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Making a plan to quit smoking and succeed

The famed writer and humorist Mark Twain once said “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it one thousand times.”

His words may bring a smile, but there’s no doubt that making the decision to quit smoking can be one of the hardest and healthiest decisions you will ever make for yourself. As 2015 comes to a conclusion, it is a good time to start thinking of healthy resolutions to make now or for the New Year. Quitting smoking could be a change that finally allows you to feel better and breathe easier.

Declining use shows there is never a bad time to quit smoking

If you decide right now to stub out that final cigarette, you will be in good company.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cigarette smoking is on the decline. It dropped among U.S. adults from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014. It declined a full percentage point between 2013 and 2014.

But the price paid for smoking remains high. It is estimated that smoking kills a half million Americans a year. There are still some groups that show a vulnerability to smoking.

  • Males (18.8 percent compared to 14.8 percent for females)
  • Adults 25 to 44 (20 percent)
  • People who live below the federal poverty limit (26.3 percent)
  • People who live in the Midwest (20.7 percent)
  • People who have a disability/limitation (21.9 percent)
  • People who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (23.9 percent)
  • Multiracial (27.9 percent) or American Indian/Alaskan Natives (29.2 percent)

Understanding the power of Nicotine

Nicotine is a substance that occurs naturally in tobacco. That doesn’t mean it is good for you. It is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Cutting off the supply causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms—both physical and mental. These can include dizziness, irritability, depression, and weight gain, to name a few.

Some therapies

If you’re considering quitting smoking, consult with a doctor to learn about the various therapies that exist and may help you power through those withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine replacement therapies that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include the patch, gum, nasal spray, lozenges and inhalers.

There also are prescription drugs that can help you stay true to your desire to quit smoking. Other tactics that can be used include acupuncture, hypnosis and mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation.

Some steps to a smoke-free life

The American Cancer Society has outlined some steps that can help smokers realize their goal of no longer smoking. These include making the decision to stop, making a plan for stopping, coping with withdrawal symptoms and maintaining a smoke-free life for the long haul.

For more advice on these steps, click here.

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