Making the Decision to Quit
Deciding to give up tobacco is not only the first step toward recovery, but also the most important step toward better health. Over a million tobacco users quit each year. After just two years of quitting smoking, the risk of stroke can be reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Other benefits of quitting include:
- Heart rate and blood pressure decrease to levels of a nonsmoker within just 2 hours of quitting.
- Risk of heart disease is reduced by 50 percent after a year of quitting.
- Risk of lung cancer is reduced after quitting—over 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
There are significant financial benefits of no longer purchasing tobacco products—a pack a day smoker can save upwards of $2,000 per year.
It can be a hard decision to make because many people are uncertain that they will be able to quit. However, more and more people are successfully giving up tobacco every year. Take the next step to recovery now.
Relapse Doesn’t Mean Failure
Too many people feel they aren’t able to quit because they relapse. It’s normal for a person to feel discouraged when their addiction takes control and their cravings cause them to relapse, but it’s also a common struggle for many smokers.
It is important to recognize that relapse during recovery doesn’t mean failure.
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The First Steps to Nicotine Addiction Recovery
Anyone can give up tobacco and there are more resources than ever to help people quit. The first thing to know is what to expect while quitting. Those seeking recovery can benefit from knowing the effects of nicotine addiction and potential withdrawal symptoms they might be facing. Here are some helpful steps to guide your recovery:
1. Set a Quit Date
Many people find it helpful to set a quit date. This gives you adequate time to get in the right mindset. Some people even use this time to start cutting back on their nicotine consumption.
2. Know Your Triggers
People can have cravings for nicotine years after they have quit. Any memories associated with tobacco use can trigger a craving, so reducing the occurrence of these triggers can make quitting easier.
Common triggers of nicotine cravings:
- After meals
- Being around tobacco
Some triggers are unavoidable. Most people can’t simply avoid every trigger in their daily life. Things like driving or craving tobacco after a meal are common triggers that individuals recovering from nicotine addiction have to learn to manage with healthy coping skills. Reducing exposure to your triggers as much as possible, however, is still immensely helpful.
3. Get Support
Telling people you’re quitting can make it easier to quit. Having people to hold you accountable to your goal makes your chances of success a lot better. It’s no secret that those who try to quit on their own have a harder time. It’s estimated that 95 percent of those who fail quitting tried to quit without support.
Support can come in several different forms. It can be support from family or a spouse. Many people trying to quit also turn to support groups and classes, as well as individual therapy, to learn healthy coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. It’s often easier to quit when there are others aiming for the same goal with whom you can relate.
Support can even be personal. Finding motivation to remain abstinent from tobacco helps many people. Motivation can come in the form of looking at health statistics for people who use tobacco or even quitting for the sake of a loved one. Everyone can have a different reason for quitting. Staying focused on this goal gives purpose to achieving your goal.
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Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is the alternative to quitting cold turkey. Many people replace their tobacco use with nicotine patches, inhalers, gum, or lozenges. There are also medications individuals can use, such as Chantix and Wellbutrin, to help reduce cravings and urges to use. This is beneficial to making it easier to transition through recovery.
The main benefit of nicotine replacement therapy is that it allows those who are quitting to focus on their psychological addiction before completely ridding their system of nicotine.
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Getting Over Your Addiction
If you are reading this page you are either thinking about giving up tobacco or have already made the decision to quit. Everyone is different and there are several ways to go about quitting. Addiction Center can put you in touch with the resources you need to get over your addiction. Learn more about the path to recovery.