Skull-cigarettesQuit smoking or die. It’s as simple as that.The harmful effects of smoking are well known. Cigarettes contain many carcinogens and smoking is one of the major causes of cancer for active and passive smokers. It is our duty to kick the butt not only for our own well-being but for people in the vicinity who are inhaling second-hand smoke. Smoking has no moral defence and it is our responsibility to ensure that we stop harming ourselves and our loved ones.

The decision to quit smoking is the most important decision of you life. It is not easy by any means but it can be done. Think about the following points before we get to the action plan:

  1. What was your reason of starting to smoke, the first time ever?
  2. How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?
  3. When are the times when you feel the urge to smoke?
  4. Where do you buy your usual stock of cigarettes from?
  5. Do you smoke alone or with company?
  6. Do your family/ loved ones know you smoke? 

The Quit Smoking Campaign

  1. Reduce the number of cigarettes to absolute necessities (the numbers and times can be derived from question 2 & 3 above).
  2. The urge to smoke is usually after a meal or a stressful situation. When your system gets its daily prescribed dose, it gets tuned to the number of nicotine doses. The other times when you would smoke are usually excuses.
  3. Create a proper ‘quit smoking’ plan. Instead of suddenly cutting off entirely one fine day, make a plan to reduce gradually – from two packets to one packet in the first 15 days, from one packet to around five in the next 15 and so on. 
  4. Let people around you know that you’re trying to quit (the list of people as derived from questions 4,5 & 6 above). Letting your friends, family (in case they know) and even your regular paanwala (seller) about your decision to quit smoking is a good idea if you don’t trust yourself. They can keep a tab on your impulses.
  5. Ditch your usual smoking-friends ring their smoke breaks. Don’t try to be brave by being an observer in your group. You can always catch up with chit-chat with the same group later.
  6. You might have started smoking as a habit as a result of peer pressure, to help cope with some stress or to experience something exciting. Talk yourself out of the core reason for starting to smoke.
  7. You can try a nicotine substitute; some even try chewing gum, mint, chocolate or food (although that can be addictive too). A dummy mint cigarette often acts as a psychological comfort. 
  8. Nicotine curbs hunger by constantly releasing stored fats and sugar into blood. So, when you are trying to quit, you should have more frequent, small meals so that the hunger doesn’t add to the withdrawal symptoms.
  9. Nicotine is alkaloid. To counteract this, you should drink acidic juices for the first 3-4 days. This will help you get nicotine out of your system.
  10. Reward yourself after every milestone -maybe every 15 days or a month. Remember the reward cannot be a pack of cigarettes!

What to expect

  1. Withdrawal – symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, parched throat, even nausea can occur during the withdrawal phase. Consult your physician to deal with severe symptoms.
  2. Craving – the urge to smoke might be overpowering. An effective distraction and a good support system will help you get through this phase.
  3. Mood changes – the alterations you are making in your system cause many physical and hence emotional changes. Emotional symptoms may include irritability, restlessness, anxiety pangs and distress.  
  4. Change of mind – giving up is always easier than holding on. Trust your decision. It is definitely one of the better ones.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

So this World Cancer Day take a pledge to kick the butt, not only for yourself but for all your loved ones. Smoking is not cool and you know it.

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