March 16 is Kicking Butts Day and a great time to commit yourself to quitting smoking. Just like drugs and alcohol, tobacco can take a toll on your health. It can affect virtually every part of your body in some way. Making the choice to stop smoking can help you take back control of your health – and save money.
The Impact of Tobacco Use on Your Body
Tobacco can cause damage to your body that you may not even notice until it becomes more serious. Not all damage is visible, though tobacco use can dry out your skin and increase wrinkles and lead to cavities and ulcers in the mouth. These are just a few of the ways smoking can affect your health:
- Increased risk of cancer of the nose, mouth, larynx, trachea, esophagus, throat, lungs, liver, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, cervix, bone marrow, blood, colon, and rectum. From your head to your toes, the risk is there.
- High blood pressure, thickening of the blood and arterial walls, and plaque buildup which can increase risk of a heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
- Damage to the lungs which can lead to respiratory problems and infections including emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Quitting can be tough because with continued use, the brain develops more nicotine receptors. When you try to quit, you may experience intense cravings and feel anxious or irritable.
Tips for Quitting Smoking
If you’re ready to quit smoking, there are ways that you can set yourself up for more positive results. First, let your friends and family know that you’re quitting so that they can help hold you accountable. They can provide motivation and encouragement, as well as reduce temptation and triggers. Once you’ve decided to quit, here are some other steps you can take:
- Get rid of any tobacco products or paraphernalia you may have, including matches and ash trays.
- Get a fresh start by washing your clothes and airing out your belongings to remove the smell of smoke.
- Make a list of smoke-free facilities and activities that you can do to resist temptation and keep yourself occupied.
- Chew gum or keep something to fidget with in your hands to reduce the urge to smoke.
- Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs or medications that can support your efforts.
Some people also find that quitting while in an addiction treatment program can help because they’re already focused on detox and making healthier choices for their future. In addition, they also have ongoing support and a variety of resources to make these changes more feasible.
Leave a comment and let us know what strategies have helped you to quit smoking.