Smoking is an unhealthy behaviour that can easily become an addiction. It is one of the world’s most preventable causes of disease and death. Still, over 6 million people still die from tobacco use every year. An estimated 600,000 people also lose their lives every year owing to second-hand smoke. At the same time, studies show that 80% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income households. With the average smoker spending a lot on tobacco every year, this shows how tobacco contributes to perpetuating poverty.
All forms of smoking including cigar-smoking, cigarette smoking, shisha smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, and so on, are harmful and there is no form of safe smoking.
Effects of Smoking on your Health
Smoking can cause various health issues such as:
- Lung damage
- Heart disease
- Fertility problems
- Risk of type 2 diabetes
- Weakened immune system
- Vision problems
- Poor oral hygiene
- Unhealthy skin and hair
- Risk of several cancers
One of the best things you can do for your health is to quit smoking. But it can be challenging and takes most smokers several tries before they succeed. Here are practical ways to quit smoking with daily lifestyle practices:
Write down your reasons for quitting
Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. They may include:
- Improving your health
- Lowering your risk of disease
- Saving money
- Not exposing family or friends to second-hand smoke
Each time you are tempted to smoke a cigarette, go through your list as a reminder of why you made the decision to quit smoking.
Make a plan
Make a plan to quit. Some people successfully quit smoking by setting a date to quit and abruptly quitting on that day. On the other hand, some achieve success by reducing the number of cigarette sticks per day until they can stop completely. Find what works for you.
Find a counselling service
Individual, group or telephone counselling can provide you with needed support and help you develop coping skills. Combining counselling and medication is an effective way to succeed with smoking cessation.
Identify and Avoid Triggers
What places and situations trigger you? Identify and avoid them. Stay in the company of people who don’t smoke or are trying to quit too. Avoid designated smoking areas outside buildings. Also, practice saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.”
Manage your stress
Stressful situations and anxiety can increase your urge to smoke. Consider the following strategies for managing stress:
- Prioritise your tasks.
- Practice relaxation exercises, deep breathing or meditation.
- Get regular exercise.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Regardless of your age and how long you have been smoking, quitting smoking is one of the most important actions you can take to improve your health is to quit smoking. The benefits of these include:
- Improve your health and quality of life.
- Increase life expectancy and minimise the risk of premature deaths.
- Reduces the risk for non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
- Minimises the short and long term financial impact of smoking on healthcare systems and the society.
To everyone trying to quit smoking, you’ve got this!