Tobacco. The first thing that comes to mind for a few of us are: stress relief, morning coffee, post meal, gross or bad habit. I’m not going to bore all of us with tobacco is bad and you should not use tobacco products. We all know that. We all know we shouldn’t use tobacco products yet it's still an issue in our county. Let’s talk about the positives and how you can get support on having a healthier lifestyle tobacco free.
- Write down YOUR reasons for why you want to be tobacco free. Yes, physically write them out on a piece of paper or sticky note so you can see them over and over again. Make sure to be specific. This list will help you through the days when you “need” tobacco.
- Write out the health benefits that pertain to you & YOUR family when you quit. Some examples include: heart rate drops; carbon monoxide levels drop to normal in your bloodstream; risk of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease begins to decrease; lung function increases; risk of cancer(s) decrease; you’ll have more money; you’ll notice improvement in your appearance (hair, nails, teeth, complexion, breath).
- Understanding this will take time. Nicotine changes your brain chemistry by increasing the number of nicotine receptors in the brain. Nicotine receptors are triggered by cues that make you want to smoke. When the receptors are empty, they make you feel uncomfortable and increase your urge to smoke. The bright side is you can decrease nicotine receptors when you quit using tobacco products. It's going to be difficult, but worth it! Many health care professionals encourage the assistance of Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help you “turn off” those nicotine receptors in your brain or at least quiet them down. The patch, gum, lozenge, nasal spray or inhaler are all examples.
- Make the decision to quit and establish a “quit day” and stick to it! Set a goal of half a pack/container for 3 weeks; 6 cigs or dips for the next 2 weeks; 3 cigs/dips for the next 2 weeks and then 1cig/dip and finally quit. Set it and commit to it!
- It is also important to let the people you are around the most know of your quit day. It takes support whether we want to admit it or not.
- Plan to prevent a relapse by asking yourself these questions: “what am I going to do to relieve stress instead of going back to the tobacco?” “how can I enjoy outings with friends/family members without giving in?”. Think ahead, prepare for the urge, and cope with the urge.
- Utilize FREE support by visiting smokefree.gov or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect you to your state's tobacco quit line.
Quitting the habit is not going to be easy but it will be worth it!
Reference: Mayo Clinic
Submitted by: Megan Swenson, Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer from Fitness With Megs
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