Browsing Posts tagged stop smoking

There are many warnings that are publicised by the government and media about the health costs associated with smoking. These warnings are effective to some degree however, there is no clear evidence if this kind of messaging works. One problem is that these warnings are seen nearly every day by smokers that they begin to lose their impact especially if they are communicating the same message.

Trying to quit smoking can be one of the toughest things to do especially if you have been smoking for a long time. Your dependency on nicotine can create intense cravings when the source of that nicotine is removed. Therefore you may need a number of strategies to strengthen your resolve or even help you with the decision to give up in the first place. One way is to work out how much smoking cigarettes is costing you. This is not in terms of the cost to your health but the cost to your pocket. For some people finding out how much they spend on trying to ruin their health is a great motivator to kick the habit once and for all.

Many people do not realise how much money they spend on cigarettes. When they do work it out they are shocked with how much they are wasting.

The idea is to work out how much you spend on cigarettes and relate that to what you could have bought such as something you have always wanted. Work out your monthly cost and multiply that by 12 months to arrive at an annual cost. You can even times the annual total by the number of years you have been smoking to give you an estimate of the total financial cost. You may find the final total is very sobering.

When you have worked out the weekly or monthly total relate that cost to an item that you would like to buy in the future such as a CD player or a pair of designer jeans.

When you are in the process of giving up then everyday that you do not smoke make a note of how much you have saved and put that towards the item that you want to buy. You can be creative with this method by setting yourself daily, weekly and monthly rewards to keep you motivated.

As the prices of cigarettes are getting more expensive it will not take to realise how much you can save by not buying cigarettes.

I remember growing up watching television and thinking how cool the actors were who smoked. From Dean to Dean Martin, I thought the coolness they endeared was personified by the cigarette hanging out of their mouth. I can still picture the poster of James Dean leaning against the hot rod, smoking his cigarette.

A lot of that still goes on today, I imagine. The youth see prominent role models drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette and think the same things I thought when I was their age. They begin to experiment with these items, casually at first, then with purpose second. I suppose they begin to believe that they too are now becoming like their heroes. They are living out what they see and enjoying it immensely.

The lifestyle of someone who is young, living on the edge and rebelling against what they know is not in their best interest. But hey, they’re young. They have their whole life ahead of them. So if you ask them about their lifestyle as a young adult, they’ll likely respond with an affirmation, “life is good”. Now lets speed up the clock a little bit and see what their lifestyle looks like in 40 years. Now they are in their sixties and have smoked for 30 or 40 years.

A new study examined the effects of middle aged smoking on long term risk of impaired activities of daily living (ADL). Lets first define ADL – these are things we do everyday, like bathing, brushing our teeth, urinating/having a bowel movement in the toilet, combing your hair, etc. Most of us think we’ll be doing that without any problems well into 80’s. Then we hope to have a cute, young nurse change our Depends. The study looked at 2,200 people in 1980, then again in 1999. They found that smokers had a much higher risk for impairment of ADLs. This means it was harder for them to do the simple things of just existing. The odds ratio (risk) was even higher for those who smoked greater than 20 cigarettes per day.

That’s the problem with smoking. When you’re young and invincible, smoking only creates silent changes in your body. But the repeated affect of smoking every day for years on end, transform these previously unknown physiological changes into a stark ubiquitous reality. Breathing becomes labored, chest pains are present, infections simply come in waves, and you get on a first name basis with your emergency room charge nurse. Sure, some people are physiologically wired to be less affected by smoking, but as a general rule of statistics and experience, smoking does not improve your lifestyle as you age.

