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Is bad for the health enough reason for you to stop smoking now?

The answer, according to a general consensus by health officials everywhere should be a loud “yes.”

Never smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but quitting is next on the list.  But how can you quit smoking cigarettes after all the years of smoking? And is quitting smoking worth the time, effort and discomfort?

First, you have to understand that the effects of smoking start from the first time you ingest the nicotine and the damaging effects of cigarette smoking will then continue the rest of your life. You cannot go back in time so that you never pick up a cigarette. But if you quit now, you can lessen the effects beginning almost immediately.

Maybe you think that to quit smoking is simply too difficult and that you can’t accomplish it on your own. You are probably right.  Most people find the use of quit smoking products or stop smoking programs necessary. While it is possible to simply “quit,” there is no doubt that smoking is a strong addiction and there is nothing wrong with seeking help to stop.

Knowing and understanding the damaging effects of smoking is probably one of the most convincing reasons to stop smoking. Some people have said the potentially harmful effects of second-hand smoke on family and friends, was their reason to stop smoking. Both of these are certainly good reasons, but it has to be accompanied by an honest desire to quit. Otherwise, even the most successful stop smoking aids are likely to fail.

So how do you find out how to stop smoking?

Stop smoking hypnotherapy is one program that has worked successfully for many people. As is the case with most programs designed to help to stop smoking, the smoker has to believe both in the need to quit and in the programs ability to help.  Doubt of the smoker or of family can hamper the possible benefits of hypnosis stop smoking programs.  Stop smoking hypnosis works mostly on the power of suggestion, but don’t expect to walk into the hypnotist’s office a smoker and walk out never again to crave a cigarette.

Quit smoking hypnosis will usually start with an evaluation. The therapist will typically ask questions to evaluate the smoking habit, reasons that it began, and reasons the smoker wants to quit.

For example, you are looking for help quitting but have no stop smoking support; it will be much more difficult to quit. If you have always smoked with family or friends after dinner, on lunch break or over coffee in the morning, you have to learn that you can be with that group or participate in that activity without smoking.

This is one of the biggest reasons that quit smoking help in the form of hypnosis works better than some other stop smoking aids – the focus on distancing the smoker from the need to smoke.

Beware of any free stop smoking programs, even hypnosis. There are usually some hidden fees. Those that “guarantee” results will likely only require that you keep returning for follow-up visits, but will never refund your money.

Finally, keep in mind that there is no “magic” stop smoking therapy. Even hypnosis does not work for everyone, and every stop smoking product out there works in conjunction with your own desire to quit.

Four ways to stop smoking

There are numerous ways that people can use to stop smoking. People actually are successful in their quest to stop smoking, but the same method of stopping does not work for everyone. Sometimes the same method may finally work only after a second or third attempt.

The most popular ways used to quit smoking and not in any particular order are:

1. Willpower.

This is probably the most used ways for stopping smoking and one that does work. Actually a certain amount of willpower will be required no matter what method of quitting smoking you use.

The description willpower is not helpful as far as stopping smoking is concerned because of the perceived battle that the word suggests.  It suggests a fight and implies that if you are strong minded you will succeed and that if you fail you are weak minded.
A better word would be 'decision'. Just make your decision and then that can be that. But make it a final decision and not some half-hearted attempt and then you may be able to  quit successfully.

2. Cutting down

This involves willpower with the idea of feedback that you are succeeding plus knowing that you are gradually weaning yourself off any real or perceived chemical dependency of cigarettes. In theory it sounds great because if each day you smoke one less cigarette you know you are getting closer to stopping.

The disadvantage of this method is in order to know how many cigarettes you are smoking you have to count them and then know at any particular moment of the day how many you have had and how many more you can have. This means that you have to think about smoking much more than if you were smoking freely. If something is on your mind constantly, then it can make it harder to stop it. If you really want to succeed with using the cutting down method, do not get into counting your cigarettes.

A better option is to decide to leave out certain cigarettes such as the one at 10:30 or the one after lunch. This way you do not have to count how many you are smoking and yet you know you are cutting down.

3.  Patches, Gum and Lozenges.

These methods still give you nicotine. The idea is that it helps with any withdrawal symptoms you may have to deal with to stop smoking. It is an odd sort of logic in that patches, gum and lozenges still give you nicotine as a way of helping you to stop taking nicotine via cigarettes.

Also as long as you chew gum, suck lozenges or have to wear a patch it constantly reminds you of smoking. A constant reminder as we mentioned is not a useful method to use to help stop doing something.

4. False Cigarette

This is a substitute for the action and behavior of smoking but without the intake of all the chemicals involved.  It helps those who would miss doing something with the hands, or those who would feel less confident without having something in their hands.

The down side is that although you are no longer inhaling all those poisons you are still keeping the habit and behavior of smoking going.

There are several methods used to stop smoking. Which one works best? Ask those who have tried.  See if one of those will work for you.

When you stop smoking…

Smoking is a habit that is very hard to stop but is well worth the effort for many reasons.

