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If you have ever attempted to quit smoking cigarettes, you've obviously found out how difficult it can be. The famous American author, Mark Twain once quipped, "to quit smoking is one of the easiest things in the world, I must have done it over a dozen times."

Although it will take much effort and hard work on your part to quit smoking, you can do it. Or maybe you would like to consider the alternative which is nearly half of all those who don't quit smoking will die as a result of health problems that are directly related to smoking.

Research has indicated that most people who smoke want to quit. Sales of books written to help people quit smoking have soared by over 260%.

Even though we realize that it is very difficult to quit smoking you shouldn't be discouraged. Remember that millions of Americans have given up the smoking habit for good. In fact it is estimated that over 46 million Americans have quit smoking permanently.

Before you know it, after you decide to stop smoking, you can be free from smoking forever. You want to keep reminding yourself that it is never too late to kick your tobacco habit.

You May Be Wondering Where You Begin to Quit Smoking

Before you begin down the road of quitting smoking, you must first ask yourself if you really want to stop. If you can honestly answer 'yes' to this question, you are now ready to begin your journey towards becoming an ex-smoker.

As you begin your journey you will discover there are a number of ways to quit smoking and many programs available to help you quit. Keep in mind that there is no one perfect way for you to quit smoking but there will be one way or a combination of ways that are best for you.

How you are able to cope with stress when you quit smoking will profoundly affect your comfort level and your ability to remain an ex-smoker.

To help you to increase the chances of success, you may perhaps consider including medication, such as is available in a nicotine replacement therapy program for instance. However not everyone who makes the decision to quit smoking will want or need to use these certain medications.

However, although many smokers are able to quit smoking without using nicotine replacement therapy, it is found that most folks who attempt to quit without NRT may not be successful on their first attempt.

You will find that there are many stop smoking aids that can assist you with quitting smoking such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, prescription medications such as Zyban and Chantix, herbal stop smoking products, stop smoking hypnosis, and acupuncture.

Most folks who decide to quit smoking may decide to use a combination of these methods and we will discuss some of them further on.

Harmful Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking

You've heard it all before I know, smoking cigarettes is bad for you. If you didn't already know this you wouldn't be here, right?

But Just How Bad is Cigarette Smoking?

When asked why they want to quit smoking, most people stated their concerns for their health as one of the top reasons for wanting to stop smoking. Quitting your tobacco habit is singularly one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself. Your decision to stop smoking will not only improve your health but also the health of people around you.

We are all aware that smoking cigarettes can result in a large number of health problems including lung cancer. However what most folks don't realize is that smoking cigarettes is a major risk factor for many other kinds of cancers as well. These include cancer of the mouth, larynx, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, cervix, stomach, pancreas, and even some leukemias.

It is estimated that one out of every ten moderate smokers and close to one out of every five heavy smokers (exceeding 15 cigarettes a day) will die of lung cancer.

Unfortunately for men smokers, we are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared with women smokers who are 12 times more likely to develop lung cancer than are non-smokers.

Of those smokers who do develop lung cancer, men who smoke are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than those folks who do not smoke. Also lung cancer is a bigger killer of women that is breast Cancer.

And even if you survive the lung cancer for now, the surgery to remove diseased lung and the ongoing chemo treatment will not be pleasant.

And let's hope you don't live in Canada - the wait for treatment might just kill if you are needing rapid treatment.

However lung cancer is not the biggest killer of a smoker - its circulatory disease.

Smoking plays a large part in increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and various other lung diseases. Smoking has also been found to increase your risk of periodontal disease which results in swollen gums and teeth that fall out.

Smoking has also been found to increase one's risk of age related loss of vision. Smokers have a much greater likelihood of developing the eye disease called macular degeneration.

The surgeon general has for decades been reporting on the health risks that are associated with smoking. The surgeon general concluded in 1990 that quitting smoking has major and immediate help benefits for both men and women of all ages.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself to dramatically improve your life and health.

Stop Smoking Medications

The use of nicotine replacement therapy such as found in nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, or nasal sprays, can be quite helpful in your attempt to quit smoking. The inhalers and sprays are only available by prescription but the nicotine patch and gum are available without a prescription and over-the-counter at pharmacies or online.

