Top 5 Things to Know About Why You Should Quit Smoking
1. The benefits far outweigh the work it takes to quit smoking. The sense of inner strength and belief in our ability to accomplish challenging goals grows immeasurably. Quitting tobacco for most people represents an out of reach dream we’ve carried with us for many years. Learning that we are indeed strong enough and worthy a life free of addiction opens doors long closed. Ex-smokers often take on a sport they always wanted to do, change course in their careers, or go back to school. Smoking cessation is a life-changer. You’ll see.
2. The odds are against you if you don’t quit. If you are a lifetime smoker, your risk of dying a tobacco-related death is about 50 percent. Additionally, on average, lifetime smokers lose 10 years of life over those who don’t smoke. 480,000 lives are lost to tobacco in the United States every year, and six million die of tobacco-related deaths worldwide annually.
However, if you quit smoking before your 40th birthday, you’ll reduce your risk of dying from a smoking-related disease by 90 %.
3. Fewer people are smoking today in the U.S. than ever before. In 2005, 21 out of every 100 people over the age of 18 (20.9 percent) smoked in the United States. By 2014, that number had dropped to 17 per 100 adults (16.8 percent/40 million smokers), and continues to go down. We can thank aggressive anti-smoking legislation and campaigns for nudging American smokers in the right direction. They’ve educated us about the hazards associated with tobacco use, but in countries without this advantage, smoking rates are much higher. There are one billion smokers around the world today. Eighty percent of them live in low and middle income countries.
4. Quitting smoking isn’t as hard as you think. Yes, it takes work and yes, it takes some time. That said, the hard part happens early on, and with some education about what’s ahead and the support to get through it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that recovery from nicotine addiction is doable and a finite task. You won’t always miss smoking.
5. Every smoker is afraid to quit smoking. Nicotine addiction compels us to continue smoking long after we want to stop. We think about quitting daily, but then the fear of letting go sets in and we put it off.
The fact is, no matter when you quit, you’ll feel that fear every smoker is familiar with. Push through it and move forward. Your anxiety will dissipate with a little time invested in smoking cessation.
Important Facts About Tobacco Use
When thinking about quitting, it helps to consider some of the key facts about how tobacco affects the lives of smokers.
- Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death. If smoking rates continue as they are now, an estimated eight million lives around the world will be lost to tobacco use annually by 2030.
- For every person who dies a smoking-related death, 30 or more people are living with a smoking-related disease.
- The most common smoking-related causes of death for smokers are heart disease, COPD, stroke, and cancer.
- Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, claiming 1.4 million souls each year. Approximately 80 percent of them are caused by smoking.
- Similarly, 80 percent of COPD deaths are smoking-related.
- “Light” smokers (those who smoke 10 or less cigarettes a day) reduce their life expectancy by about five years and increase their risk of lung cancer by 20 times compared to people who have never smoked. Those who smoke just one to four cigarettes a day still have a risk of developing lung cancer that’s five times greater than never-smokers.
Getting Started With Smoking Cessation
Think about why you want to quit smoking, and commit those reasons to paper and to memory. Start with the big, obvious reasons, and keep going until you’ve listed all of the little ones, too. Smoking touches so many parts of our lives. Look at how it has affected yours in detail.
Learn what smoking cessation involves. Most smokers think quitting should be a relatively straightforward (and quick) task. Those who have one or more quit attempts under their belts know that’s not true, but it’s easy to get stuck in thinking we’ll always be miserable without cigarettes. Knowledge put into action is power.
Stay in the present moment. Sounds simple, but it isn’t for most of us. We live our lives looking back or ahead, ignoring the day we’re experiencing right now. You will be able to cope with the ups and downs of recovery from nicotine addiction more easily if you develop the ability to shut down thoughts of missing smoking (looking back) or the fear of never smoking again (looking ahead). Keep it simple and deal with the day you have in front of you. It’s where your power to change exists.
Recovery is a gradual process. Make each day count. That’s all you can do, and guess what? It’s enough.
A Word From Verywell
You might think you love smoking, but the truth is more about addiction than it is about a fondness for cigarettes. That edgy feeling when the nicotine in our blood needs replenishing is at the root of what we think of as smoking pleasure. And, over time, we learn to connect smoking with most of the daily activities and events in our lives until we come to believe that cigarettes help us cope with just about everything.
Change the faulty programming cigarettes forced on you and build the smoke-free life you’ve been dreaming of. It’s worth the work and will reward you with benefits you have yet to discover.