|Tue, Mar 20, 2018 10:32 PM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
|2004-01-07 communities |
|Cigarettes a tough habit to break|
|Quitting smoking continues to be one of the most popular resolutions people make as they look at the start of a new year. Yet, for most people, smoking continues to be a tough habit to break|
Each year, about 17 million Americans try to quit smoking. Less than 8 percent — about 1.3 million — succeed. Most people try to quit 4 to 5 times before they are able to kick the habit for good.
Despite these grim statistics, the news about smoking is not all bad.
It's never too late to quit. The benefits of quitting really do make it well worth the effort,'' said Mike Kuntz, the American Lung Association of Kentucky's education director. "Plus, at more than two dollars a pack, the average smoker is looking to save nearly $1,500 a year by quitting."
According to the Lung Association, within 10 years of when you quit smoking, your risk of developing a smoking related disease drops to the same level if you had never smoked. This applies as long as no diseases such as lung cancer or emphysema have already begun by the time you quit.
However, you don't have to wait 10 years to start seeing the benefits of quitting. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate drop, and the temperature of your hands and feet improves. Within 24 hours of quitting, your risk of heart disease decreases. Within 72 hours, your lung capacity starts to increase.
Given the many health and money-saving reasons there are for quitting, the Lung Association offers the following tips for those who want to break away from the pack for good in 2004.
• Realize your own personal readiness and commitment are the two best tools you have for successfully quitting.
• Reinforce your motivation to quit by listing your reasons for quitting on an index card that you can carry with you or post in places such as your car or office to remind of you why you want to quit.
• Reward yourself early in the quit process for each day you stay smoke-free. Later on, reward yourself when you hit certain milestones such as each month you stay smoke-free.
• Drink lots of water. It helps flush nicotine more quickly from your system.
• Throw away all smoking materials including ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
• Understand that symptoms such as coughing, insomnia, headaches, fatigue and irritability are all common side effects of quitting, but they usually go away within the first two weeks.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine since they tend to stimulate a craving for nicotine.
• Make exercise part of your life. A brisk 20-minute walk not only helps take your mind off the craving for a cigarette, regular walking does your general health a world of good.
• Get more information and support. Visit the Lung Association's web site at www.kylung.org and sign up for Freedom From Smoking On-Line, a free web-based stop smoking program. Or, call 1-800-586-4872 and request a free quit kit.