For most people, quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do. Many longtime smokers wonder why they should even bother when they consider they damage already done to their health combined with facing difficult withdrawal symptoms.
Whether one has smoked for 2 years or 20 years, quitting smoking has very significant health benefits. Despite age or length of addiction, quitting today will still be highly beneficial. It will likely add years to your life, give you more energy, and help you breathe more easily.
About one 1 out of every 5 deaths in America are smoking related, but it doesn't have to be that way. Quitting smoking today will drastically reduce your risk for any of the following:
Lung disease - Smoking damages your lungs and airways, sometimes causing chronic bronchitis or COPD. It can also cause emphysema, which destroys your lungs, making it very hard for you to breathe.
Heart attack - Smoking increases your risk for heart attack.
Stroke - Smoking increases your risk for a cerebrovascular accident (stroke).
Cancer - Smoking can lead to cancer of the lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix.
Respiratory problems - If you smoke, you are more likely than a nonsmoker to get the flu, pneumonia, or other infections that can interfere with your breathing.
Osteoporosis - If you smoke, your chance of developing osteoporosis (weak bones) is greater.
Eye diseases - Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Why is it so hard to quit?
The reason is is so difficult is due to nicotine. Nicotine is a colorless, poisonous compound occurring naturally in the tobacco plant and is the substance in tobacco products to which smokers can become addicted.
Nicotine in cigarettes works by being absorbed through the skin and muscosal linings in the nose, mouth, and lungs and quickly traveling through the bloodstream to the brain where it stimulates the brain to produce adrenaline and dopamine (a chemical that controls the brains pleasure center). It only stay in the body for a few hours.
While nicotine is actually considered a stimulant, for many it produces a calming or stress-relieving effect. Many scientists contribute this to the actual ritual of smoking itself, rather than its effect on the brain.
Once the brain has become addicted, ceasing nicotine consumption can trigger certain withdrawal symptoms that include headaches, depression, irritability, and problems sleeping or concentrating.
All of these factors contribute to why it is so hard to quit smoking.
How can I quit?
The first step is to make the final decision and pick a date on which you will cease smoking. The next step is to find an approach that works for you. There are many different ways to go about quitting, and none of them work for everyone.
Here are some steps you can take:
Talk with your doctor.
Make a plan to deal with cravings (these can include replacement activities and smoking cessation gum, lozenges, or patches)
Read self-help information
Go to individual or group counseling
Seek support from friends or relatives
For more information on quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUITNOW.
If you or a loved one are dealing with long term complications from smoking such as COPD and may need in home disease management, contact us or call us today at 1-877-477-2014. Sunshine Home Care is here to help.