Health & lifestyle
QUIT. It’s a simple message that we’ve heard for many years but for a lot of smokers, giving up cigarettes is not that simple. In fact, many smokers try to quit numerous times before they actually stop smoking long term but it is well worth the effort. Every year, about 19,000 Australians die from diseases caused by smoking.
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So why is smoking dangerous to our health?
Cigarette smoke is a mixture of more than 4000 chemicals, many of which can damage the body. Eleven of these chemicals are known to cause cancer and eight potentially cause cancer. Diabetes, infections, breathing problems and heart disease are also some of the illnesses associated with smoking. So why does anyone still smoke?
For many people the simple answer is nicotine. Nicotine is one of the key ingredients in cigarettes and it is a highly addictive drug. Although there are many reasons to stop smoking, giving up can be very hard. A craving to smoke, depressed mood, irritability and poor concentration among many other withdrawal symptoms are likely to be experienced by someone who is trying to quit.
The good news is that as soon as you stop smoking your body will start to recover. That is why you have withdrawal symptoms. It is a sign that your body is beginning to recover from the damage caused by cigarettes. Within days there are many significant benefits to your health and the longer you remain smoke-free, the better your health becomes.
Deciding to quit
Like any change in our lives, the first important step is to decide to change it is importnat to find your reasons to quit smoking. The next is to have realistic expectations about how this change will affect you, physically, emotionally and socially. Having the right information and support means that you can plan your approach to quitting and this might mean that you will have more success than with a sudden decision to stop. There are tpps to help smokers quit and getting help from Quit (www.quit.org.au) or your doctor is a positive way to start the process. You don’t have to do it alone.
Quitting is not easy, but it brings many benefits in terms of health and well-being and of course, financial gain. Smoking is an expensive habit so you don’t have to give up for long before you start accumulating some extra cash.
Helping others to quit
In the same way that you have helped friends or family in difficult times, you can help someone give up smoking. You cannot force someone to quit, but you can help to provide information, support and encouragement along their quit journey. And if they “fall off the wagon” then you can help them get back on. It might be a challenging process, but the support you offer will be important to the smoker’s success.
Want to know more?
To learn more about smoking, how it affects your health and options for quitting, we have developed a list of useful quit links and resources.
This article is based on information sourced from Quit Now and Quit Victoria.
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