Women and Smoking: Health Facts and Consequences

Women and Smoking (<i>cont'd</i>)

In fact, a smoker addicted to nicotine can expect to try to quit at least two or three times before making the break. But here five tried-and-true ways to help you say goodbye to tobacco and put an end to your smoking career — once and for all.

1. Set a quit smoking date.

Give yourself one to four weeks to mentally prepare, and don't do it during a particularly stressful time. Use this time to get rid of all cigarettes and tobacco paraphernalia from your home, office and car. Also think about previous quit attempts, and what worked and what didn't. And when you hit the big day, don't smoke even a puff.

2. Get support from family, friends and coworkers.

Ask them not to smoke around you. Also talk to your health care provider. And consider individual counseling and support groups. Both can help improve your chances of success. To find these services in your area, call the local public health department, hospital or health center.

3. Change your routine.

Drink tea in the morning instead of coffee, eat breakfast or lunch in a different spot. Take a different route to work. Distract yourself from urges to smoke by taking a walk or indulging in some other exercise. If you're stressed, take a hot bath or do something else that gives you pleasure. Drink plenty of water. This will help take the edge off.

4. Consider anti-smoking medication.

Bupropion SR, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine patch can double your chances of quitting. Ask your health care provider for advice. Pregnant women and those with medical conditions should not take these drugs unless they have spoken to their doctor first.

5. Prepare for possible relapse.

Most relapses occur within the first three months after quitting. Avoid alcohol and being around other smokers. Both can impede success. Many smokers can expect to gain some weight — generally less than 10 pounds. Bad moods and mild depression are also common.

Remember, there are ways to minimize these side effects. Exercise and eating healthy (snacking on carrot sticks vs. junk food) are among ways to combat weight gain or depression, along with various forms of counseling (individual, group or telephonic).

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