Quit Smoking

The first day after you quit smoking, as the nicotine leaves your body, you’re likely to notice symptoms of withdrawal. These are signs of your body recovering from smoking. For some people, withdrawal is mild. Others have a harder time. In any case, withdrawal should begin to lessen after the first few days. Use the Four D’s listed below to beat withdrawal.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Snacking more
  • Getting headaches
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling low on energy
  • Feeling cranky or restless 

The Four D’s

Withdrawal symptoms and smoking urges are strongest the first few days. Use the Four D’s below to help when you crave a smoke:

  • Deep-breathe. Inhale through your nose. Try to feel as if you are breathing into your stomach. Then slowly exhale all the air through your mouth. Repeat this 4 to 5 times. This can help calm the urge to smoke.
  • Drink Water. This keeps your mouth fresh and flushes nicotine from your body. 
  • Do Something. File your nails. Learn a nursery rhyme. Write a note to a friend.
  • Delay! Put off smoking. The urge to smoke lasts only 3 to 5 minutes. 

Facing Facts

When you smoke, your breathing becomes shallow and your lungs fill with smoke. Smoking cigarettes fills your body with over 4,000 chemicals, including formaldehyde, arsenic, and lead. Dozens of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.

The High Cost of Smoking

Add to the cost of cigarettes the cost of extra over-the-counter and prescription medications for illnesses related to smoking. Add in the cost of more expensive health and life insurance premiums. You’ll also spend more on copays because of more frequent doctor visits. And don’t forget increased dental expenses.

High cost to health

Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Smoking-related illnesses cause nearly one of every five deaths each year in the United States.

The CDC, American Lung Association, and American Cancer Society report:

  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Smoking and tobacco use account for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of lung cancer deaths.
  • Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Smoking doubles a person’s risk for stroke.
  • Smoking may increase by 10 times your risk of dying from chronic obstructive lung disease.
  • Smokers are at greater risk for complications after surgery. These include infections and pneumonia.
  • On average, adults who smoke die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.

Give it up

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it can be done. If you don’t quit, over time, the health and financial toll will keep growing. To make an appointment to see a HealthAlliance Hospital physician about quitting smoking call the physician referral line at (978) 665-5900. Like our Facebook page to receive Facebook updates about health events like our free smoking cessation classes. More information about quitting smoking can be found at the CDC or www.smokefree.gov.