NEW DELHI: ‘Smoking Is Injurious to Health’, but that warning hasn’t stopped millions of smokers across the world from lighting up.
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in most countries across the world. It damages nearly every organ in the body which includes lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive system, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones. The risk of developing lung, head and neck cancer in those who smoke early in the morning is greater than those who smoke late in the day. Studies show that smoking within 30 minutes of waking up
increases the risk of cancer by 1.79 times, than someone who smokes 60 minutes after getting up from bed.
Dr Jayanta Thakuria, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, India answers the pertinent question of how to quit smoking, despite the physical and psychological cravings. Physical cravings are your body’s reaction towards nicotine withdrawal. Psychological cravings are triggered by events in your life by lighting up a cigarette when you got to washroom, driving, socialising, among others.
These cravings last for few minutes, say 5-10 minutes, the rule of thumb is to deal with these cravings as they come one by one. Simply shift gears and do different things at that moment. By doing this, you can divert your thought process and prevent physical and psychological dependence.
Go for early morning walk and do meditation: It could be an early morning walk in the park or walk in a balcony or corridor if you are at home for at-least 5-10 minutes. You can also practise deep breathing exercises and do meditation to get rid of all the cravings
Call a friend: Once you wake up early in the morning, call a friend and talk to him/ her for say 10-15 minutes. This will help to divert your thoughts or urge to smoke.
Avoid smoking triggers: Throw away lighters and ash trays or any fancy things related to smoking. Drink plenty of water. Spend time with non-smoking friends. Think about your morning routine when and where you smoke, then change your morning schedule and avoid those triggers like reading newspapers, gardening, et cetera.
Change your driving route: If driving is related to your smoking, change the route. If you see someone smoking at the traffic signal, then switch on the music system and try to sing. Try to distract yourself as much as possible.
Change your meal routine: If your smoking habits are kind of related to some certain foods or snacks, change your meal routine. Always try to have a healthy meal and drink plenty of water to wash out toxins from your body.
Get an online support: If you are finding difficulty to quit smoking in your early days of quitting, get an online support group. Reading other people’s stories about quitting smoking may motivate you to get rid of nicotine dependency.
Remain focussed on your goal: Make it a point to quit smoking and reaffirm your reasons of quitting. Stick to your goal and celebrate your victory over cessation of smoking.
Last but not the least, take support from your family or your friends. Share your thoughts of quitting smoking and take their help to create a better version of yourself.