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How Can I Stop Smoking?

If you are a smoker, giving up could be the single best action you have ever done for your health. Also known as smoking cessation or quitting, it generally refers to the inhalation of tobacco smoke, which for many people can be extremely difficult because they have a strong physical addiction to a substance found in tobacco smoke - nicotine. If manufacturers of cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco were not allowed to include any nicotine in their products, most experts agree that the number of smoking addicts would plummet.

The vast majority of regular smokers fail in their first attempt to give up. Even after developing serious smoking related diseases, a considerable number of individuals find it so hard to quit that they continue puffing away.

Half a century ago there were more regular smoking adults than non-smokers. Today, especially in developed nations, smokers make up a minority of the adult population (around 20%). According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), USA, in 2010 there were 46 million smokers and 47 million non-smoking people who used to smoke in America.

Although there are several aids to help you give up, the majority of current ex-smokers managed to break free without any help - either by gradually tapering off (cutting down and then stopping) or going cold turkey.

Predicting whether a person might succeed in giving up is not easy. Several factors may influence, such as their physical makeup, motivation, commitment, lifestyle, home environment, socioeconomic status, education, and even gender. People who live in households with other smokers generally find it harder to give up. If you work in a UK hospital, finding somewhere to smoke is difficult, making it easier to stop. On the other hand, gardeners or farm workers can light up virtually whenever they want. If you move into an apartment on the fifth floor and the building has no elevator you may soon start wondering whether those stairs, especially of you are laden with shopping, might not be easier if you did not smoke, and decide to try to give up. When you find those stairs easier, your motivation may last longer, increasing your chances of long-term success.

The National Health Service (NHS), UK, says that people wishing to give up smoking should see their GP (general practitioner, primary care physician). Doctors are trained to help patients, give them proper advice and refer them to support services. Getting into a support group has been shown to considerably improve your chances of succeeding both in the short- and long-term. Even if you do not want to join a group, your doctor can still be an important factor in getting you to quit properly and permanently.

NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) - if your addiction to nicotine is particularly severe, you may find that a steady release of nicotine into your bloodstream helps take the edge off those powerful cravings and bouts of anxiety and irritation. NRT provides you with nicotine, but spares you all that smoke which contains poisonous chemicals, tar and carbon monoxide.

Source: Medical News Today

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