From scar tissue—caused by inflammation in the airways and tissues of your lungs—to emphysema to cilia (respiratory infections), long-term lung damage brought on from smoking is a serious blow to the body. And smoking also causes other harmful effects that can damage almost every organ in the body.
Have you asked anyone who used to smoke if it was difficult for them to quit? If so, you probably heard, “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Nicotine—a chemical in cigarettes—is one reason why it’s so hard to quit. When you try and quit smoking, you crave nicotine because your body is used to it.
Whether you are a smoker who is trying to quit, or you know someone who is trying to quit, here are some ways to help keep cravings at bay and help you on your journey to a healthier life:
- Avoid spending too much time with other smokers. If possible, let your friends who smoke know that you need to take a short break from them so you can help yourself to form a healthy no smoking habit.
- Spend more time at smoke-free places, like movie theatres, restaurants, etc.
- Start an exercise program. For many people, exercising makes them want to keep their bodies in the healthiest state possible, that means no smoking and better eating choices.
- Buy a journal. Every time you crave a cigarette, write about what you’re feeling and the reasons why you want to quit smoking.
- Calculate how much money you spent monthly on cigarettes. Write it down on a Post-It and stick it on your fridge. Use the money from not buying cigarettes for a vacation fund or for a treat fund for something you’ve been wanting to buy yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up if you are trying to quit smoking and you have cravings. Quitting smoking is hard, and you should be proud of yourself for your decision and reasons to quit.