Most smokers sincerely
want to quit. They know cigarettes threaten their health, set a
bad example for their children, annoy their acquaintances and cost
an inordinate amount of money.
Nobody can force a smoker
to quit. It's something each person has to decide for himself/herself,
and will require a personal commitment by the smoker. What kind
of smoker are you? What do you get out of smoking? What does it
do for you? It is important to identify what you use smoking for
and what kind of satisfaction you feel that you are getting from
Many smokers use the cigarette
as a kind of crutch in moments of stress or discomfort, and on occasion
it may work; the cigarette is sometimes used as a tranquilizer.
But the heavy smoker, the person who tries to handle severe personal
problems by smoking heavily all day long, is apt to discover that
cigarettes do not help him/her deal with his/her problems effectively.
When it comes to quitting,
this kind of smoker may find it easy to stop when everything is
going well, but may be tempted to start again in a time of crisis.
Physical exertion, eating, drinking, or social activity in moderation
may serve as useful substitutes for cigarettes, even in times of
tension. The choice of a substitute depends on what will achieve
the same effects without having any appreciable risk.
Once a smoker understands
his/her own smoking behavior, he will be able to cope more successfully
and select the best quitting approaches for himself/herself and
the type of life-style he leads.
Because smoking is a form
of addiction, 80 percent of smoker who quit usually experience some
withdrawal symptoms. These may include headache, light-headedness,
nausea, diarrhea, and chest pains. Psychological symptoms, such
as anxiety, short-term depression, and inability to concentrate,
may also appear. The main psychological symptom is increased irritability.
People become so irritable, in fact, that they say they feel "like
killing somebody." Yet there is no evidence that quitting smoking
leads to physical violence.
Some people seem to lose
all their energy and drive, wanting only to sleep. Others react
in exactly the opposite way, becoming so over energized they can't
find enough activity to burn off their excess energy. For instance,
one woman said she cleaned out all her closets completely and was
ready to go next door to start on her neighbor's. Both these extremes,
however, eventually level off. The symptoms may be intense for two
or three days, but within 10 to 14 days after quitting, most subside.
The truth is that after people quit smoking, they have more energy,
they generally will need less sleep, and feel better about themselves.
Quitting smoking not only
extends the ex-smoker's life, but adds new happiness and meaning
to one's current life. Most smokers state that immediately after
they quit smoking, they start noticing dramatic differences in their
overall health and vitality.
Quitting is beneficial
at any age, no matter how long a person has been smoking. The mortality
ratio of ex-smoker decreases after quitting. If the patient quits
before a serious disease has developed, his/her body may eventually
be able to restore itself almost completely.
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Editor's Note: This article is not intended to serve as
medical advice. If you need help quitting smoke talk to a doctor
about the options.