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December is Take a New Year's Resolution to Stop Smoking Month

December 28, 2012
Estherville Daily News
If you don’t smoke, consider this editorial as something you should hand a loved one who smokes. If you do smoke, then listen up. December is Take a New Year’s Resolution to Stop Smoking Month, a time to make that decision to stop smoking on Jan. 1, 2013. So why is setting a date important? Actually, experts in nicotine addiction recommend setting a date because it helps you gear your willpower toward quitting. As of this date, you have two, full days to get ready to quit. That’s two days in which to design a strategy to help extend your life. And that’s exactly what quitting smoking does. As the old adage goes, for every minute you smoke, you lose a minute of your life. However, if you quit smoking, you can reverse the effects of smoking and live a longer, healthier life. Quitting smoking is difficult. What it entails is using focused, conscious willpower to end an addiction. And all addictions are subconscious in nature. When you first quit smoking, you will have constant periods of craving. Those constant periods will in time be broken up with periods when you don’t carve cigarettes. The key is to “fill in” those periods of craving with meaningful activities that displace the smoking habit. Following are some good strategies activities to follow: n Exercise. Exercise helps release chemicals in the brain, similar to the effect you feel from smoking. The harder you exercise, the less withdrawal you will feel from smoking. n Water. Water helps flush nicotine from your body tissues. Usually three to four days does it. After that amount of time, nicotine is pretty much depleted from your body. Any cravings you have after that time are psychological. n Alternative activity. This includes things you can do to simulate smoking cigarettes without actually smoking them. Such activities might include chewing gum, sucking on hard candy or carrying a pen or pencil with you that you can “flick” as though it were a cigarette. Whenever you feel a craving, instead of reaching for a cigarette, try the alternative activity. n There is no such thing as “just one” cigarette. “Gee, I’ve don’t such a good job with this quitting smoking thing. I think I’ll have a cigarette to reward myself.” WRONG! That’s like a soldier making it through a horrific battle then rewarding himself by putting a bullet in his own head. Such thinking is counterintuitive to quitting smoking as well as the fundamentals of human reason. n Consuming carotene. Carotene, which is found in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, apricots and green peppers, reduces the craving for nicotine. It’s actually a nicotine substitute. And it’s a whole lot better for you. n Give yourself a reward. Estimate how much you spend on cigarettes each day (About $6 to $7 a pack). Then get a jar and put that amount of money each day and then use it to go on a vacation. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you’ll save at least $2,190 in a year. If you’re a two-pack-a-day smoker, that’s $4,380 a year. Nice vacation, huh? Quitting smoking takes focused, concentrated effort over a sustained period of time. Despite all those commercials for drugs and nicotine gum, the best way to quit is cold turkey. If you really want to quit, have someone lock you in a padded cell or put you in jail if you have to, but get whatever help you can. Quitting smoking now will give you a longer, healthier life and save you a lot of money. So do it. Jan. 1, 2013 is your quitting date.


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