New Year's Resolutions: How to Quit Smoking in 2021
Great progress has been made against cigarette smoking in the United States, but the long-term effects of smoking still linger. Although smoking rates have gone down regularly since the 1990s, many people of all ages still use tobacco products, and e-cigarette use has risen among teenagers since 2011. There's still plenty of work to be done in the fight against tobacco use, and every year it's one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions. Below we've got some tips to help you quit smoking in 2021.
The Facts About Cigarette Smoking
Cigarettes have been understood to be dangerous for years. They're indicated in many diseases and health conditions, including peripheral neuropathy. But despite this, there are still many smokers out there and even former smokers still feel the ill effects of tobacco:
- 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes.
- Over 16 million Americans live with a disease related to smoking.
- Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and illness worldwide.
- 480,000 deaths, or 1 in 5, are caused yearly by smoking.
The Benefits of Quitting
Quitting smoking can seem trivial after years of damage from cigarettes, but no matter your age or how long you've smoked, it can help you. The longer you go without smoking, the stronger the benefits:
- 20 Minutes After Quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease.
- 12 Hours After Quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting: Lung function and circulation both improve.
- 1 to 9 Months After Quitting: A decrease in coughing and shortness of breath. The cilia in your lungs begin to function as normal, reducing the risk of infection and improving lung health.
- 1 Year After Quitting: Your heart attack risk drops, and your risk of coronary heart disease decreases to half of a current smoker's.
- 5 Years After Quitting: Your risks of certain cancers reduce by half, including those of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder. Your cervical cancer risk becomes that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can reduce to that of a non-smoker.
- 10 Years After Quitting: Your risk of lung cancer becomes half that of a current smoker. Your risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decrease.
- 15 Years After Quitting: Your risk of coronary heart disease reduces to that of a non-smoker's.
Everyone acknowledges that quitting is difficult. But there's a crucial thing you can do to help yourself before you even smoke your last cigarette: Make a Plan! Preparing for quitting can help give you guidance, and give the process a shape and structure so it seems less daunting. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Establish a day to officially quit, and let your friends and family know. Emotional support is crucial.
- Set goals: what timeframe for reducing or eliminating cigarettes works for you? What does success mean for you specifically, and by how many months?
- Ask your friends and family to avoid smoking around you.
- Get rid of all cigarettes and paraphernalia, such as lighters and ashtrays.
- Stock up on oral substitutes to transfer your habit: sugarless gum, carrot sticks, toothpicks, coffee stirrers.
- Join a group support program such as Nicotine Anonymous.
- Research different types of counseling or therapies that may help.
- Consult your doctor about prescriptions that may help you reduce nicotine dependence, as well as alternative forms of nicotine to help you gradually lessen your intake.
Please consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional before stopping or starting any medications, supplements, or health regimens.