For many, a New Years resolution to quit smoking can be a path to a much healthier year, and a much longer life. But there are some dangers associated with quitting, including an increased risk of diabetes brought on by rapid weight gain, as found in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Other potential health pitfalls when someone stops smoking include depression, stress and withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some ways to quit smoking safely and effectively:
Watch Your Weight after Quitting Smoking
Swift weight gain after quitting cigarettes has been linked to increased health risks, including the development of diabetes. Developing a healthy eating and exercise plan before quitting can help blunt the effects of increased appetite caused by stopping smoking. Those interested in stopping smoking should consult a doctor or nutritionist before quitting in order to make a plan for how to handle the potential weight gain.
How to Quit Smoking and Plan Ahead for Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine is addictive, and withdrawal symptoms can hinder efforts to quit smoking. Quitters who plan ahead find it easier to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gums, can help mitigate the physical withdrawal symptoms. For psychological difficulties in quitting, many try replacement activities, including exercising, taking a warm bath, chewing on a straw or immersing themselves in a distracting hobby like needlework.
Get Support to Stop Smoking
Support from family and friends can be invaluable when someone is trying to quit smoking, but those aren’t the only places to find support. Many cities and states have telephone programs to help people learn how to quit smoking. These programs use trained counselors to encourage and support the quitter and can give advice or answer questions about anything involved in the process of ending cigarette addiction.
Nicotene anonymous groups, which are modeled after alcoholics anonymous programs, are another place to find support for those trying to stop smoking.
Ways to Quit Smoking Include Nicotine Replacement Products and Other Stop Smoking Treatments
Nicotine replacement products can help reduce the cravings for cigarettes as well as fill some of the psychological need left when people give up smoking. These products come in a variety of forms, including gum, patches, inhalers, nicotine lozenges and nasal sprays.
Prescription medications to reduce nicotine cravings and help prevent mental symptoms include Bupropion, Varenicline and Nortriptyline.
Other methods and treatments people use to try stopping smoking include hypnosis, acupuncture, herbal remedies and electronic cigarettes.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking successfully without any help. But those who plan ahead and use a combination of physical and mental methods to help them quit have a much higher – and healthier – success rate.