Imagine for a moment that you are 62 years old. You wake up at 4:00 am to take a breathing treatment. You go back to bed where you can only sleep with 2-3 pillows stacked up, otherwise you can’t breathe. You turn up the oxygen concentrator located by your bed because you’re a little more short of breath than usual. Eventually you doze off, only to awaken 3 hours later feeling very anxious. You use your inhaler which you keep in your bedside drawer. You reach over to your walker and move toward the bathroom. Half way there, you sit back down to catch your breath. A few minutes later, you get back up and use the facilities. You return to your bed where you take another puff from your inhaler. You decide that you’ll just keep your pajamas on because you don’t feel like getting dressed today. Now you go into the kitchen to get your coffee. When you arrive ten minutes later, you pour a cup and start to feel a little bit better. You call your spouse over and ask them to get your nebulizer and meds from the kitchen counter.

It’s too difficult to go back to the bathroom to brush your teeth and shower, so you move over to the easy chair and sit down. You ask your spouse to move the oxygen tubing so it doesn’t get caught under the easy chair when you recline. Next, you read the newspaper, comb your hair and think about what you’ll do today. After talking it over, you call your grandkids up (if they’re in town) and ask them to come over for a visit. It is simply too hard for you to make it over to their place. Plus, they haven’t made the front door wheelchair accessible yet. But they did get an oxygen tank delivered to their house, so they’ll be ready for you when the ramp gets built.

Now, it’s time for another breathing treatment, except you need a new box of facial tissue, because you used up the last box in the morning. The decision is made to get a second tissue box to save time tomorrow, when you’ll be finished with this one. The rest of your day is spent reading, watching t.v., doing crossword puzzles or whatever other activity you’ve decided to “enjoy” during your retirement.

Lets skip to nighttime. Since you’ve still got your pajamas on, all you have to do is brush your teeth, take your pills and inhale on your last breathing treatment. Finally, you collapse in bed after a stressful and physically challenging day. While you lay their on your 3 pillows trying to get comfortable, you think about how you idolized James Dean. It’s then you wish you could go back to that 24 year old kid and tell him that smoking was not worth it.

We all know smoking affects everyone differently. Above we described a person with COPD and what their day typically looks like. Don’t have any misconceptions, that is a typical day for someone with moderate to severe COPD. If I told you that you could avoid this kind of risk by laying down your cigarettes, would you? You could brush your teeth, sleep better, have more freedoms, travel more, etc. How much is that worth to you?

Everyone knows how bad smoking is for you, how smelly it makes you and how it ruins your teeth yet it’s amazing how many people cling to this nasty habit. Let’s admit it, nicotine is an addictive substance and there’s also the physiological addiction to deal with. All is not lost though, people can and have quit. An encouraging fact is that nicotine leaves your system after three days, so if you can abstain from lighting up for just three days you should have your physical addiction beat.
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The sad news is that smoking is also psychologically addictive. Many smokers like having a cigarette with their coffee, after a meal, or with a drink; a lot of it is social behavior. For many, the process of puffing on a cigarette is strangely relaxing, almost like deep breathing, and the thought of quitting can bring feelings of panic and anxiety to the most avid smoker.

The trick to quitting is you have to really want to. Once you’ve decided you want to drop the habit, start planning your strategy. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit, go over them several times a day. Take up a hobby you enjoy to help keep you busy and occupied with something constructive. Try to start exercising; physical exercise can benefit you in more ways than one. In short try to replace smoking with healthy living.

Try to quit smoking over the weekend or on vacation. Once you’ve smoked that last cigarette, remove any cigarettes from the house, clean out any ashtrays and remove them out of sight. Now’s the time to avoid any friends who smoke, spend your time in places where smoking is prohibited such as cinemas, the theater anywhere you won’t feel tempted to light up. Try to keep busy on this important day.

Take a trip to your dentist and get your teeth cleaned from all the tobacco stains and brush regularly to keep your mouth feeling fresh. Try to avoid all activities and places you associate with cigarette smoking. For example if you liked smoking after a meal, talk a walk instead or brush your teeth. Sometimes simple things like brushing your teeth will take your mind off your craving. Instead of reaching for a cigarette when you’re craving nicotine try chewing some gum or eating a carrot or celery, anything! Just don’t succumb to your cravings. Resist, resist and resist, it will become easier with time!