Smoking is the most avoidable cause of illness and premature death, globally. Let that sink in for a second. Each cigarette smoked per day increases the risk of developing respiratory diseases, cancer and heart disorders. And while the number of heavy smokers has dropped in the past twenty years, recent research reveals an increasing trend in people smoking less than ten cigarettes a day. Today, 20% of the world’s population aged over fifteen consists of light, moderate or heavy smokers.
Do you sometimes think to yourself that the dangers posed by smoking are overestimated? It might sound like a story you’ve heard a million times before, but every single cigarette smoked counts. Have a look at this video or come and see for yourself at Body Worlds how tiny particles from cigarette smoke form tar deposits in the lungs. In time, they are covered in tar and turn black. If you stop smoking now, you will notice that your health improves almost immediately (depending on how much you smoke).
Motivation is essential when you decide to give up smoking. You can find out whether you are genuinely ready to take action by really considering it. Ask yourself: “Is quitting important to me?” Be as honest as possible when you answer. If the answer is “yes”, consider why it is. Keeping these reasons in mind will help to change your mindset and your behaviour. Is it because you have been advised or asked to do so by others? Or have you decided on your own to improve your health, feel better or save money?
No matter what your reasons are, experience shows that your motives to quit smoking are positively associated with your future smoking behaviour. Meaning that smokers with high levels of intrinsic motivation are more likely to successfully give up smoking for longer than those driven by extrinsic motivation. In other words, if you want to stop smoking for yourself then you are more likely to succeed. But if you do it under the pressure of your family, partner, or friends, quitting may become an overwhelming journey, until the point you will give in again.
No one says quitting smoking is easy. There are likely to be days where all you think about is how hard and frustrating it is. These feelings can become discouraging. You may feel alone in this fierce battle. That is why having social support is essential. Talk to others about how you experience this challenge and share your progress with them. This will make it easier to resist another cigarette and persist with your goals. Start by planning your anti-smoking journey. Pick a day that feels right to you and commit to it.
October could be the perfect time to stop your smoking habits. Apart from that, this month marks the start of Stoptober, an anti-smoking campaign that encourages people to stop smoking for 28 days. Why 28 days? Because research shows that is enough time to feel both the positive side effects of not smoking and most of the withdrawal symptoms will have passed. Not convinced yet? Findings show that people who participate in Stoptober are more likely to give up smoking permanently. So why not be one of them?