A new year means a fresh start. It’s also a wonderful time to implement new resolutions to improve your quality of life. But some resolutions are easier to achieve than others. One of the most difficult resolutions to stick with is quitting smoking. Smoking statistics are scary ones. An estimated 15 of every 100 Americans smoke cigarettes. That’s about 36.5 million people! Worse yet, an estimated 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related illness, such as lung cancer or emphysema – and these diseases are completely preventable. Smoking also prematurely ages you, gives you bad breath and stains your teeth.
In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for a staggering 489,000 deaths each year, and 41,000 of those deaths are due to secondhand smoke - so smokers aren’t just hurting themselves, they’re hurting the people who love them, too. The good news is that, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 68 percent of all smokers want to quit. That’s a great start, but unfortunately, according to a study from the Royal Society of Public Health in the United Kingdom, only 4 percent of people who attempt to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution have kept that resolution a year later, and only about 8 percent of people who make any resolutions at all stick with them in the same time frame.
If your resolution was to finally quit smoking this year, don’t let those numbers discourage you. Here are some tips for sticking with the resolution to quit, even if you’ve already given up.
Get Rid of the Cigarettes
If you have any leftover cigarettes, get rid of them. Give them away, return them to the store or simply throw them in a trash can - and leave them there. Don’t try to smoke them all and then quit. You aren’t saving any money by smoking them as opposed to throwing them away. You’ve already spent the money - smoking for a little bit longer will only make it harder to quit.
Enlist Your Family’s Help
Quitting smoking is much easier with a strong support network in place. If you plan on quitting or have already tried and are struggling, make sure you tell the people around you. They can offer support and encouragement if you are struggling, and praise and motivation when you’re not.
Have a Backup Plan
Struggling with cravings is part of the quitting process, so don’t be alarmed when it happens. To make those cravings a little more manageable, have a backup plan for dealing with them ready to go. Many people choose hard candies, gum or nicotine patches to help satisfy their cravings for a cigarette. Others have substituted e-cigarettes for paper cigarettes, but this is a bad idea. Try to avoid swapping one vice for another. Smoking an e-cigarette is still smoking.
Avoid hard candies if possible, too, as they can be bad for your teeth. Gum is a great alternative, provided it's sugarless gum. In fact, sugarless gum can even help fight cavities while you chew!
Call in the Reserves
Just like attempting a new exercise plan, attempting a smoking-cessation plan should always be done under a doctor’s supervision, so don’t forget to let your physician know you are quitting. Your doctor can offer you support, guidance and even medical solutions to help make quitting easier - and he or she will be proud of you for taking the first step, too.
If you need support in your quest to quit, or if you have any questions or concerns, please give Dr. Lederman’s office a call at 516-882-1764. You can do this!