Smoking harms nearly every part of your body, not just your lungs.
It can hurt organs like your heart and blood vessels. It also causes problems for your bones and makes it harder to have kids.
When you smoke, your blood pressure and heart rate go up. Your blood vessels get narrower. So you're way more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. Smoking also leads to lung cancer and lung diseases like COPD most of the time. 9 out of 10 lung cancer deaths are from smoking. 8 out of 10 COPD deaths are from it too.
If you're someone who smokes, chances are you've tried to quit a bunch of times before. You might feel frustrated, like you've tried everything under the sun, and nothing seems to stick. I get it - quitting smoking is really hard.
The good news is that some new, emerging methods are coming out that previous quitters couldn't access. These innovative approaches might give you a better shot at getting off cigarettes for good.
They give nicotine through a vapor rather than smoke. They aim to give the nicotine smokers crave without the harmful chemicals in cigarettes. However, researchers are still studying the long-term safety and effectiveness of quitting traditional cigarettes.
They provide controlled doses of nicotine without the other dangerous chemicals. They can help ease withdrawal symptoms so people can focus on changing their smoking behaviors.
Prescription medications such as Chantix target nicotine receptors in the brain, making cigarettes less satisfying for those taking the drugs. Studies show combining prescription pills with counseling helped 1 out of 5 smokers successfully stub out cigarettes for good.
It helps smokers identify their triggers and develop healthy coping strategies. Sharing tips and stories with others trying to quit makes them feel less alone.
Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to reframe smokers' attitudes and change ingrained behaviors. Hypnotherapists make suggestions to reduce cravings and psychological drives to smoke. Multiple sessions can significantly increase quit success rates.
Many new methods to help people quit smoking focus on assisting smokers in dealing with cravings and triggers when those hard moments of wanting a cigarette come up. They give guidance and tools to interrupt habitual thinking patterns and behaviors that often lead the person to light another cigarette.
For example, knowing your triggers, like having coffee or hanging out with friends who smoke, is essential so that you can plan ahead on other ways to cope with those moments. When a strong craving hits, focusing on delaying tactics can help you ride it out until the feeling passes, which often only takes 5-10 minutes, instead of giving in. Distracting yourself with exercise, relaxation practices, or substitutions like gum gives your mind something else to focus on.
Support networks and counseling teach smokers how to reframe the images and emotions they tie to smoking into positive reasons and benefits for quitting permanently. Whether it’s hypnosis to reshape subconscious habits or online groups to share encouragement, understanding your motivations makes it easier to resist temptation rather than just trying to deprive yourself through willpower alone.
Quitting smoking comes with lots of health perks that kick in over time. Just minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and nicotine levels start dropping. On the first day, the carbon monoxide in your blood - which stops oxygen from flowing, goes down, too.
Over the next weeks and months, you’ll probably notice less coughing and wheezing as your lungs heal. After a year, your risk for a heart attack is already much lower. Stick with it for a few more years, and your chances of heart disease and certain cancers slash in half or more compared to smokers.
After about 15 years, you hit a huge milestone – your risk for heart disease falls to the same level as someone who never smoked before! Keep going smoke-free, and after 20 years, your chances of getting certain cancers also match nonsmoker levels.
On the other side, if you continue smoking, the risks keep building up. Cigarettes make you way more likely to get all kinds of cancers down the road, like lung, mouth, and throat cancer. You’re also much more prone to stroke, lung disease, heart attacks, and other major health issues that can increase your insurance costs and cut your life short.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but don't forget that the hard work pays off in a healthier, longer-lasting you. Whether it takes trying emerging alternatives like vaping and nicotine patches or getting counseling to shift lifelong habits, millions have broken free, so you can, too.
The benefits start kicking in rapidly and continue growing as you remain smoke-free. Avoid the mounting risks to your health that come with continued cigarette use.
Remember, discovering which new approaches work best for you may take some trial and error. Setbacks happen for many previous smokers before finding their personalized success strategy. So don’t get discouraged.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.