World No Tobacco Day, which is sponsored by the World Health Organization and observed around the globe, is intended to encourage everyone to abstain from using all forms of tobacco – including smoking, chewing and dipping – for at least 24 hours. A further goal is to highlight the prevalence of tobacco use and its negative health effects, which currently lead to almost 6 million deaths worldwide each year. This death toll includes many non-smokers who were exposed to the toxins in second-hand smoke.
Studies show that a vast majority – more than 70 percent – of tobacco users would like to quit, with more than half making at least one serious attempt that lasts for more than 24 hours. Unfortunately, though, many people don’t succeed simply because they don’t know how.
Here are some tried-and-true tips on how to kick the habit for good:
- Just jump right in and go cold turkey, which is proven to be the easiest, cheapest, safest and most effective way to stop.
- Tell the people around you that you have quit.
- Do not carry tobacco products with you.
- Make a list of the reasons that you want to quit and keep it with you. Whenever you feel a craving coming on, take out your list and reread it.
- Spend time in places where you can’t smoke.
- Try to maintain your normal routine, but if you have to, temporarily avoid activities and situations that could trigger a craving. These might include going to bars, drinking alcoholic beverages, drinking coffee after meals and attending social events with friends who smoke. In time, you should be able to do all of these things without wanting to smoke.
- Think of quitting not in terms of depriving yourself, but rather in terms of doing yourself a favor – improving your health and well-being.
- If you encounter a crisis or other stressful situation, remember that smoking is not a solution to the problem; instead, it will simply create an additional problem, causing you to relapse into nicotine addiction.
- If you are concerned about possible weight gain, keep healthy food choices on hand and stay physically active.
- Focus on not smoking for one day at a time, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. Do not worry about how you will get through the next year, month, week or even day.
- Take pride in your progress.
- Keep track of the money you save and use it to buy yourself something nice.
- Remember that using tobacco is an all-or-nothing proposition. Therefore, no matter how much time has passed since you quit, you can never have "just one."
For past and present tobacco users who are concerned about their lung cancer risk, Moffitt Cancer Center offers a comprehensive lung cancer screening program that is among the best in the nation, along with smoking cessation programs and other supportive services. To learn more, call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.