Smoking: tips for smoking cessation

Smoking is very dangerous for your health. Figures from the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, tobacco warn that smoking kills more than 7 million people a year, of which 890,000 are passive smokers.

Quitting smoking has a very positive impact on your health. As difficult as it may seem, many people have succeeded and have no regrets about quitting.

Why is tobacco so dangerous?

A cigarette is very addictive and harmful, as it contains many substances that are toxic to humans. The most prominent is nicotine, for its ability to cause dependence in the consumer; but its effect goes beyond that, releasing irritating and harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, and cyanide, among others; and carcinogenic substances such as benzopyrenes, benzene, arsenic and radioactive polonium, etc…

As a consequence, tobacco contributes to the development of the diseases that cause the most deaths in most countries, such as: myocardial and cerebral infarction, cancer and lung diseases… Smoking shortens the smoker’s life by almost ten years.

What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

When it comes to quitting smoking, there are many benefits. It is not only positive for your health but also for your pocketbook and mood.

In health:

  • It decreases the risk of myocardial infarction.
  • It lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Increases your capacity for exercise and activity.
  • Increases your lung function.
  • Reduces respiratory tract infections and coughs.
  • Almost immediately decreases your risk of cancer of the lung, mouth, larynx, bladder, stomach, esophagus and kidney.
  • Rejuvenates your skin, improves your body odor, breath and teeth.
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  • You save the price of tobacco packs.
  • You avoid the health care costs of possible tobacco-related diseases.

Is it feasible to quit smoking?

Yes, many people succeed, but it is advisable to prepare yourself and seek help from health professionals, since you have to learn to live without smoking.

What advice can I follow to quit smoking?

  • Write down your motivation: think about why you want to quit. Write down your reasons and take them with you.
  • Make a commitment to those around you: ask for support from your family, friends and colleagues to help you quit.
  • Set a date in the calendar: until then, start to progressively reduce your tobacco consumption.
  • Seek help from your healthcare professional: ask for help, especially during the first few weeks. Keep in mind that quitting on your own is more difficult.
  • Avoid compromising situations: tobacco is a very addictive substance and your desire to smoke will be strong and will last over time. So avoid them at first. Remove tobacco from your sight. Avoid going to smoking areas and accepting cigarettes.
  • Take up again hobbies related to healthy habits: physical exercise, healthy eating…
  • Do not give in to the desire to smoke: the first three weeks you will have an intense desire to smoke, but it will be a brief craving. It is controllable, you must focus and not look for excuses. Review your motivations and focus on something else.
  • Don’t rely on it. After a while without smoking, you may think you are in control enough to allow yourself a cigarette. This is the common mistake that causes relapse. Remember the effort you have made and don’t allow yourself any exceptions.
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Are there treatments to help you quit smoking?

There are three types of effective medications. Nicotine patches or gum, bupropion, and varenicline. In addition to medications, it also helps a lot to complement the treatment with psychological help. Once you quit smoking you will notice the benefits quickly: health, well-being and physical capacity. No ex-smoker regrets it.

For more information and support you can consult the practical sheet of the Spanish Heart Foundation and the guide of the CNPT and the Ministry of Health and Consumption.