Smoking, along with insulin resistance, affects blood vessels and the heart. If you smoke, quitting reduces your risk of heart disease and other complications.
It will take about three months for you to think of yourself as a nonsmoker. In the meantime, you still think of yourself as a smoker and may want to reach for a cigarette when you are under stress.
There are three stages to stopping smoking.
Preparing to quit
- Make a pact with yourself to quit.
- Pick a date for quitting.
- Write down your three most important reasons for quitting on a card. Carry the card with you or post it on the refrigerator and look at it several times a day.
- Start reducing your smoking. Don't allow yourself to smoke in certain places.
- Visualize yourself as a nonsmoker.
- Plan your reward for each day you don't smoke.
- Get rid of all cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
- Throw away your ashtrays.
- Don't allow smoking in your home — if other family members want to smoke, ask them to go outside.
- Avoid "high risk" situations: bars, parties and smoking environments.
- Think positively. Believe you can quit and don't make a big deal of it.
- Take it one day at a time. If you fall off the wagon, climb back on! Remember that even the most intense craving lasts only five to 10 minutes … so wait it out!
- Think positively. Remember why you decided to stop smoking.
- Reward yourself.
- Avoid difficult situations where you would be tempted to start smoking.
- Don't play games like, "One cigarette won't hurt."
- Find out about local self-help or support groups.
If you lapse and smoke again, don't worry. Many smokers go through the three stages many times before they are successful. When you are ready to quit, review your plan
to quit and begin again.
Talk with your health care provider about your best treatment options. You can also check with your insurance provider about quitting programs that may be available to you.