Tips on How to Quit Smoking

Break the habit with a few simple distractions — and remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try again!

As a family physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary encourages each of his patients to live the healthiest lives possible — this including keeping a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently an estimated 1 billion smokers worldwide, with 4.2 million of those being in Canada.

Cigarette smoke can cause a number of health issues, especially when it comes to the respiratory system, such as COPD, asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. It is also responsible for causing at least 30% of cancer-related deaths in the country, with 85% of those deaths being due to lung cancer as a direct result of smoking. In addition, smokers are also at much higher risk of developing infections and heart disease, and you may also notice some changes, over time, in your integumentary system — such as the structure of your skin and hair loss. It can even impact your digestive system and increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus.

It’s also important to note that even if you are a non-smoker, you are not immune to these problems — especially if you are exposed to second-hand smoke. In order to prevent the affects of second-hand smoke, it is important that you create a smoke-free environment. While smoking in all public places in British Columbia, including office buildings and restaurants, was banned back in 2008, avoiding smoke all together is oftentimes near impossible. For example, you may live in a household with smokers or in a building that allows its residents to smoke and/or had previous tenants who smoked, or you may simply pass by a smoker while walking down the street. There are, however, a few small steps you can take to lessen your exposure to cigarette smoke. If you do happen to live in a household where there are smokers, encourage them to smoke outdoors rather than indoors. Understand that even with windows and doors left open, cigarette smoke can travel and remain in a room for several hours, and the toxic chemicals can also stick to clothing, carpets, curtains and furniture. In order to remove these toxic chemicals, you may want to hire a carpet cleaning company as well as purchase an air purifier. You should also not let anyone smoke around your children or inside of your vehicle. Your space is your space, and individuals who do smoke should be respectful of that.

If you are trying to quit smoking, the best way to do that is to stay motivated! It can be difficult, initially, and it is not uncommon to experience symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability and trouble sleeping. However, with the right resources and medical supervision, anything is possible. Rather than quitting cold turkey, ask your physician for advice on different methods to help make the process an easier one. While medication is commonly used to aid in smoking cessation, you may also benefit from attending a quit-smoking program, cognitive behavioural therapy, or even hypnosis. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

To stop yourself from lighting up a cigarette whenever you get the urge, try finding different things to distract yourself with. These could be things as simple as cleaning the house, going for a walk, scheduling a get-together with friends, or downloading some games to play on your phone.