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Quitting Smoking
by: Dave Markel
Copyright 2005 Dave Markel

Quitting smoking is considered to be one of the most difficult things to achieve. Many people try to give up a few times before succeeding completely. Smokers generally have both physical and psychological dependencies on cigarettes. The physical attribute can be related to the nicotine cravings that many people have when they have not had a cigarette for a certain period of time. This amount of time differs between various people and how much they smoke. The psychological part can have many influences such as peer pressure or simply the enjoyment of lighting up.

If you are thinking about quitting the habit but still have some doubts in your mind then it may be worth considering the effects of smoking cigarettes. Smokers face a greatly increased risk of heart disease, and cancers of lungs, mouth, throat, stomach and pancreas. About half of smokers die of the habit. As well as all of this smoking causes bad smell of clothes and breath and the yellowing of teeth and nails. Smoking is also one of the leading causes of the early aging of skin. Smokers often claim cigarettes causes their nerves to calm down. In fact the exact opposite is true and smokers generally tend to be more nervous.

It is never too late to quit smoking as the health benefits are immediate. The best thing to do is to give up smoking entirely. However this is not the easiest method. Some people prefer to cut down on the number of cigarettes and then to give up completely. If this is the case then should have a written plan on how you are going to cut down. If you do decide to quit the habit, then you must be aware that it requires strong will and patience. You must be prepared to face a new challenge and a change of lifestyle. However look back at all the associated health benefits and the costs associated with smoking and you will immediately be put at ease. Make sure to choose a right time frame of giving up. If you decide to give up during a difficult period of life then in turn giving up smoking may also be more difficult.

There are a few steps that must be taken before quitting completely. On day of giving up you must make sure that you do not have any cigarettes lying around. The temptation of having a single cigarette is enough to make you want give up ‘giving up’. It is also worth staying away from any friends or colleagues who are smokers for a short while. The fact that you see them enjoying a smoke and the breathing in of their second hand smoke may be enough to make you give in.

Many people enjoying smoking at the same time as having an alcoholic drink. If you are such a person then steer clear of any bars or drinks for the first few weeks. Find a different way to socialize or a different activity to keep you preoccupied. Remember quitting smoking is a change of lifestyle and it can also be a great opportunity to get involved in sports and exercise. Combining a healthy diet and moderate exercise levels to start off with, help with the faster restoration of the body to a healthier state and ease the tension from not smoking.

If you find the cravings too difficult then it is worth having a pack of chewing gum ready. Chewing gum does not ease the cravings; however it does slightly reduce the stress of not having a cigarette. It is also a convenient substitute for the habit. Other alternatives include using nicotine patches for those with more cravings.

The first few days are always the most difficult. After the first week you will suddenly feel much more energetic than usual. People may have symptoms ranging from breathing difficulty in the mornings to sudden mood swings. However this is normal and after a few months, you will start to think why you had not given up smoking earlier!

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