Mark a date on the calendar to quit smoking

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at some benefits of quitting smoking, for example, to save more money, have more energy and breath to keep up with our nieces and nephews, or cut our risks of heart disease and diabetes.

You’re convinced of the health benefits and that quitting’s the right way to go, but you’re not sure if you can make it. Or you may want to know what happens after you stop smoking before you set a quit date. We’re here to help!

This week, we bust some myths that may have been causing you to have second thoughts about stubbing out.

When Trying to Quit Smoking...

Myth #1: It’s too late to quit, the damage is done.

Not true! It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whether you’ve smoked for decades or months, and no matter your age, quitting will improve your health and decrease your risks of developing certain diseases.

Will your body heal after you quit? Yes! In fact, you’ll feel better just eight hours after you put out your last cigarette, as the carbon monoxide level and oxygen level in your blood return to normal. And within two short days, your risk of a heart attack is reduced. Within three months of being smoke-free, your blood pressure returns to normal.

Related: Quit Smoking Tips for People with Diabetes

Myth #2: I can escape the risks by smoking less.

Will cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke help prevent diseases like diabetes and lung cancer? No. There is no safe amount of exposure to cigarette smoking — one cigarette is still one too many.

If you are thinking of reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke, make it a goal to gradually work towards zero!

Related: Smoking Increases Your Risk of Diabetes

Myth #3: Failing to quit once means you’ll never succeed.

Not true! Most smokers take more than six attempts to quit successfully[1] and stay smoke-free, so don’t give up! Treat your attempts as “practice rounds” and learn from what went wrong. Then use this knowledge to give it another try. You can also look for nicotine replacement therapy products to help increase your chances of quitting successfully.

Related: Help Someone Quit Smoking

What Will Happen After You Quit Smoking?

Myth #4: Quitting will cause me to be moody and irritable.

True, quitting could cause us to experience withdrawal symptoms like moodiness and irritability. Don’t worry, they’re normal signs that your body is recovering from the harmful effects of smoking, and they last only a short while.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are usually worse in the first week, and they often disappear after the first two to three weeks when the feeling of wellbeing starts to kick in.

Related: Weather the Withdrawal

Myth #5: I will gain weight after quitting.

Not everyone will gain weight after stubbing out, so don’t fret too much about gaining a “spare tire” in the long term.

The reason some of us might put on weight is that our sense of taste and smell recovers after we quit smoking, so food might seem yummier and we might eat more than usual.

Still concerned? You can do something to prevent weight gain after quitting, for example, by eating healthier and moving more. Good thing we can enjoy lighter, lower-calorie dishes like yong tau foo and steamed fish with our recovered sense of taste!

Related: Weigh to Go! Quit Smoking Without Weight Gain

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice and products that can help you quit.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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References

  1. Chaiton, M., Diemaert, L., Cohen, J. E., Bondy, S. J., Selby, P., Philipneri, A., et al. (2016, Jun 9). Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers. BMJ Open, 6(6), e011045.
    Retrieved October 2017 from http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e011045