Is this your year to quit?

February 3, 2011 by  

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So what if it’s already February. That doesn’t mean that I can’t start my New Year’s resolutions now. Or you for that matter. Especially when the resolution is for our health. Besides, the Lunar Year of the Rabbit is just starting.

If your NY’s resolution is to quit smoking, then you are looking at the right direction because quitting as soon as possible will drastically decrease your risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Here are some tips from the MD Anderson Cancer Center:

Set a date

“Picking a quit date, particularly at a time when you know your motivation is high and there will be less stress or distraction, is generally a good idea ,” according to Paul M. Cinciripini, director of MD Anderson’s Tobacco Treatment Program and professor in the Department of Behavioral Science.

Get help and support

Get all the help you can get! Free counseling is available at these “Quit Lines”:

  • Centers for Disease Control Office of Smoking and Health: 1-800-QUIT NOW
  • National Cancer Institute: 1-877-44U-QUIT

Swap habits

Identify the stimuli that trigger smoking, then replacing the smoking habit for less harmful one once the urge arises. As an example, stress is a common smoking trigger. Chewing gum or exercising that help against the stress without the smoke. But remember, do not replace one bad habit for another. “This is one of the areas where a behavioral counselor can really help,” according to Vance Rabius, another expert at MD Anderson’s Department of Behavioral Science.

Find some distraction

Find some distractions to get your mind off from smoking- a book, a video game, a stroll in the park. A friend of mine took up pottery and each time she got the urge, she went to her potter’s wheel. At the end of the year, she was smoke-free and had enough vases for Christmas presents.

Take it one day at a time

Concentrate on the short-term and just get through each day. One successful “quitter” shared her experience:

I told myself every day that I could smoke tomorrow if I wanted to, but today I wasn’t smoking. The idea that I just had to last through the day was really helpful.”

Reward yourself

Now, this is great tip. Treat yourself to something nice for every milestone, a play, a massage, a piece of jewelry, a weekend trip or even little things like going out for dinner or a film. The important thing is – pick a reward/activity that will not trigger the smoking urge.

Check out other quitting resources:

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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