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Archive for February 23rd, 2010

A cigarette butt, lying in dirty snow.
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently a client of mine quit smoking. He’s using a combination of tools to help him stay quit and I have to say I am so proud of his progress so far!   When I quit smoking about 17 years ago, I found that the negative press on smoking wasn’t motivation enough. Quitting smoking is one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Knowing that I could get lung cancer some far off date in the future should have scared me enough to quit, but frankly it didn’t. I could rationalize my smoking, tell myself I had plenty of time to quit before my health was impacted. I could tell myself that I’d deal with the consequences later. To give me the mental courage to quit I needed something to hang onto. I needed reasons why quitting would make my life better. Strategies for coping with life to replace the coping crutch of smoking.

The reasons I quite smoking were many. Remembering them helped me cope with withdrawal symptoms and keep me away from smoking.
1. I didn’t want to hurt my pets. They could get burned from accidents with cigarettes. It also hurt their little lungs.
2. I got mad when I was winded after walking up a flight of stairs. I wanted to be in better shape. Smoking was hurting my cardiovascular fitness.
3. Smoking wasn’t making me any thinner. I had quit before, gained weight and started smoking again to take the weight off. Only it didn’t work.
4. Smoking made me less desirable as an employee and as a partner. I was single and wanted to look for a new job when I quit. Smoking was holding me back on both counts.
5. I wanted my hair and skin to smell cleaner.
6. I wanted to stop the rapid aging process of my skin. Smoking made me look 10 years older!
7. Cigarettes were getting expensive. Back when I quit they were up to about $2.00 a pack. Now they cost even more. At about $8/pack x 30 days=$240…that’s the price of a car payment!
8. Smoking was no longer “cool.” Being a smoker made me feel socially alienated.

What are/were your reasons for quitting?

The American Cancer Society lists more great reasons to help motivate you to quit smoking. Read on to find out what they are!

When smokers quit — What are the benefits over time?

20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

(Mahmud A, Feely J. Effect of Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Pulse Pressure Amplification. Hypertension. 2003;41:183.)

12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 193, 194, 196, 285, 323)

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who continues smoking. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease, too.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 131, 148, 152, 155, 164, 166)

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s.

(U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, p. vi)

Immediate rewards of quitting

Kicking the tobacco habit offers some benefits that you’ll notice right away and some that will develop over time. These rewards can improve your day-to-day life a great deal:

  • your breath smells better
  • stained teeth get whiter
  • bad smelling clothes and hair go away
  • your yellow fingers and fingernails disappear
  • food tastes better
  • your sense of smell returns to normal
  • everyday activities no longer leave you out of breath (such as climbing stairs or light housework)

Cost

The prospect of better health is a major reason for quitting, but there are other reasons, too. Smoking is expensive. It isn’t hard to figure out how much you spend on smoking: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably shock you.

Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the next 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money.

And this doesn’t include other possible costs, such as higher costs for health and life insurance, and likely health care costs due to tobacco-related problems.
Social acceptance
Smoking is less socially acceptable now than ever.

Today, almost all workplaces have some type of smoking rules. Some employers even prefer to hire non-smokers. Studies show smoking employees cost businesses more because they are out sick more. Employees who are ill more often than others can raise an employer’s need for costly short-term replacement workers. They can increase insurance costs both for other employees and for the employer, who often pays part of the workers’ insurance premiums. Smokers in a building also can increase the maintenance costs of keeping odors down, since residue from cigarette smoke clings to carpets, drapes, and other fabrics.

Landlords may choose not to rent to smokers since maintenance costs and insurance rates may rise when smokers live in buildings.

Friends may ask you not to smoke in their homes or cars. Public buildings, concerts, and even sporting events are largely smoke-free. And more and more communities are restricting smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars. Like it or not, finding a place to smoke can be a hassle.

Smokers may also find their prospects for dating or romantic involvement, including marriage, are largely limited to other smokers, who make up less than 21% of the adult population.

Health of others
Smoking not only harms your health but it hurts the health of those around you. Exposure to secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking) includes exhaled smoke as well as smoke from burning cigarettes.

Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer and heart disease in healthy non-smokers.

If a mother smokes, there is a higher risk of her baby developing asthma in childhood, especially if she smoked while she was pregnant. Smoking is also linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low-birth weight infants. Babies and children raised in a household where there is smoking have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis, and other lung and breathing problems than children in non-smoking families. Secondhand smoke can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Setting an example
If you have children, you probably want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokers say they don’t want their children to smoke. But children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can become a good role model for them by quitting now.

Read more at the American Cancer Society website here.

How to Quit

Government Resources from the CDC website here.

Pathways to Freedom
Pathways to Freedom

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