Even if you already have a chronic disease, quitting smoking may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and keep you healthier longer. Still think it is too late?
"But I have been smoking for 45 years!" you say. "I'll never be able to quit smoking at this point."
You may be surprised to hear that older smokers are usually more successful at quitting smoking than younger smokers. This is especially true if they already have health problems, particularly those associated with smoking.
Studies suggest that elderly persons who ask their doctors about help for smoking cessation are more likely to get that help
may be more likely to be successful quitters. At your next medical visit do not forget to ask what you and your doctor together can do to help you kick the habit.
Preparing to Quit
List all the reasons you want to quit smoking and look at your list often.
Get help from your doctor, a smoking cessation specialist, or a group cessation program. Discuss using nicotine replacement products (patch, chewing gum, or nasal spray) along with a behavior change program.
One week before you quit, keep a journal of when and where you smoke each cigarette. Record how you are feeling each time (eg, happy, anxious, relaxed, angry, sad, lonely). This will help you be more aware of your smoking patterns.
Choose a method of quitting, such as gradually cutting back or quitting all at once. Quitting all at once tends to be most effective.
Set a quit date on your calendar.
Using Helpful Strategies
On quit day, throw out all your cigarettes and ashtrays.
Review your smoking journal and identify your smoking patterns. If you regularly smoke in certain places at certain times (in the kitchen after a meal, for example), change your routine (get up from the table after eating). Identify other high-risk situations such as stress,
depression, and being around other smokers. Have a plan for every situation.
Create a list of ways to distract yourself from a cigarette craving. Examples include calling a friend, taking a walk, chewing gum, or taking a warm bath.
Reward yourself with a treat (not food) for every week you do not smoke. Put the money you save in a jar and watch it grow.
Have a supportive "buddy" (preferably an ex-smoker) you can call during the rough times.
To avoid weight gain, eat low-fat meals and snacks with lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink lots of water. Exercise daily. Consult a nutritionist if weight gain becomes a problem.
Withdrawal symptoms should go away in a few days. Nicotine replacement products and
medicines like bupropion
can help. Try to get more rest and relaxation.
Learning How to Handle Stress
Many people go back to smoking sometimes years after quitting when a crisis hits. Plan ahead for how you will handle a stressful event such as a death, divorce, retirement, illness, etc. That way, you will not be caught off guard.
Most ex-smokers make several attempts to quit before they are successful. If you start smoking again, do not let feelings of regret, guilt, or failure get a handle on you. Learn from your setbacks and get right back on the program. It is not too late!
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a