Quitting smoking is a journey, and more often than not there are some bumps in the road. Joel Nofziger, registered respiratory therapist at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, shares how hard it can be to quit smoking and how compassion and positivity can help you on the journey.
“Quitting smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco isn’t easy,” says Nofziger. “Think about a pack-a-day smoker – 10 puffs per cigarette, 20 cigarettes a day. Over the course of the year, you will perform the hand-to-mouth movement over 73,000 times. It took time to learn to use nicotine, so be patient with yourself as you learn ways to get through your day without tobacco products.”
Thankfully, with the right strategies, it’s possible to get back on track after a slip and continue your journey to a tobacco- and nicotine-free life.
- Don’t let a one-time slip turn into a relapse. You’re not a failure for slipping, you’re a success for trying to quit. If you do slip, don’t use it as an excuse to pick up another cigarette or vaping device. Once you do, it’s even easier to pick up the next one and the next one. Stop the slip from turning into a relapse by analyzing what happened that you weren’t prepared for and figure out how to handle the same situation next time that it happens.
- Stop negative self-defeating thoughts. Tell yourself that you have control and a choice over your actions. If you’re tempted to use tobacco again, call someone who has already quit and will support you in your journey.
- Don’t tell yourself that a little nicotine is OK. Even one cigarette a day greatly increases your risk of health issues such as heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Make a list of all of the reasons you decided to quit. Maybe you decided to quit to improve your health and reduce your risk of cancers or ending up on oxygen. Maybe you’re quitting to show someone that you can do it. You look forward to telling your physician that you quit, passing a nicotine drug test to get a better job, or providing a healthy smoke-free home for your children or grandchildren. Or to use all that money (over $2,500 a year for a pack-a-day smoker) to buy something that you’ve always wanted.
- Focus on the positive. Mentally beating yourself up, or being berated by someone else, isn’t helpful. You deserve credit for your decision to keep trying to quit. Never give up. Remember, you learn more with every slip and every success.
ProMedica wants to help you quit. For more information, go to promedica.org/tobacco-cessation or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.