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New Year’s resolution: Quit Smoking

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Press Release
Dated: 28 December 2005

New Year’s resolution: Quit Smoking & never take another puff!

It’s a long and illustrious tradition for people who smoke to quit for the New Year. And why not?

It’s a brand new year, you’ll be smokefree and feeling like the world is your oyster.

Ask an ex-smoker about the benefits of quitting, then try shutting them up about it! To help you quit and then stay quit, here are a few tips that may help.

1. If you smoke cigarettes daily, get used to the idea that in all likelihood you’re an addict, addicted to a chemical called nicotine. Perhaps cigarette packet warnings should read, "Cigarettes are highly addictive. Tobacco can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine."

2. Nicotine physically alters our brain. It causes eleven different brain regions to grow millions of extra receptors. It is a powerful chemical which triggers our brains into giving us a ‘reward’. Successful quitting requires time for re-sensitising our brains, time for reconditioning our nicotine cues, and time to move beyond years of conscious smoking rationalising and minimisations.

3. Don't fool yourself. Nicotine dependency is every bit as real and permanent as other drug addictions. Treating your addiction as just a nasty habit is a recipe for relapse. There’s no such thing as just one puff. Never Take Another Puff!

4. Fear of success is one of the biggest obstacles to becoming smokefree. Your nicotine-conditioned mind is likely terrified at the thought that life without smoking won't be worth living, or that you'll leave part of you behind. But within two weeks or so you'll begin to develop a feeling that life without nicotine might actually be easier.

5. Cigarettes are not our friend. Only in an addict's head would the chemical depriving them of freedom, money and gradually destroying their body, be considered a friend.

6. Don't debate with yourself about wanting "a" cigarette. Instead, ask yourself how you'd feel about going back to your old level of consumption or greater.

7. A positive attitude is important. We are what we think. Take pride in each hour of freedom from tobacco and in each challenge overcome. The next few minutes are all that matter and each is entirely do-able. Yes you can!

8. Smoking is one of the most intense, repetitive and dependable relationships you've likely ever known. It has infected almost every aspect of your life. Be prepared to experience a sense of emotional loss when quitting.

9. Withdrawal symptoms are probably to blame for most of what you'll feel during the first three days of quitting. But after that you need to listen to your body and if concerned give your doctor a call.

10. Don't blame your withdrawal symptoms on where you're going, but on where you've been. Try to see each symptom as a sign of ongoing healing.

11. Regarding weight, you'd need to gain at least 35 extra kilos in order to equal the health risks associated with smoking every day. Eat vegetables and fruits instead of lollies, chips and pastries to help avoid weight gain.

12. Engage is some moderate form of regular exercise if at all concerned about weight gain. A substantial increase in overall lung function of up to 30% within just 90 days will aid you in engaging in physical activity, in shedding any extra kilos, and increasing fitness.

13. Years of smoking nicotine conditions us to be extremely impatient, at least when it comes to our addiction. A deprived nicotine addict could inhale a puff of nicotine and have it arrive in their brain within just 8 seconds. Realize the importance of patience.

14. Recognize the fact that everything you did as a smoker you will learn to do again comfortably as an ex-smoker. Meet, greet and defeat your smoking triggers, don't hide from them.

15. Recognize that smoking nicotine cannot solve any crisis. There is absolutely no legitimate excuse for relapse, including an accident, a financial crisis, divorce, job loss, or even a death.

16. Save the money you usually spend on cigarettes and buy yourself something you really want after a week or a month. Save for a year and treat yourself to a holiday.

Remember that there are only two good reasons to take a puff once you quit. You decide you want to go back to your old level of smoking until smoking cripples and then kills you, or you decide you really enjoy withdrawal symptoms and you want to make them last forever. As long as neither of these options appeals to you – say no to nicotine…one day at a time, every time!

Never Take Another Puff!


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