There’s an abundance of evidence to prove that smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco is a serious health hazard. It’s also expensive, since a one-pack-per-day habit will cost you over $500 per year. Quitting may not be easy, but it can be done, as many ex-smokers have proven. You may be able to do it yourself or you may need some outside help. It isn’t important how you do it. What’s important is the fact that you’re quitting.
Probably the most important aspect to success is your readiness and determination to quit. Once you’ve made up your mind to stop, this hurdle is behind you. Then you can begin to investigate some of the methods of quitting and the variety of support available to you. At this point, it might be a good idea to start a smoking diary listing when you smoke during the day. This will help you analyze your smoking urges. Once you begin to understand when you smoke and what sort of feelings or emotions trigger your desire to light up, you’re on the track toward controlling your habit. Keep your diary for several days before you stop smoking.
Sometimes you need go no further than yourself. Some people, by exerting their willpower and keeping their thoughts and actions under strict control, can stop smoking with no outside help. But even these people should try to get a basic knowledge of why they smoke and how they got addicted. Many books have been written on the subject. Go to your public library and select the ones you think might be most helpful. Organizations dedicated to the health of heart and lungs usually have a lot of free literature designed to assist in quitting. Call the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association or the American Heart Association.
Support groups are available in communities all over the country. Inquire among the same groups listed above or consult the yellow pages in your phone book. Hospitals, clinics, universities and other medical research organizations often have stop-smoking programs. Any health professional should be able to guide you toward the sources you feel would be most valuable to you.
Whether you decide to stop with the help of a book or whether you prefer the support of a group, you’ll find the techniques are similar. All good programs encourage behavior modification—changing your way of life so that cigarettes are no longer important in certain situations. Once you’ve decided to quit, you’ll find lots of material available to help you attain your goal.
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