Updated: May 6
Smoking-related diseases are responsible for over 443,000 deaths in the United States every year. This number includes people who are also affected indirectly such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and individuals of secondhand smoke exposure.
Smoking is expensive. Not only does it take money from your wallet, but it also cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004 from lost in productivity and direct health care expenditures. That number has only gone up in the past ten years. Cigarette smoking has been identified as one of the top sources of preventable diseases and premature death worldwide. According to the American Lung Association, more than 8.6 million people in the United States have at least one serious smoking-related illness. To put that number into perspective, for every one person who dies from a smoking-related disease, an additional 20 people suffer from at least one serious smoking-related illness. Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 different chemicals with 69 of them known to cause cancer. About 90% of lung cancer deaths and about 80%-90% of COPD deaths are attributed to smoking. Smokers on average die between 13 and 14 years younger than nonsmokers. Are you scared yet? Chances are you have tried quitting smoking before. If so, then you’re not alone. Of the 46.6 million smokers in 2009, 46.7% of them stopped smoking for at least one day in attempt to quit smoking completely. Quitting smoking often requires multiple attempts and various methods to become affective and permanent. Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug, but it’s possible to break the habit. Just ask the 40 million former smokers in the United States! Let’s examine some ways to help you break your habit this year.
Tips and Tricks to Curb the Smoking Habit for Good
Check your health insurance for smoking cessation coverage
Currently, some health insurance plans will have a higher premium for smokers, however, with the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) laws coming into play this year, no one knows for sure how the rates will change over the next few years.
Most health insurance plans offer tobacco cessation treatment options. The options vary widely according to the type of insurance and may change as well in the coming year due to the ACA. Medicare, which covers people over the age of 65, covers several medications and counseling for two quit attempts per year. Medicaid varies per state, but is required to cover tobacco cessation treatment for pregnant women in 2014.
Quitting smoking often takes multiple attempts
Don’t get frustrated if you can’t go cold turkey on the first attempt. Millions of people require several attempts before they can finally kick the bad habit for good. It takes on average 7-9 attempts before truly quitting. Nicotine is extremely addictive and many people often return to smoking because of the withdrawal symptoms. There are many different methods to quit smoking so talk to your health care provider for the method that might be best for you. If the first method didn’t work, try something different. Don’t give up!
Find the tobacco cessation method that works best for you
We all know someone who quit smoking by just going cold turkey one day. It takes a very special person to do that. If that’s not you, that’s okay. Almost everyone needs a little help so don’t be afraid to ask. Some people have success with over-the-counter or prescription nicotine replacement products. Others might find individual, group, or telephone counseling more helpful. Some people benefit from multiple methods at once.
Find the inspiration you need to quit
Many former smokers will tell you they quit smoking for good because of a health scare or for a family member. We all have our reasons. Find that inspiration for you. Maybe it’s for your health so you can be around to see your children grow up. Perhaps you saw your mother suffer from lung cancer. Whatever your reason, write it down, look at it every day, and every time you feel the need to light up, remember that reason.
Find a support system
Tell your friends, family, and coworkers that you are trying to quit smoking. Ask for their support. If your friends or family members are smokers too, ask them to not smoke around you. Smoking is often associated with social activities. Find ways to be social without the need to smoke. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for the support you need.
Remove all things that remind you of smoking and find a “replacement” activity
As truck drivers you often smoke in your trucks while driving. Remove all things that remind you of smoking, such as ashtrays. Clean out your cab and try to get rid of the cigarette smoke smell so you don’t trigger the craving. Many drivers smoke out of boredom. Find something to replace the activity. Try snacking on healthy snacks like fresh fruits or vegetables. Listen to books on tape or something that takes your mind off of smoking.
Wrapping it up
Quitting smoking may take you multiple times so don’t get frustrated. Nicotine is addictive so ask for help if you need it. The American Lung Association and the CDC both have excellent online sources of information on how to quit smoking. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for phone counseling and help. Let’s quit smoking for good and take your health back for you and your family!
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/militaryhealth/