Feel the pleasure of being in control of your life be an ex-smoker | Sunday Observer

Feel the pleasure of being in control of your life be an ex-smoker

Smoking will cause the gradual corrosion of your lung tissues
Smoking will cause the gradual corrosion of your lung tissues

More people than ever are kicking the cigarette habit but yet, the smoking population is high. According to the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol a total of 1.5 million people in Sri Lanka smoke 11 million cigarettes daily. The percentage of smokers above 15 years in Sri Lanka is 15 percent. At the same time, annually, between 20,000 and 25,000 Sri Lankans die from smoking and smoking related health issues.

The scary stats are that half of all smokers addicted are eventually killed due to smoking-related causes. Hence, smoking is the cause of over one third of respiratory deaths, over one quarter of cancer deaths, and about one-seventh of cardiovascular deaths. In addition, having a drink with a cigarette increases your chance of getting mouth cancer by 38 times.

Tips to quit smoking

1. Set a quitting date:Trying to ease out of the habit by smoking less and less over the months doesn’t work. Choose a definitive day to bin the smokes and make sure no cigarettes, lighters or papers are within eyesight. Pick a day that won’t involve going to places like the club so that all temptation can be avoided.

2. Tell all your friends and family: Tell everyone from Mayuri in accounts to your grandma that you’ve quit smoking; that way, the shame of relapsing will be magnified as you imagine your children’s’ faces when you tell them you’ve failed once again. Having a quit buddy will also help – a friend who packs the cigarettes in at the same time as you, with whom you can sympathize and whom you can encourage.

3. Notice when you crave for cigarettes: A cigarette craving usually lasts around five minutes, according to medical experts. Before you decide to quit, make a list of five-minute strategies that will distract you from the craving. It could be having a healthy snack or having a 5-minute chat with Mayuri or your wife or taking a 5- minute social call to a long-lost friend.

4. Calculate how much money you’ll save: One of the best perks of giving up smoking, beside the health benefits, is the enormous amount of money you’ll save. If you smoke a pack of 10 a day, after a month of giving up you’ll have saved a minimum of Rs. 19,000 per month, and after six months you’ll have banked Rs. 118,000. Just think what a lot you could do for the family with that saving rather than the gradual corrosion of your lung tissue.

5. Avoid other smokers: Tell your friends who smoke not to smoke around you or offer you a cigarette. It might be tough feeling like the loser at a party but you’ll feel good at the end of the night having notched up another smoke-free day.

6. Be on your guard: Yes, be on your guard not to fall back into the trap. Remember you are now an ex-smoker. Your family congratulated you for the achievement. You won’t let them down. You will remain an ex-smoker for the rest of your life.

Additional tips

  •  If the thought of never smoking again bothers you, just think of not smoking for one day at a time.
  • Keep busy. Take long walks. Go biking. Spend more time with your family doing more work in the garden or kitchen or take them to a restaurant or a friend’s home.
  • If you link certain foods or drinks with smoking, try to avoid them. After you’ve quit for a while, you will be able to ease back to them.
  • If you have trouble keeping your hands busy, fiddle with a paper clip, a pencil, etc. If you miss having something in your mouth, keep sugarless gum or mints handy.
  • Keep a calendar for the first 90 clean days. Cross off each day - and record the money saved by not smoking.
  • If you weaken, take a few deep breaths, light a match and then slowly blow it out. Crush it in an ashtray as you would a cigarette.
  • Beware of the notion that just one cigarette won’t hurt. That’s probably the way most people start smoking again. Just say: “No, way!” and smile.

After 24 hours… Your heart rate will drop down to normal levels. Your risk of heart attack is beginning to drop.

After two days… Your nerve endings will begin to re-grow and your sense of taste will begin to enhance.

After three days… This is the magical point where all the nicotine will leave your body.

This means your cravings will peak at this point and you may experience physical symptoms like slight headaches and nausea. But, this just means it’s working!

After one week… Nicotine cravings will still be intense during the first week.

But cravings don’t last long, so distract yourself and then they will pass quickly. Chew on mints or celery to alleviate the itch to smoke.

After two weeks… By this time, your lung function would have improved significantly and you will breathe more easily as your lungs start to clear.

You’ll be able to exercise without feeling winded and sick.

One to nine months after you quit… After about a month, your lungs will begin to repair.

The cilia inside them (tiny hair-like cells that push mucus out) will start to function properly again and do their job more efficiently, preventing you from infection and dramatically decreasing any coughing.

One year after you quit… A landmark. Celebrate! Your risk of heart disease will go down by fifty per cent, meaning you have the same risk factor as a non-smoker.

You are now an ex-smoker. Both, your sense of smell and taste have sharpened, your smoker’s cough is no more. Your digestive system is functioning normally again.

You are feeling clear-headed and energetic, and breathing easier.

And most important, you feel the pleasure of being more in control of your life.