Live longer by kicking the habit

It’s never too late to stop smoking

The message that 'smoking is bad for you' is an old one, so not everyone gives it their full attention. So, here's a reminder of just how bad cigarettes really are:

Smoking increases your risk of many kinds of cancer – the most common being lung, lip, mouth, or throat cancer.

The nicotine in tobacco causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine also causes your blood vessels to narrow. This can lead to blood clots in your heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke. Cigarette smoke has carbon monoxide in it. This can decrease the amount of oxygen flowing to your heart and other organs.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage your lungs. This causes a build-up of dirt and waste products in your lungs. Many people who smoke have a long-term cough as a result. Cigarette smoking may also cause long-term lung infections or diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. You are also at higher risk for respiratory illnesses, such as colds or pneumonia.

Cigarette smoking also increases the amount of acid in your stomach. This can cause an ulcer or gastric reflux.

Research has shown that smoking reduces life expectancy by seven to eight years. So why not kick the habit?

If you give up, your life will be longer and you will have more energy to enjoy it. You will be much less likely to be sick and your family and friends will not have to suffer because of your habit. 

Strong willpower

Giving up isn't easy. Some people simply make the decision not to smoke again and quit. The ëcold turkeyí approach is not for everyone, but strong willpower is essential to make sure that you donít go back to the old habit.

Firstly, you should think about your reasons for quitting. There are plenty to choose from, however, you should have your own reasons. Perhaps you want to be healthy so that you can enjoy playing with your kids. You might like the idea of taking up a sport or would like to keep the money you will save on tobacco to spend on something else.

Change your routine

When you have made your decision, set a date for stopping and prepare to quit. Think about where and when you usually have a cigarette. These are the times that you are likely to have cravings after you stop smoking. You may have to change your routine, and even find things to do with your hands.

The important thing is to break the habit – not just the smoking habit, but any habits that lead you to smoke. Decide how you will cope being around other smokers and know how to refuse if you are offered a cigarette. If you ask, your family and friends will help you maintain your willpower.

Remember, it's never too late to stop smoking, and there are always benefits to be gained by quitting.