Nicotine patches and nicotine gum help to lessen the severity and discomfort of nicotine withdrawal symptoms by controlling the release of nicotine into your body. This can help you deal with the physical component of nicotine addiction and can drastically reduce your withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine gum and nicotine patches may also enable you to control your weight as well while you are involved in your smoking cessation program as nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant. This may keep you from having to rely on a restrictive diet, appetite suppressant drugs or diet pill to help you not gain weight.

The nicotine patch is applied like a Band-Aid to your skin and slowly releases a controlled amount of nicotine into your system throughout the day. The patch can be used by folks who may have problems with gum due to dental work or may find the gum inconvenient due to school or work place restrictions.

The nicotine gum is chewed slowly to release nicotine and then placed between your cheek and gum until another nicotine urge arises. Nicotine gum can also replace some oral gratification that cigarettes may have given.

Other Quit smoking aids include Zyban (same active ingredient as Wellbutrin) which is a prescription antidepressant, bupropion hydrochloride, and is thought to work on the reward/withdraw receptors in your brain.

Another prescription stop smoking drug that has been designed exclusively as a stop smoking aid is Chantix. Chantix is not an antidepressant so is not subject to the same types of side effects.

Also some natural herbal products like the herbal patch, which works like the nicotine patch but uses herbs instead of nicotine and herbal drops which are added to water or your favorite fruit juice, have shown promise in helping to alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms, reduce your irritability, curb your hunger, and eliminate toxins from your body.

Hypnosis as an Aid to Stop Smoking

Some folks find that hypnosis or hypnotherapy can be helpful to help them stop smoking. Hypnosis is a suggestion to your subconscious mind while your body and mind are in a deep state of relaxation.

Research seems to suggest that stop smoking hypnosis can be successful in helping folks to quit smoking and if visiting a hypnotherapist seems a bit inconvenient, self hypnosis tapes and audio CDs are available online.

The Medical Hypnosis and Counseling Center believes that while not a cure all, hypnosis can play a long-term role in keeping folks away from cigarettes.

Support for Smokers Who Would Like To Become Non-Smokers

Most folks who have been successful at quitting smoking make the suggestion that you develop a network of support from friends and family. Research that has come out recently seems to suggest that continued support as well as encouragement from friends, family, and health care providers can be extremely helpful.

Studies also suggest that people will find greater success with their quit smoking efforts if they combine several stop smoking supports. As an example, gettting on board with a support group as well as perhaps using nicotine patches or gum can be quite effective. To locate support groups or a stop smoking helpline, you might want to check with the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345.

Stop Smoking and Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
While the media has long promoted the link between smoking and lung cancer, numerous other diseases are prevalent among smokers.  Heart disease is just one of the terrifying possibilities. More than 440,000 people die from smoking-related diseases every year in the US, alone.  This number does not account for the tens of thousands of others who die in other countries around the globe. What does smoking have to do with heart disease?  Can you stop smoking and reduce your risk of developing this life-threatening disorder?

Smoking is able to influence your chances of developing heart disease all by itself.  However, when added to the sedentary lifestyle most Americans have, the results can be catastrophic. Cigarette smoke has been shown to increase blood pressure, as well as increasing the clotting within your blood.  This leads to numerous problems throughout the entire body, but especially for the heart.  Smoking also decreases the body's tolerance for exercise, making you winded far sooner than a nonsmoker.  This helps increase any sedentary habits.  If you stop smoking today, you can help ensure you live a long, healthy life.

In addition, women using oral birth control pills are at incredible risks of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attack, heart disease and stroke from cigarette smoke.  Cigarette smoke has also been shown to decrease the amount of good cholesterol in your body, helping bad cholesterol to build up on the walls of your arteries, increasing blood pressure and the chance of heart attack.

Even second hand smoke can greatly increase the chance of developing heart disease in those around you.  Thus, that pleasurable habit may be killing the ones you love. It seems a very high price to pay for the pleasure of a single cigarette.  Even pipes and cigars seem to damage the body, though cigarettes are the deadliest.  While lung cancer may lead to a drawn out, painful death, dying by inches, as it were, heart disease can be just as terrible.

