When a respiratory disease like COVID19 hits society, we are asked to protect the most vulnerable members of the community. What happens when a habit you have increases your exposure to a potentially fatal disease? Smokers are at an increased risk of catching influenza-based viruses,
as well as those with diabetes, cancer and compromised immune systems. Is now the right time to give up a habit, that puts you at risk during a pandemic, not to mention the long term effects of smoking on your health? Quitting smoking is difficult under the best of circumstances, but now with all the uncertainty in the world will giving up the habit be even harder? Stopping smoking cold turkey means to stop completely, allow the craving and need for nicotine to leave the system and overcome the dependence on tobacco. “No tobacco day” is a jumping off point, to give up cigarettes for 24 hours and begin the journey of an addiction free lifestyle. Letting go of an addiction is not easy. The established adage is to just take it “one day at a time”, and May 31 is that first day. Around 3 days after quitting, most people will experience moodiness and irritability, severe headaches, and cravings as the body readjusts. In as little as 1 month, a person’s lung function begins to improve. As the lungs heal and lung capacity improves, former smokers may notice less coughing and shortness of breath. Those benefits alone, now more then ever, make it a great reason to stop smoking.
To look at smoking as a habit versus an addiction, leads to other possible methods to stop. May 31st may provide the opportunity to look at smoking as a habit that is associated with other things. If a coffee and cigarette go together, only have a coffee in a place where smoking is not allowed or switch the morning drink to tea. If a cigarette is an after meal habit, take a walk around the block instead. All habits can be re-engineered in the brain and exploring methods to alter the thinking around habits may help to stop smoking.
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