American Lung Association offers 5 tips for kicking the habit.
Frederick, Md (KM) It’s getting near the time when many people make New Year’s resolutions, and giving up smoking ranks as one of the top resolutions, along with losing weight and getting in shape. .
If you want to give up smoking for 2017, the American Lung Association says it won’t be easy. Program Specialist Laura Hale says the nicotine you inhale in your body when you take a puff is very addictive. “It releases dopamine which makes you feel good. But that doesn’t last. That goes out of your system. And as that goes away, you’re craving more of that nicotine to get that ‘hit’ again.”
She says many smokers light up at a certain time of the day, such as after getting off from work, and that becomes a habit. Also, many individuals also smoke with other people.
Despite this, Hale says quitting this habit is possible. “Anyone can quit,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been smoking. It doesn’t matter how many quit attempts you’ve tried. You can quit and you can be successful.”
Hale says you will need to develop a plan, set a quit date, and have a social support network of people who are supporting your efforts. “Get your friends involved. Let them know you’re quitting smoking so you can have that social support while you go through it,” she says. “If appropriate, if you’ve spoken with your doctor, use a quit smoking medication.” The US Food and Drug Administration has approved seven quite-smoking medications.
And don’t be discouraged if you try and fail, says Hale. “Each time you’ve tried to quit, you’ve learned something that’s worked for you, and you’ve learned something that didn’t work for you. And those tools will make you be successful for that next time you quit,” she says.
Despite what we’ve heard, Hale says quitting smoking doesn’t make you fat. “Most people when they quit smoking really don’t gain that much weight. Studies have said maybe around five to seven pounds,” she says.
“When you quit smoking, you’re used to having something in your mouth. And that’s just about making good health choices. So instead of reaching for a bag of chips, reach for carrots, or some sugar-free gum or some other pieces,” says Hale. “And the health effects that come with smoking are so much worse that a few extra pounds.”
For more information on quitting smoking, you can go on line to Lung.org, or call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).
By Kevin McManus