If you stop smoking today, you can avoid a hideous fate.  Heart disease, peripheral artery disease, hypertension and other related disorders can cause you to be short tempered, reduce your enjoyment of life, even limit your mobility, keeping you bound to your home.  Heart disease is a slow, wasting process, just like lung cancer, but the signs can be less obvious – though no less horrifying.

How to Help Someone Quit Smoking

Have you ever wondered how to help someone quit smoking? If you’ve never had to experience this yourself, it can be difficult to understand why someone wouldn’t just stop doing something that they know is unhealthy for them.
Even if you have been through it yourself, it’s important to know that each person handles the situation differently. Smoking for them may mean something different than it did for them or they may need a different approach to be able to stop.
To know how to help someone quit smoking will require some research on your own. It’s important to be compassionate and understanding but also to realize that you can never fully understand 100% what the other person is going through. Don’t try to tell them that you know what they’re going through. This will only make the person irritated.
Here are some tips to help someone quit smoking:
  • Don’t expect them to be able to quit all at once
  • Provide encouragement even when they cut back
  • Boost confidence and show you have faith in them
  • Sit in non-smoking sections if you go out
  • Help them form an exercise regime- exercise together
  • Offer small rewards to show you recognize their efforts to stop
  • Avoid telling them you know how it feels
  • Be there if they need to talk
  • Offer distractions to fill empty time when they made be encouraged to smoke
  • Ask them for ways you can help support them
When a person is trying to quit smoking, it can be discouraging and frustrating. Your motivation and support can be the one thing they need to help them get through this very difficult and trying time.
If you want to help someone you know or care about quit smoking, this is a very important thing to do. We all know about the serious health risks of smoking and how difficult it can be to stop on your own.
You may be the one thing this person needed to help them get through this experience and become smoke-free once and for all.

There are many benefits to stopping smoking. These benefits are the reason why you should stop smoking. They wont in themselves help you stop smoking but they will provide you with motivation to go on and learn how to stop smoking successfully.

Stop smoking benefits:--

 #1: Your blood is partially 'disabled' by cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide, a lethal gas found in every cigarette you smoke binds to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells. The carbon monoxide locks the red blood cell and stops it from being able to carry oxygen around your body. Smoking knocks out about 15% of your blood's oxygen carrying capacity. When you stop smoking, your body will repair your blood and it will be back to normal within 2 days!

#2: Cigarette smoke and the cocktail of 3,500 chemicals found in it, have damaged nerves throughout your body. Within 2 days your body will start to re-grow these damaged nerves. Your sense of taste and smell will sharpen. You will not need to salt your food as heavily as you used to.

#3: Smokers are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure. When you stop smoking, your blood pressure will come down without any other intervention just from stopping smoking. High blood pressure is known as the 'silent killer' that often goes unnoticed in people of middle age. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and can result in an enlarged heart and heart disease. It is advisable to ask you doctor for a blood pressure check the next time you see them.

#4: 90% of all lung cancer sufferers are smokers. The vast majority of smokers stop smoking the minute they are diagnosed with lung cancer, proving that quitting is possible. 10 years after quitting smoking, your risk of lung cancer will have halved.

#5: Naturally, inhaling hot toxic gasses into your lungs 20 times a day causes considerable damage. Most significantly, smoking is a major contributor in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. COPD includes such illnesses as bronchitis (the inflammation of the lung bronchioles (tubes)) and emphysema. Emphysema is when your lung tissues lose their elasticity and you cannot breath normally. Death from emphysema comes in the form of a slow and utterly debilitating suffocation over the course of a few years. It is irreversible and incurable.

#6: Between 5 and 15 years after quitting smoking, your risk of a stroke will have returned to that of a non-smoker (depending upon other influencing factors such as diet).

#7: On average, smokers die between 8 and 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Stopping smoking even in middle age can reduce the risks of ill health significantly and there are always benefits in stopping smoking, no matter what your age.

#8: After years of smoking, you will have suffered from a chronic cough. Between 3 and 12 months after stopping smoking, this cough should have disappeared.

#9: Within 3 months of stopping smoking, your circulation should have improved significantly. If you used to suffer from 'pins and needles', they should be a thing of the past now. Your risk of heart attack will have reduced significantly.

#10: Not only can you smell better you do smell better too! Your general odour will be much more pleasant to those around you.