I started smoking when I was 16. The standard reasons – my pals and boyfriend smoked, even though they never outright “pressured” me, the feeling was still there. That first drag of a cigarette, the feeling of nicotine rush, and I wished to have that feeling again. And again.
Here I am, 11 years later, and finally I’ve started to quit smoking. I say started, although I have not smoked one cigarette in 21 days, because I still have moments of overwhelming wish to have simply one drag. Just one. It’s not nice, nevertheless the point is that I’m getting there – and I have learnt a few things along the way.
First of all, if you live in Colorado, did you know that it is possible to stop smoking for free? Seriously – at the tobacco company’s expense, it is possible to get the smoking patches or gums while not having to pay for any of it, as long as you are creating a true effort to stop. From the Colorado Quitline to many serious tips, here’s what you need to know to quit smoking.
Step One: Colorado Quitline
I find it sincerely amusing how ironic life may be. The moment I had decided that I was fed up with nausea and tiredness, the bad taste in my mouth, and that ever-lingering ghost of cigarette clinging to my clothes and hair, that moment my grandmother arrived unannounced. She was very polite and incredibly cautious, but once she discovered I actually wanted to give up smoking she presented me with a paper and a phone number that was a miracle.
The Colorado Quitline is a free telephone service that assists callers give up smoking and using tobacco products. They offer free nicotine patches or gums to legal-age adults who sign up for their tobacco cessation program – one of the perks that involves trained counselors that will make suggestions with the quitting process. The Quitline is available to Colorado residents both in English and Spanish, seven days a week at 800-784-8669 or, for that hearing-impaired, TTY 800-659-2656.
Since the Colorado Quitline was developed in 2000, more than 13,000 Colorado residents have enrolled and taken advantage in the stop smoking program. Their big bonus may be the supply of the nicotine patch – one with the most effective ways of giving up smoking – totally free, coupled with their counseling. After all, it can be intimidating to consider stopping smoking without the help of a nicotine patch or gum – but simply look at the prices (even on ebay, the values average $50 a box) plus it appears like a hopeless cause.
Callers to the Colorado Quitline receive gums without cost. Free support and advice by telephone from trained specialist experienced in counseling tobacco users on quitting. A personalized quit plan. Self-help materials. A four-week supply of the nicotine patch or nicotine gum.
Caller has to be in a position to prove they are at the very least 18 years old to receive nicotine replacement therapy. You can purchase an additional four-week method of getting nicotine replacement patches or gum should you continue with the Quitline program.
So, what you need to do is to give Quitline a phone call. They will ask you few questions in order to decide what form of nicotine replacement therapy would suit you best, and will get your mailing address. This is where your patches or gum is mailed, as well as a huge, in-depth tobacco cessation guide that leads you over the whole process. Answer their questions honestly and fully – it’s all confidential – and they’re going to enable you to get on the road on quitting for good.
Step Two: Prepare to Quit
Ultimately, you really and truly have to WISH to give up smoking or nothing – not even patches – will be successful in assisting you doing so. While you wait on your patches or gum to arrive through the Quitline (about every week), there’s a couple of things you’ll be able to do to get yourself prepared mentally and emotionally for what’s to come.
First, create a list. I chose to use a small notebook which I can vent in each and every time I feel the need to just burst or collapse. The list should contain each and every reason you can imagine for stopping smoking yourself. Things like improving your health, not further adding to your chances of developing cancer, the smell, the taste, the cost … anything you can imagine, write it down. If you receive nicotine replacement patches, a manual will contain a small wallet-sized card with room for your best reasons to give up smoking. I can’t stress the frequency in which you’ll look back on your own list, reminding yourself why you’re putting yourself through the whole quitting process.
After you’ve created your reasons to quit list, develop a second list. This one should contain things you can do instead of smoking. Personally, I get the impulse to smoke the moment I first wake up – my fingers start looking for that elusive lighter and pack of smokes. So among my “things to do” would have been to immediately on waking take a long shower. Another time that the need hits me is after the meal. Big meals always gave the impression to “go down” better after a cigarette – so rather than smoking, I take my daughter for a walk to feed the ducks in our neighborhood park. The idea is that you will need to replace the habit, along with the urges, with something – so plan those urges beforehand and also have a strong back-up plan available.
Now, you need to set a quit date. Before you are doing that, though, you might wish to schedule a quick doctor’s appointment. If you’re on any anti-depressants and/or a few other prescription medications, your doctor should adjust the dosage of your prescriptions before you use the patch. When you’re given the green light, grab your calendar and with bright bold ink mark the date you’re going to give up smoking. The day before you’re going to quit, undergo and clean out your house of everything smoking-related – get rid of the ashtrays, the lighters, and other types of your paraphernalia.
Finally, while you wait on your package of gums to come, it is possible to start boosting your body’s defenses. Drink a lot of liquids – water and natural veggie juice – to assist flush the body. Nicotine and tobacco have a major drain in your body’s defenses, sap your hydration levels, and add toxins to your bloodstream. Flushing some of this out will help you handle withdrawals better.
