Smoking is one of the worst habits for a person’s health. According to the American Cancer Society, 34.1 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. More than 16 million currently live with a smoking-related disease.
Each year, the 3rd Thursday in November is set aside as the “Great America Smoke-out” in an attempt to encourage people to quit. Here are 6 helpful tips from the American Dental Association to make quitting easier. Anyone who smokes and has tried to quit, or known someone who has, knows how difficult it can be. This is a very serious undertaking, and you want to set yourself up for success, so:
Step 1: Have a Plan
Once you’ve made up your mind to quit smoking, set the date, develop a plan. There are free tools online at smokefree.gov and a toll-free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, to help you succeed. Download an app to track your progress.
Step 2: Don’t Go It Alone
It will be easier to quit smoking if you have support from family and friends. Let them know you’ve decided to quit, ask for their support, and tell them specifically what they can do to help. Spend time with people who want you to succeed. Talk to friends who have quit and ask for their advice.
Step 3: Stay Busy
Replace your smoking habit with a healthy habit like exercise. Make plans for dinner or a movie with non-smoking friends. Instead of smoking, chew sugarless gum — it keeps your mouth busy and helps prevent cavities, too. Choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Step 4: Avoid Smoking Triggers
Stay away from people, places and things that tempt you to smoke. Some common triggers include stress, alcohol, coffee, and hanging out with people who smoke. Throw out ALL cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, lighters and ashtrays, and go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.
Step 5: Avoid Other Tobacco Products
Other tobacco products like e-cigarettes won’t help you stop smoking. Smokers who used e-cigarettes to help them quit were 59% less likely to stop than those who didn’t. There are also no regulations on how many contaminants they can contain, there is a risk of e-cigarette explosions and fires, and more studies are needed to see just how they affect your long term health. The studies done so far are not promising, that is for certain. Hookahs are also hazardous. One session is the same as smoking 100 cigarettes! Talk to your dentist or doctor about safe and effective quitting options.
Step 6: Reward Your Accomplishments
Quitting is hard! And, every hour or day you go without a cigarette is an achievement. Every time you think you’re about to cave in, do whatever you can to get through those next 3 minutes: (That’s the amount of time it would take you to smoke one cigarette.) If you make it through those 3 minutes, tell yourself you’ve succeeded! At the end of those 3 minutes, if you’d have given in, the cigarette would be gone, you’d have failed and been disappointed in yourself. So, take it 3 minutes at a time, or hour by hour, and reward yourself for small successes. Then! With all the money you save on cigarettes, you can treat yourself to a stress-relieving massage or a pedicure!
As always, myself and my staff are always available and happy to address any concerns you have about smoking and how you might quit. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office, or feel free to contact us at 214-956-9100. We want you to succeed and will do everything we can to help.
The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is held on the third Thursday in November each year. People who smoke are encouraged to use the date to take an important step toward a healthier life by making a plan to quit, or by planning in advance and quitting smoking that day.