Millions of people smoke, and to many, particularly those that have been smoking for some time, the prospect of quitting seems daunting. An addiction to nicotine is a serious one, and is multifaceted: there is a physical component, in that your body craves the nicotine the cigarettes contain, and a psychological one, in that many habits and situations become associated with cigarettes for the smoker. For these reasons it is important that you come up with a plan of attack in order to quit smoking: although the cold-turkey technique works for some people, the vast majority of smokers will have success only with a more comprehensive plan.
When you first consider the prospect of quitting smoking, it’s probably going to seem far fetched, but keep in mind that thousands of people – people that are no different from you – quit smoking every year. If they can do it, there’s no reason that you can’t. Many smokers also feel that after a certain age it is “too-late” to quit smoking. Simply put, this isn’t true, and should not be used as an excuse to avoid an attempt to quit smoking: the health benefits of quitting smoking begin the very day you stop.
Before you actually have your last cigarette, begin to build up your willpower. Your willpower is going to be your most important tool in quitting, and it’s very unlikely that you will be successful without it. Spend some time thinking of the reasons you want to quit smoking. Learn about the health benefits of quitting, for both yourself and the people around you. Do some math and come up with some figures for the amount of money you’ll save by not buying cigarettes, and think of something you’ll use that money for.
Once you’ve built up your willpower, it’s time to have your last cigarette. To keep your spirits up, understand that the human body is incredibly resilient, and your health will improve as soon as you stop smoking – literally. 8 hours after your last cigarette, carbon monoxide levels and oxygen levels in your blood stream will return to normal. At 24 hours after your last cigarette, you statistically reduce your chance of a heart attack. Only 48 hours after your last cigarette, your sense of taste and smell will improve as your nerve endings start growing.
As you continue to stay smoke free, think of the longer-term benefits to quitting in order to keep your willpower up: even after 2 weeks your lung power will begin to increase, and continue to do so over time. Other aspects of your health will continue to improve in various ways. The ultimate motivator should be the knowledge that 15 years after quitting, your risk of death is almost the same as someone who has never smoked – a remarkable fact that illustrates our the human body’s surprising ability to restore itself.
By coming up with a concrete plan to quit smoking you will greatly increase your chances of success. Crucial is understanding the important role that your willpower will play in the process, and planning to build up this willpower weeks before you attempt to quit. Once you’ve stopped you have to keep the strength of this willpower up, and to do so, remind yourself of the health benefits you will be privy to immediately after butting out that last cigarette.