Most smokers sincerely want to quit. They know cigarettes
threaten their health, set a bad example for their children,
annoy their acquaintances and cost an inordinate amount of money.
Nobody can force a smoker to quit. It's something each person
has to decide for himself/herself, and will require a personal
commitment by the smoker.
What kind of smoker are you? What do
you get out of smoking? What does it do for you? It is
important to identify what you use smoking for and what kind of
satisfaction you feel that you are getting from smoking.
Many smokers use the cigarette as a kind of crutch in moments
of stress or discomfort, and on occasion it may work; the
cigarette is sometimes used as a tranquilizer. But the heavy
smoker, the person who tries to handle severe personal problems
by smoking heavily all day long, is apt to discover that
cigarettes do not help him/her deal with his/her problems
When it comes to quitting, this kind of smoker may find it easy
to stop when everything is going well, but may be tempted to
start again in a time of crisis. Physical exertion, eating,
drinking, or social activity in moderation may serve as useful
substitutes for cigarettes, even in times of tension. The
choice of a substitute depends on what will achieve the same
effects without having any appreciable risk.
Once a smoker understands his/her own smoking behavior, he will
be able to cope more successfully and select the best quitting
approaches for himself/herself and the type of life-style he
Because smoking is a form of addiction, 80 percent of smoker
who quit usually experience some withdrawal symptoms. These may
include headache, light-headedness, nausea, diarrhea, and chest
pains. Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, short-term
depression, and inability to concentrate, may also appear. The
main psychological symptom is increased irritability. People
become so irritable, in fact, that they say they feel "like
killing somebody." Yet there is no evidence that quitting
smoking leads to physical violence.
Some people seem to lose all their energy and drive, wanting
only to sleep. Others react in exactly the opposite way,
becoming so over energized they can't find enough activity to
burn off their excess energy. For instance, one woman said she
cleaned out all her closets completely and was ready to go next
door to start on her neighbor's. Both these extremes, however,
eventually level off. The symptoms may be intense for two or
three days, but within 10 to 14 days after quitting, most
subside. The truth is that after people quit smoking, they have
more energy, they generally will need less sleep, and feel
better about themselves.
Quitting smoking not only extends the ex-smoker's life, but
adds new happiness and meaning to one's current life. Most
smokers state that immediately after they quit smoking, they
start noticing dramatic differences in their overall health and
Quitting is beneficial at any age, no matter how long a person
has been smoking. The mortality ratio of ex-smoker decreases
after quitting. If the patient quits before a serious disease
has developed, his/her body may eventually be able to restore
itself almost completely.
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