Preparing to quit smoking is an important step towards kicking the habit, but taking decisive action is another.
- Set a quit date and stick to it. Choose a time that will be busy but not stressful.
- Remove ashtrays and all other reminders of using tobacco. Choose nonsmoking sections in restaurants. Avoid alcohol. Do things that reduce the likelihood of using tobacco, like taking a walk or going to a movie.
- Ask for help and support. Choose a trusted friend, preferably another former tobacco user, to give you a helping hand over the rough spots.
- Know what to expect. The worst will be over in just a few days, but physical withdrawal symptoms may last one to three weeks. After that, it is all psychological.
- Keep low-calories snacks handy for when the urge to munch hits. Your appetite may perk up, but most people gain fewer than 10 pounds when they quit using tobacco. The health benefits of quitting outweigh a few extra pounds.
- Get out and exercise. It will distract you, help keep off unwanted pounds, and release tension. Physical activity can improve the likelihood of a healthy life. Along with a positive attitude and a healthful diet, your fitness level plays a major role in how well you feel, what illnesses you avoid, and how much you enjoy life.
- Don’t be discouraged by slip-ups. It often takes several tries to quit using tobacco for good. If you do slip up and smoke or chew, forgive yourself and learn from the experience. You will not fail as long as you keep trying.
Avoid Drugs and Excess Alcohol. When you say “no” to drugs and limit the amount of alcohol that you drink, you prevent accidents and several diseases and avoid a lot of other problems for yourself and your family. If drug or alcohol abuse is a problem for you or someone close to you, now is the time to seek help.
Alcohol and Drug Problems. The overuse or abuse of alcohol or other drugs is called substance abuse. It is common, costly, and associated with many medical problems. Long-term heavy drinking causes liver, nerve, heart, and brain damage; high blood pressure; stomach problems; sexual problems; and cancer. Alcohol abuse can also lead to violence, accidents, social isolation, and difficulties at work, at home, or with the law.
(Signs of drug problems and their prevention will be discussed next week, Monday, 6 May 2013. – J.P.)