Dr SajeelaMaini, Head, Tobacco cessation, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and President, Tobacco Control Foundation of India
As the year comes to an end, we look forward to the New Year with hopes of a new beginning. People tend to choose the end of the year to look back on the year gone by and set new goals for the New Year. Studies show that people that set resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goal, compared to those who don’t set resolutions at all. Setting goals for yourself for the New Year can help you achieve a happier and healthier life.
People make many kinds of resolutions around this time out of which the most common seems to be a resolution to “quit smoking”. At the same time, it is also the most commonly broken resolution. The reason for this is not a lack of intent on the smoker’s part,as most people assume, but because the nicotine present in tobacco is one of the most addictive substances known to humankind.
According tothe Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2009-2010), nearly half of all tobacco users want to quit the habit but the quit ratio remains extremely low for smokers at 13%. When a regular smoker tries to quit, there are intense withdrawals that his body goes through that can be both physical like upset stomach, headaches,constipation and lethargy as well as psychological like insomnia,difficulties in concentration andirritability. Since many smokers are unable to endure these withdrawals, most of them get back to smoking half way through their attempt to quit.
While several people have successfully quit through sheer will power and determination there are others who have not been able to withstand these withdrawals and have used the help of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products to support them through their quit attempt. These products substitutes the nicotine present in cigarettes with clean therapeutic nicotine devoid of other harmful chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide and other known carcinogens present in cigarettes.
Here are some simple tips that can help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and remain smoke free and healthy in 2012
If you plan to reduce till you quit altogether, set a date along with a timeline.However, it is advisable to quit the “cold turkey” way, rather than taking a “reduce till you quit” plan. Your plan should also include milestones and rewards for yourself after achieving each milestone. Reduction, in most cases, becomes a self-defeating exercise.
Since the symptoms and withdrawals during your attempt to quit are quite powerful, one can use NRT products. These products would help control or avoid the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and would help in minimizing the urges and withdrawals of quitting. This, in turn, makes the quitting process easy and very less discomforting. Make it a part of your overall quit plan.
keep yourself busy by involvingyourself in activities such as playing a sport or restarting a hobby.
Keep a note of all the triggers that produce the urge, like coffee or alcohol, and makes you crave a smoke and dynamically avoid them.
Pick up the phone and talk to someone you are most comfortable with. Adopt a mentor or call up a non-smoker friend. A non-smoker friend would be able to lead by example and hence be able to motivate you better.
It is important for you to drive home the point that whatever you are doing is for your own good.Keep this in mind as it will help up your keep up your willpower and morale at all times, more so at the time of cravings.
Please quit smoking for yourself and your loved ones!
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