The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

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1 The Benefits of Quitting Smoking Smoking is a very expensive habit. Have you ever considered the amount of money that you spend on smoking? Find out for yourself with this cost calculator: how many packs per week X cost per pack X 52 weeks X number of years smoking = Total cost X X 52 X = What else could you buy with that amount of money? If I stopped smoking I would be able to spend that money to: 1. Example: Go on vacation.

2 Most importantly, by quitting smoking, you can save your health. Think of the possibilities of being a healthier person. What would being healthy and living longer enable you to do? Becoming a healthy, smoke free person would enable me to: 1. Example: Spend more time doing activities with my children. Understand Your Reasons for Smoking In many instances we think we need a cigarette. However, can you think of situations where you don t think you need a cigarette, but smoke anyway? You probably smoke in instances where you do not have a craving. More importantly, can you think of healthier ways of responding to the reasons for your smoking? For instance, if you are smoking because you are bored, what could you do instead of smoking? I smoke because: What I plan to do instead of smoking: 1. Example: I m bored. Example: Take a walk.

3 Remember Your Top Good Reasons for Quitting Why have you chosen to quit? Keeping these reasons in mind will motivate you by reminding you of your goals and purpose. A great way to keep your reasons to quit smoking fresh in your mind is to write down your top 5 reasons for quitting smoking on a small cue card. Carry this card with you everywhere you go and glance at it when you need a reminder to stay on track. My most important reasons for quitting smoking: 1. Dealing with the cravings Keep in mind that cravings will become less frequent over time and will decrease in length and intensity. One of the most effective ways to deal with cravings is to be aware of them. You will be surprised how short they really are. Remember, the craving will go away whether you have a cigarette or not. If you find that focusing on the cravings does not help, try the opposite strategy. Try to distract yourself as much as possible. How I plan to deal with my cravings: 1. Example: Drink water. Example: Talk with a friend to distract myself.

4 Withdrawal Nicotine acts in the brain to increase the production of a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine creates feelings of pleasure and calm. After extended periods of nicotine consumption our brains become accustomed to the high levels of dopamine. When you stop smoking the brain is shocked by the low levels of dopamine and alerts us to increase production. These alerts are what we experience as withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include: being irritable and grouchy; tiredness; hunger; headache; coughing more than usual; becoming depressed; trouble sleeping. The good news is that we can re-train our brain to not depend on such high levels of dopamine. Withdrawal symptoms become less frequent and intense and finally disappear after about 10 days of quitting smoking. In the meantime there are effective ways to deal with withdrawal: - Be sure to drink plenty of fluids including water; - Get plenty of sleep; - Relax listen to music, have a hot bath, or meditate; - Distract yourself become active, go hunting, visit with Elders, etc.; - Stay as busy as possible; - Take deep slow breaths in and out.

5 Dealing with social situations Smoking is a social habit. If you smoke, it is likely that those around you smoke. You must be prepared to refuse cigarettes from those around you. Prepare your responses ahead of time. No thanks or no thank you, I m trying to quit are perfectly acceptable. It s best to be honest to tell others that you are trying to quit. What I will say when I am offered a cigarette: Avoiding alcohol and caffeine For smokers, having a cigarette when consuming coffee or alcohol is a common habit. When attempting to quit smoking, it may be difficult to enjoy alcohol or coffee without experiencing a nicotine craving. If you are someone who enjoys caffeine or alcohol while smoking, the best way to avoid this temptation is to avoid alcohol and caffeine while trying to stop smoking. The urge to smoke will be lessened considerably if these things are avoided. Weight gain Smoking speeds up the body s metabolism (burning more calories) and nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant. When you quit smoking you may eat more. Exercising can help reduce your likelihood for weight gain. It can also help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and generally make you feel better about yourself. Consider jogging, exercise classes, purchasing a gym membership, or joining a sports league. Even taking small steps such as riding a bicycle or walking where you might otherwise drive can make a big difference. You might want to consult a doctor before engaging in vigorous exercise;. Start slow. Tell friends and family you are ready to quit Gaining the support of those around you can be invaluable. Not only will they encourage and support you to stop smoking but you may also motivate them to do the same. Quitting smoking gives you the opportunity to become a role model for those around you.

6 Relapsing You may slip up and have a cigarette while trying to quit. Do not get discouraged or stop trying if this happens. It may take the average smoker 8 to 10 tries before successfully quitting. Remind yourself of how long you have been without a cigarette and your reasons for quitting. Keep in mind the benefits you and those around you will enjoy from not smoking. Quitlines Quitlines are available in all provinces and territories and are free of cost. Trained professionals can help you quit by developing a personalized plan for you, refer you to other services in your community, and send you self-help materials. Whether you are a smoker, want to help a friend stop smoking, thinking about quitting smoking or not, call the Quitline for your province. Newfoundland and Labrador: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia: Prince Edward Island: Québec: Ontario: Manitoba and Saskatchewan: British Columbia: Yukon: (x 8393) Nunavut: Northwest Territories: Call your public health unit, or O-Canada

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