If you’ve made a resolution to quit smoking in the new year, congratulations! If you’ve tried to quit in the past, or talked to others who’ve quit, you know it’s no easy feat. During your quit journey, you may experience hurdles and setbacks. But keep in mind that many people have traveled this road and have succeeded in kicking their smoking habit for good. You too, can join the ranks of successful quitters.
Before facing any challenge, it helps to know what you’re up against. Here are some common barriers smokers may notice and ways to help overcome them.
“I need a cigarette to calm my nerves.”
Some people believe that smoking cigarettes helps them relax. In fact, smoking is a stimulant – it revs you up! Smoking also increases blood pressure and heart rate, which causes an increase in stress levels in the body. Instead of smoking, try some of these techniques the next time you feel stressed:
- Pause and take a deep breath in and out. Keep your eyes closed, and concentrate on your breath. You can calm your nerves on your own.
- Talk it out with a family member, trusted friend, or healthcare professional.
- Step out for some fresh air. Sometimes, taking a walk can help you gain some perspective.
“I miss the bonding with coworkers (and friends) during smoking breaks.”
- Rehearse ahead of time how you’ll respond when a friend or coworker suggests going out for a smoke. Say it out loud to make it real.
- Tell people you‘re trying to quit so they can help keep you on track.
- Plan alternate activities to do instead of taking a smoking break, such as sipping a cup of herbal tea or discussing your favorite zombie show with a coworker.
“I don’t want to gain weight.”
Some smokers notice a few extra pounds on the scale after quitting. Note that not everyone gains weight, and the average weight gain is less than 10 pounds. Remember that the health benefits from quitting smoking surpass possible weight gain. To help combat weight gain:
- Work with a healthcare provider to develop an exercise routine and healthy eating plan.
- Walk around the block with a coworker during former smoking breaks. It can be a stress reliever, and gets you up and moving.
- Brown-bag your lunch. Prepare healthy foods instead of eating fast food. This way, you can also pick foods to help keep your hands distracted during your quit–like carrot sticks and pretzels.
“Smoking cessation treatments are too expensive.”
Consider how much you’re saving by quitting: A pack-a-day smoker can save over $2,200 a year from not buying tobacco! Many health plans cover quit smoking treatment, which may include medication and counseling. Specific coverage varies depending on your plan, so it's important to research what's included in your policy.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your options. You may be pleasantly surprised by what your plan covers.
This new year, don’t let any hurdles get in your way of quitting smoking. Take a deep breath and put your best food forward – you can do it!