Vital capacity is determined by measuring the amount of air you take in with each breath.  The more you smoke, the lower your vital capacity.  In the test you take a deep breath and then blow it out into a device.  This will tell your doctor the volume of air dispelled.  If you do not stop smoking, you activities will become limited.  Your lungs will no longer be able to expand enough to take in sufficient vital oxygen from the air which has only about 19% to begin with.

Cigarette smokers double their risk of heart attack, are at even a bigger risk of sudden cardiac deaths.  Strokes kill more young smokers and at a much higher rate than non-smokers.

The American Cancer Society has published this time line of when you quit smoking.  The following positives changes happen.  In,

15 minutes: Blood pressure, pulse rate, and body temperature of hands and feet return to normal.

8 hours: Carbon monoxide level drop to normal and oxygen level increase to normal. Take note that carbon monoxide is a deadly poison.

24 hours: Heart attack risk decreases.

Within 48 hours: Nerve endings start re-growing and your ability to smell and taste increases.

2 weeks to 3 months: Circulation improves, walking is easier and lung function increases up to 30%.

1 to 9 months: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia starts to re-grow in the lungs with increased ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.  This process does take some time the change will be unbelieveable.

1 year: Excess risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

5 years: Lung cancer death rate of a former one-pack-a-day smoker decreases almost one-half. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and throat is half that of smokers. Some communities have stopped chewing tobacco companies from giving chewing tobacco away at rodeos or events where children have easy access to it.

10 years: The lung cancer death rate is the same as nonsmokers. Precancerous cells are replaced. The risk of death occurring from cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus or bladder, kidney and pancreas has also decreased significantly.

15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.

Think about it.

If you put $1000 dollars each year into a stock mutual fund, annuity, or other financial program that generates 5% annually, you will have over twenty one grand after 20 years.  That is if you don’t add it in one chunk each year. The $1000 figure assumes that you are spending $90 each month on cigarettes.  There are those who are spending a lot more. You will have a better return if you invest $90 monthly rather than saving until you get $1000 at the end of the year.  This is all possible just because you stopped smoking.

Medical College Clinic Turns Smokers into Quitters

It is a known fact that people who quit smoking are likely to live longer, healthier lives, to have healthier children, to have more energy and breathe easier, and to have a lower risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer. The financial benefits are also apparent: smoking one pack of cigarettes per day at $3 per pack costs about $1,100 each year.

Approximately 70% of all smokers say that they want to quit, and the Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Medical College of Wisconsin provides evidence-based, low-cost, individualized services designed to help them.

“Developing effective strategies to stop and maintain abstinence from smoking is the primary goal of this clinic,” says Jo M. Weis, PhD, Clinical Director of the Smoking Cessation Clinic and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College.
Carlyle H. Chan, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College is the clinic’s Medical Director.

The services offered deal with both the physical and psychological effects of addiction and represent the ‘gold standard’ of treatment suggested in the Public Health Service’s Clinical Practice Guidelines.”   “The Medical College program,” Dr. Weis says, “strives to meet the needs of each individual by offering customized therapy techniques that may be combined with medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.

The Medical College of Wisconsin program includes:

•           Clinic services which are open to all ages
•           A Free initial consultation
•           6-8 individual cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to learn new ways of coping.
•           Group and individual long-term relapse prevention
•           Low fee/ability to pay based on financial needs
•           Free start-up medications
•           Free medication management for the first three months
•           Session fees waived for research participants
•           Optional self-hypnosis training

The clinic, located at the Curative Care Network at 1000 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is staffed by behavioral health psychologists and psychiatrists from the Medical College. The clinic also utilizes the talents of primary care physicians and other health care providers to help their patients quit smoking. Health care providers are consistently identifying, documenting and treating every tobacco user they see.

The five keys for quitting are according to the Clinical Practice Guidelines of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research:

1) Get ready.
- Set a quit date and stick to it – don't take in even a single puff.
- Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car or workplace.
- Think about past quit attempts. What worked and what didn’t?

2) Get support and encouragement.
- Tell your family, friends and co-workers you are quitting.
- Talk to your doctor or other health care provider.
- Get group, individual, online or telephone counseling.

Stay in non-smoking areas.

3) Learn new skills and behaviors.
- When you first try to quit, change your normal routine.
- Reduce stress.
- Distract yourself from urges to smoke.
- Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
- Drink a lot of water and other non carbonated, non caffine fluids.
- Breathe in deeply when you feel the urge to smoke.
- Reward yourself often.

4) Get medication and use it correctly.
- Talk with your health care provider about which medication will work best for you: Bupropion SR (available by prescription); nicotine gum (available over-the-counter); nicotine inhaler (available by prescription); nicotine nasal spray (available by prescription); or nicotine patch (available over-the-counter).

5) Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Be careful around other smokers.
- Improve your mood in ways other than smoking.
- Eat a healthy diet and stay physically active.
- Keep busy.

Also See: Quit smoking - Why and how to quit smoking? Your answer is, which is an information hub that contains exclusive articles on hazardous facts of smoking and simple easiest ways to quit smoking.

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