Chances are that you are one out of the 21 percent of American adults over the age of eighteen who regularly smokes cigarettes. And chances are, if you’re one of those people, you should quit smoking. Yes, you’ve heard it all before. Smoking is bad for you (fact). Still, no matter how much you enjoy smoking, you should (and can) quit.
So why should you quit?
First of all, it’s well documented that smoking is bad for your health. There are over 400,000 smoking related deaths every year—both smokers and people exposed to second hand smoke. Smoking also increases your risk of stroke and many types. Plus, the day to day effects of smoking can be quite crippling. Are you tired of huffing and puffing as you walk up the stairs to work? Does the smell of the tobacco on your clothing repel potential romantic partners? Are you sick and tired of smoker’s cough? Quitting is a great option for you.
Plus, smoking wastes hundreds of dollars per year. If you smoke just 5 cigarettes per day, you could save almost $325 per year just by quitting (depending on the brand you smoke). If you’re a heavy smoker who inhales a pack a day, you could save $1,300 every year, again, depending on the brand. To find out how much money you could save by quitting cigarettes once and for all, check out the financial cost of smoking calculator from the American Heart Association.
How should you quit?
There are several well-documented strategies for quitting. Many people opt to quit cold turkey, abruptly. Most importantly, when you stop smoking, you should stop completely. Simply cutting back on cigarette consumption doesn’t help your health, and it also makes you more likely to smoke just as much as you were before.
Remember, half of all adult smokers have quit smoking—and it is possible for you to do so yourself. The United States Center for Disease Control suggests that you write down why you want to quit. That way, you can look at the list to keep yourself motivated. Plus, understand that you will most likely face withdrawal from nicotine—including moodiness and other symptoms—which will be hard, but something that can be done.
There are also many products on the market that can aid you in your quest. Many transitioning smokers use nicotine gum—packs of gum with varying levels of nicotine—to satisfy their cravings. Still others make use of the nicotine patch, a patch which releases nicotine into the body to help former smokers get their fix. Studies have shown that people who use the patch have a 2.5% higher success rate of quitting than those who quit nicotine completely.
Still think you can’t do it?
A recent study at Yale University has shown that smokers are able to control their cravings for cigarettes. The study watched the brains of smokers as they saw cigarettes and foods. Smokers were able to control cravings after they were instructed to think of smoking’s consequences. The study concluded that smokers lack good quitting strategies and motivation to quit—and perhaps that maybe there’s nothing different in their brains that prevents them from putting their packs down once and for all.
So please, throw out your cigarettes and save your money and your health. You can quit smoking, and you’ll be better for it!