Smoking cessation or quitting smoking is the action taken to discontinue tobacco smoking. Tobacco contains nicotine and notorious for its addictive tendency with grave consequences. The social and addictive nature of smoking makes the process of quitting very prolonged and difficult. But because of the ugly sides of indulging in smoking, making the effort to quit no matter the challenges is an effort in the right direction.
Why do people smoke?
People who smoke are doing so for two major reasons. The first reason people smoke is a social influence. Social influence could be peer pressure or other reasons. The second reason is work related. But whatever the reason for smoking, it is important to note that the dangers associated with smoking far outweigh the benefits. To quit smoking, it is important to identify why you are smoking and use this information to plan your cessation plan. Let’s consider a few general reasons people adduced for smoking.
- Reason #1: Relieve tension.
- Reason #2: Weight control.
- Reason #3: Stimulation.
- Reason #4: Sense of belonging.
- Reason #5: Parental influence.
Dangers associated with smoking
Tobacco smoking is dangerous to your health. Asking you to stop smoking is completely for your own good and healthy living, nothing more. But you need to know that quitting smoking will not come easy as with all addictions. Here are possible dangers that await smokers, especially if you are in the high-risk group.
Affects your nervous system
Tobacco contains nicotine, a stimulant that disturbs normal functions of your nervous system and triggers addiction. Taking tobacco create a temporary feeling of energy that dies down to cause cravings for more energy thereby weakening the nervous system. Breakdown of the nervous system increases muscular degeneration that could result in eyesight problems, tastes, and smell.
Affects your respiratory system
It is no news that smoking is injurious to your lung but did you know smoking can incapacitate your lung’s ability to filter harmful toxins? Once these toxins build up in your lung, you become vulnerable to respiratory infections, coughing, cold, and flu will become your regular companions. This could result in serious and long-term illnesses with huge financial and painful implications.
Putting your family at risk
Smoking put your family members at risk. Your children and spouse are at risk and so are other loved ones, within exposure areas of your smoking habit. The resultant effect could lead to a huge financial loss for you and the family.
Smoking has very grave effects on the cardiovascular system. Nicotine is a sugar booster in the body, the long effect of its action is lowering good cholesterol level and pushes up the bad ones and your blood pressure, which is a gateway to further complications including coronary heart diseases and stroke; not to mention blood cancer, leukemia.
Smoking affects more vital areas of your body hair, nail, and skin. Your digestive system is not spared as well as your sexual and reproductive system.
Benefits of quitting smoking
Smoking cessation has many benefits, but the major health benefits include the following:
- Lowered risk for lung cancer
Within four weeks of stopping smoking, your circulation improves making you physically fit. You can walk, run and last longer at work. It also boosts your immune system, making you able to fight off diseases and remain less at risk.
- Reduced risk of heart disease
Smokers are at high risk of early death. But smoking cessation improves your chances of fighting off diseases likely to cause heart-related problems.
- Improves wellbeing of loved ones
Your action to stop smoking will protect your loved ones from smoking-related risks. Your family members and friends will be able to live better and healthier lives. Many non-smokers, especially children who live with smokers, are at high risk of cancer and heart-related illnesses.
Challenges of smoking cessation
Many smokers find it so hard to quit smoking, and one wonders why quitting smoking can seem so hard, and the reason is not farfetched. Smoking is both a physical and a psychological habit. The nicotine makes a smoker temporary high and addictive and giving the cause for smoking, mingling with fellow smokers reduces your odds of quitting.
How to overcome the challenges to smoking cessation
The saying “old habits die hard” finds a true application in the stop-smoking challenges most smokers face. Overcoming factors that contribute to smoking will to a large extent help in your effort to stop smoking. Let’s consider each factor in turn.
- Age factor. The thinking that when you reach a certain age, there is no point quitting smoking on health ground is often a reason many older people feel it’s pointless trying. But the need to quit smoking has nothing to do with your age; it’s about fulfilling your responsibility to your loved ones and choosing to remain unhealthy when you could get better will be unfair to them. Taking more responsibility for the happiness of your loved one should be your strong reason to quit.
- Gender factor. People believe that a smoker’s gender determines success at quitting smoking. While it may sound plausible, the question is whether illness, pains and sudden death differentiates according to gender? Women have a greater sense of responsibility to themselves, their babies and the family. It is also true for most men. Unless individuals see the connection between true happiness and good health, it may be difficult to kick smoking.
- Other smokers’ factor. The saying “birds of the same feather flock together” is true about active smokers been a major challenge to any effort to quit smoking. If you genuinely want to quit smoking, you need to avoid mingling with active smokers who have not decided to quit. If you do not stop mingling with them, your effort to quit will meet hard brick wall.
Smoking is a personal decision to indulge in the habit, notwithstanding the reasons you arrived at such decision. Any effort at quitting smoking will also have to be a personal decision to quit. You cannot be forced, it must be voluntary. You need to identify the reason you got into the habit and also get a firm reason you must quit. But deciding to quit is only a quarter of the journey, you need to go all the way, overcome all challenges to achieve your goal. The good news is, people whose addictions look hopeless have been known to quit; you too can.