Step Three: Your Quit Date
The first day will be certainly the hardest. Seriously, the mental barrier is more serious than the physical withdrawals. Because it’s likely to be a hard day, take some special time by yourself and gather support from relatives and buddies. I suggest making your quit date a Saturday, for these very reasons.
When it gets really difficult, here’s a list of things to do:
- Read your report on reasons behind quitting. Read them aloud, and take deep breaths while you are doing this. It’s like meditation, and the urge will pass shortly.
- Use your nicotine replacement patches or gum. If at all possible, begin to use them first thing each day, as soon as you wake up. This gets you in the right mind-set and helps minimize withdrawal symptoms.
- Talk to friends – make an effort to talk about not smoking. Taking the mind off from the immediate issue may also help the need to smoke pass.
I keep mentioning withdrawal symptoms, and I’m certain you’ve found out about them from other individuals who have gave up smoking. Like any addiction, tobacco use affects us mentally and physically, so when we decide to control ourselves and exert control of our own needs, the body rebels. Withdrawal symptoms can begin in a few hours of one’s last cigarette, and peak inside the first couple of days or even the first few weeks.
So what can you expect? Everyone’s different, but below are a few common symptoms and ways to deal with them:
- Irritability and Nervousness – Take deep breaths, and workout. Give your body and mind something to perform rather than concentrate on the fact that you just aren’t gonna have a cigarette.
- Feeling tired – Hey, let’s be honest, your body is working overtime here. So, relax and allow yourself to be tired – have a nap or hit the sack early and present the body the opportunity to start healing itself.
- Trouble sleeping – One or the other, huh? Trouble sleeping is just as popular as feeling tired – and sometimes they go hand-in-hand. If you are able to sleep well, make certain you’re not involving caffeine after 3-4 pm, and try some relaxation techniques like meditation or breathing exercises.
- Cough, Dry Throat – Your smoker’s cough is certain to get much, much worse before it gets better. It’s your lungs’ way of trying to purge the effects of tar and tobacco – drink lots of liquids, use cough drops, or chew gum.
- Dizziness – This is extremely common, but there’s not really a lot to do regarding it. Again, take life lightly and use extreme care when you’re driving or operating machinery.
- Constipation – Eat lots of berry, whole grains, and remember those liquids I keep mentioning.
- Wanting to put something in your mouth – It’s an oral fixation, psychologists say, and may even be considered a contributing key to why many people start smoking in the first place. Try cutting celery, carrots, or licorice into cigarette-length pieces for simple (and low-fat) access whenever the need is too strong.
Step Four: Stay Strong!
The benefits of not smoking will keep you motivated – they will be apparent as time passes, so you will start noticing tiny things that you simply hadn’t realized you’d missed. The taste of food become more rich. You have more energy. But the cravings can continue, and can hit on the oddest times. Remember that when you quit, don’t even take one puff – giving excuses for why you need a cigarette is giving in to the addiction, letting it win.
As soon as you stop smoking, your system starts healing the harm your smoking habit caused. Think on these things when you think you might never get over the next craving:
At 20 minutes after giving up smoking – Your blood pressure level decreases, your pulse rate drops, as well as the body temperature of the hands and feet increases. Your body is moving the blood through with a much better rate, and isn’t being stressed from the jolt of nicotine that tobacco delivers.
At 8 hours after quitting smoking – The carbon monoxide levels in your bloodstream drop on track (will no longer be poisoning your body), and also the oxygen level in your blood also increases to normal. You’ll start feeling a bit of an energy boost next time point.
At one day after quitting smoking – This one’s a biggie, and it’s amazing how it happens so quickly, but your chance of an heart attack decreases.
At a couple of days after stopping smoking – Your nerve endings start re-growing as well as your sense of smell and a sense of taste improve. That perfume your wife wears might suddenly smell so delicious that you’ll be able to believe you have never noticed it before, or even the enchiladas you’d only a few weeks ago are amazingly tasty.
At two weeks through a couple of months after quitting smoking – Your circulation improves, walking becomes easier, as well as your lungs function better. You won’t get so winded while having a hike, and may fall and rise the stairs without feeling as if you might cough yourself to bits. Somewhere during this time period, your coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness, and shortness of breath may also decrease.
At 12 months after stopping smoking – Your possibility of developing coronary heart disease is decreased to half of that of a smoker.
At several years after stopping smoking – From 5 to 20 years after quitting smoking, your risk of creating a stroke is reduced to the same amount as a individual who has not smoked a day in their lives.
At decade – Your likelihood of developing cancer drops to half compared to the risk that individuals who continue to smoke have. You also are pretty protected from developing ulcers.
At 15 years – Your probability of developing heart disease is just about on-par with individuals who have never smoked, plus your likelihood of premature death returns to nearly as much as in folks who have never smoked.
Submitted by Ann Levy, Crowley, CO