Though you may already know that smoking increases your risk for lung cancer, it also increases your risk for other cancers. It also puts you at risk of a myriad other diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking also shortens your life. Each year, smoking contributes to one out of every five deaths in the United States.
At Low Testosterone & Weight Loss Center, located in Allen, Texas, our health specialists are committed to men’s health, women’s health, and wellness. If you smoke, the most essential step to improving your health and longevity is to quit. Following are some steps you can take today to quit smoking for good.
Know the facts
The poisonous substances in cigarettes — including nicotine and tar — destroy organs and tissues throughout your body. Cigarette smoke changes the DNA in your cells, so that they can grow out of control (i.e., become cancerous) or experience other damage.
Smoking increases your risk for conditions that affect your health, lifespan, and also the way you look. Just a partial list of why cigarettes are bad for you include an increased risk for:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
- Vision loss
Because cigarette smoke damages your cell’s DNA and degrades your tissues, it makes your body less able to fight infections. In fact, if you’re HIV-positive and you smoke, you’re more likely to develop symptoms related to your infection, including thrush and bacterial pneumonia.
Identify your goals
You know you should quit smoking. But why? Sometimes your reasons may feel too nebulous when the urge to smoke kicks in. Take the time to identify and visualize your reasons for quitting and what your life could look like after you’ve broken free of the habit. Common reasons for quitting include:
- Improving your health
- Improving the way you look
- Saving money
- Keeping friends and family safe
- Freeing up your time
- Being able to taste food again
- Having more energy
Think about all the ways that cigarettes inconvenience you. It can be something as simple as leaving a lively conversation because you need to have a smoke. The more specific and personal your reasons for quitting, the easier it is.
Don’t switch, just quit
When you have an addiction to cigarettes, you’re not just addicted to the chemicals in the tobacco, you’re also addicted to the habit of reaching for a smoke after a meal, when you need to relax, and during other “trigger” moments. Sometimes, people think they can ease themselves off cigarettes by switching to another form of smoking.
However, other forms of tobacco, including vaping, have their own risks. E-cigarettes are still cigarettes and contain dangerous chemicals, such as formaldehyde. Instead of reaching for a substitute cigarette, ease your addiction and break your habit with:
- Nicotine gum
- Nicotine patches
- Nicotine nasal spray, inhaler or lozenges
- Nicotine-free bupropion (Zyban®)
- Nicotine-free varenicline (Chantix®)
The FDA-approved nicotine-containing cessation aids help you gradually break your addiction. The non-nicotine medications ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal.
We help you decide which method to use. Some of these remedies may also be covered by your insurance.
If you’ve been smoking for a long time, your brain actually craves the substances and poisons in cigarettes. It’s not easy to break that addiction. Don’t blame yourself if you “fall off the wagon.” Just get back on.
You may find it useful to talk to other former smokers or even to join a support group. When you realize that quitting smoking isn’t a straight-line journey, you’re better able to withstand and overcome the challenges.
Build a team
The CDC has created programs and tips to help you quit. Try the free quitSTART app for your SmartPhone that can help by offering you structure.
Nevertheless, all the tips and apps in the world won’t help you quit smoking if you don’t get the support you need. Don’t feel like you have to tough it out yourself. You’re more likely to succeed when you have a team of supporters who know why you want to quit and are dedicated to helping you do so.
Your team members may include family, friends, and a support group. Of course, we’re part of your team, too. We assist you with lifestyle recommendations and medications. We also help with other concerns, including fears that quitting smoking could lead to weight gain.
Take the first step toward a better, healthier, and better future by booking a wellness and smoking cessation consultation today. Contact our team at 469-912-2113 or use our online form at your convenience.