Quit Smoking: Tips for the First Week

You've done it. You've decided to finally quit smoking. Congratulations. Did you know just by quitting smoking, you reduce your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in a big way? It's a tough decision to make but even tougher to stick too. They key is instilling good habits in the first few days as you quit, so you have more of a chance sustaining the habit.

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Did you know more people in the U.S. are addicted to nicotine that to any other drug? Some studies suggest that nicotine may be as addictive at heroin, cocaine and alcohol. Of course, we all know how difficult it is to quit smoking, with most people making several attempts. But if you've made this commitment, it's important to remember why. The best reason is of course for your health and your family. 

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms will happen in the first few weeks. Here's what to look for: 

  • Irritability
  • Feeling angry or anxious
  • Having trouble thinking
  • Cravings
  • Increased level of hunger

Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are harmful, and about 70 can cause cancer.1,4,7 Smoking increases the risk for serious health problems, many diseases, and death.1,4

uitting smoking reduces your risk of:

  • lung cancer / other types of cancer
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke
  • Reduced respiratory and breathing issues
  • Reduced risk of infertility for women

Tips for Quitting Smoking

  1. Reward yourself: Don't wait long to begin enjoying the benefits of a smoke-free life. Notice the good things and keep a written list to refer back too when you have cravings or frustration.
  2. Sip cold water: Try sipping through a straw and help replace the act of sucking on a cigarette. This also release dopamine, a chemical in the brain that releases happiness, easing bad moods.
  3. Eat small meals: This can also help you get past the urge to smoke. Choose lean, healthy foods to avoid weight gain.
  4. Brush your teeth: An instant benefit of quitting is cleaner breath. If you feel a craving coming on, head to the bathroom and brush your teeth (not brushing too hard) to fight the sensation. Nothing beats it more fresh breath.
  5. Avoid alcohol: This is a gateway to going back to smoking. Alcohol breaks down self-restraint and can erode your commitment to quitting. 
  6. Make your own no-smoking zones: When you feel an urge to smoke, quickly go somewhere you cannot smoke, a public place is the best choice. This will help you ride out the craving by distracting with something fun.
  7. Remind yourself why you quit: Write own a list of all the reasons and refer back to it often.
  8. Exercise every day: It's important to do some form of physical activity each day. When your body is active, it sends natural chemicals that help your mood and ease your stress. Just walking is one of the best ways. 
  9. Make plans: By filling your calendar in the first few days with things you need or want to do can help distract you from wanting to smoke. But steer clear of social settings that will enhance smoking temptations. The busier you are, the more distracted you'll be.