There is no one way to quit that works for everyone. For some, it may be more straightforward. For others, it is more complicated. Even better, of course, it would be not to start at all: the period in which most smokers light their first cigarette is that of adolescence when they try for the first time to “feel older” and often under the influence of peers. This is generally the period in which we pass from occasional consumption to addiction.
Still, it is also the phase in which quitting is more accessible, as we are influenced more by social factors than by physical ones related to nicotine addiction. Educational interventions involving school and family are therefore fundamental, privileged, and more competent places to start educating about health and, specifically, to prevent smoking.
The regulatory actions of recent years, such as the ban on smoking in public places, demonstrate that it is possible to intervene on social, cultural, and economic factors to enable the individual to give up smoking and choose health. Quitting smoking, or rather avoiding starting, is one of the healthy choices. Embracing a smoke-free lifestyle allows you to safeguard your well-being, with immediate and long-term benefits, but also to defend the health of others, avoiding exposing them to secondhand smoke.
Why Quit Smoking?
When you smoke a cigarette, more than 4000 chemicals are released into the lungs. Among the most dangerous is tar, whose carcinogens are deposited in the lung and respiratory tract, as well as irritants that promote infections, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Among the toxic and carcinogenic substances, nicotine is the active ingredient responsible for the addiction picture.
Tobacco smoke causes cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and harms the reproductive system of both men and women, reducing fertility. Physical damage from exposure to tobacco smoke is linked to several factors:
- Age of onset
- Number of cigarettes per day
- Number of years of smoking
- More or less deep inhalation of the smoke.
Smoking And Pregnancy
Quitting smoking is a priority for anyone who cares about their health, especially pregnant women. Smoking negatively affects the fetus and can cause low birth weight, miscarriages, and complications during gestation. Quitting smoking during pregnancy also helps prevent asthma in babies. Many women stop smoking or drastically reduce cigarettes during motherhood, an opportunity not to be missed to permanently abandon a harmful habit and give continuity to a choice that means health for themselves and their loved ones.
Take Care Of Yourself, Choose Not To Smoke
Not smoking is a fundamental choice for a healthy lifestyle. For smokers, quitting allows them to improve their lifestyle and recover years in good health. The benefits deriving from cessation are different: from those related to improving general physical fitness or reducing the risk of developing diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases) to aesthetic benefits (such as breath freshener, more rosy complexion, and reduction of bags and dark circles). Quitting smoking also allows for significant economic savings.
Some Things To Know
The obstacles for those who want to quit smoking are often psychological and generally tend to be overestimated. Those who want to try to quit smoking must take into account some information:
- The urgent desire for a cigarette lasts only a few minutes, and you can try to distract yourself with small tricks such as chewing gum or candy, drinking a glass of water, chatting with someone, going for a walk
- Withdrawal symptoms subside in the first week
- The first beneficial effects for the organism are obtained after 20 minutes of quitting smoking
- Quitting smoking does not necessarily lead to weight gain. A weight gain of about 2-3 kilograms is possible, but to limit the problem, it is sufficient to gradually change one’s habits, for example, by reducing the amount of food per meal. It is also essential to drink plenty of fluids, reduce alcohol consumption, increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and devote time to physical activity.
- Even though smoking is considered by many to be a “pleasure,” those who quit recover lost pleasures such as savoring the authentic taste of food, smelling and breathing better
- The feeling of relaxation that smoking causes, a fundamental aspect for smokers in deciding to continue, is solely due to the effect of nicotine on the brain. Quitting, already one week after the cessation, there is a “real” feeling of calm not accompanied by a sense of lack and frustration.
- Even after quitting, it can happen to start smoking again. The relapse should not discourage but can be seen as a valuable moment to know and better deal with critical moments.
The Benefits For Those Who Quit
The benefits of smoking cessation are known and timed in their timeline. Some of these are obtainable in the concise term from the “last cigarette”; others take months or years to consolidate. However, all of them represent essential elements to know to foster a process of change and motivation for the decision to terminate. When you quit smoking, you will generally get various kinds of benefits:
- You breathe better and gradually cough, pharyngitis, laryngitis, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary emphysema disappear
- Increases physical stamina and improves alertness
- You have greater concentration and calm
- You sleep better
- The risks of circulatory, cardiac, and pulmonary diseases and the danger of stroke or obstruction of the arteries significantly decrease.
- The face generally appears more relaxed and clean
- The eyes are clearer
- Dark circles and eyelid bags are reduced
- The breath is fresher
- The hair is no longer impregnated with smoke
- The complexion becomes rosier.
The Timing Of The Appearance Of The Benefits
- After a few hours, the oxygen in the blood returns to normal, carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body and breathing, and the senses of taste and touch improve.
- After a few weeks, the skin’s brightness increases, and there are benefits to the circulation.
- After 3-12 months, lung function improves, and the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease is reduced.
- After ten years, the risks are comparable to those of someone who has never smoked.
Also Read: Benefits Of Quitting Smoking