Conquering the Smoking Habit
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
Nobody can force a smoker to quit. It's something each person
has to decide for himself, 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 smoking.
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 deal with his 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 own smoking behavior, he will
be able to cope more successfully and select the best quitting
approaches for himself 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 body may eventually be able to
restore itself almost completely.