for the young people in your life by quitting smoking, but you will also stop putting second-hand smoke into the air around you. Second-hand smoke is the number two cause of lung cancer, and it puts others you live with at risk for heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Still not convinced? Just 30 minutes of exposure to second-hand smoke hardens your arteries! Kids who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at a much higher risk for developing asthma, colds, flus and ear infections.
Add up what you’re spending on cigarettes each year (a pack-a-day smoker could spend about $3,600 per year in Canada), and you will be amazed! If you quit smoking and set aside the funds, you’ll be able to afford other things — think reward! You’ll also save money on life insurance premiums, which are lower for non-smokers.
How to quit?
Choose a quit day, eliminate all signs of tobacco products and ashtrays, tell family and friends (for support) and stop “cold turkey.” Don’t be discouraged if you have to try this more than once; each time you quit gets you closer to stopping for good. Some other ideas to help include joining a support group or getting counselling, trying nicotine replacement therapy, asking your doctor about prescriptions designed to assist in quitting smoking, taking up new hobbies, exercising, and rewarding your progress. Many people try alternative methods to help kick the habit, including acupressure, acupuncture, hypnotism, or laser therapy.