ately, the whites of my eyes were back
to normal in about three weeks, the
coughing subsided and after about a
month, I could run up the stairs again.”
After two months, friends began
remarking on her radiant skin; still later,
her teeth began looking less stained.
Plus she was no longer spending $350a month on smokes, or making impulsebuys prompted by frequent trips tothe store.
In the past, Knecht would light a
cigarette as a reward for a job done.
After quitting, she pooled her firstmonths’ unspent dollars for a dreamtrip to New York City. “Giving yourselfrewards is hugely important in thoseearly months,” she says.
Three years later, Knecht fends offthe occasional “it sure would be nice tosmoke” moment with the mantra thathas become her safety net: I’m a puffaway from a pack a day.
“I would rather send off those thoughtsfor the rest of my life than ever haveto quit again. The power nicotine hason you is incredible; it controlled everywaking moment of my day. I am sopleased to take that power back.”— Cheryl Mahaffy
IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES:
QUIT SMOKING AIDS
Tobacco cessation medications relieve nicotine cravings and withdrawal
symptoms. Used by nearly half of smokers who try to quit, such medications
are more effective when combined with counselling and/or support groups.
Nicotine replacement therapy. Patches, gum, mouth spray, lozenges and
inhalers that contain lower amounts of nicotine than cigarettes, chewing
tobacco or snuff. Available without prescription, they can meet immediate
urges and double smokers’ chances of success.
Prescription withdrawal medications. Options include bupropion (sold asZyban® and Wellbutrin®), an antidepressant that can make it easier to quit;and varenicline tartrate (Champix®), which binds to the nicotine receptorsin the brain to reduce cravings and make smoking less enjoyable. Clinicallyproven to triple and even quadruple quit smoking rates, they do not workfor everyone.
Other stop-smoking aids such as hypnosis, acupuncture and laser therapy
seem to work for some but aren’t yet scientifically proven to be effective. Health
experts warn against e-cigarettes, which are unproven and may be harmful.
SOURCES: albertaquits.ca, lung.ca and the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey
TAKE FIVE: TIPS FOR QUITTING
Pulling free from tobacco’s grip is no small feat. Here are five strategies thathave worked for many others.
1. List the reasons why you want to quit. The longer your list and the strongeryour desire, the higher your odds of success.
2. Enlist support. Talk to your family, friends, colleagues, coffee mates, sportbuddies, doctor, pharmacist, Alberta Quits (1-866-710-QUIT) and anyone elsewho can help.
3. Set, plan, act. Set a quit day and back it up with a plan. Use at least twoproven quit-smoking methods, such as a support group, counselling, onlinehelp, medications and/or nicotine replacement. Sign up, set the date, clear awaysmoking clutter, and stock up on water, gum and whatever else you’ll need.
4. Minimize triggers. Track your smoking patterns, identify when you cravecigarettes and have strategies for dealing with those situations in other ways.
One easy-to-remember list:
Delay. Cravings usually go away within 10 minutes.
Distract. Learn guitar, take up knitting, put up a greenhouse, or experimentin the kitchen. Find new interests to keep your hands, mind and mouth busy.
Deep breathe. Relax and focus your mind on something else.
Drink water. Flush the bad stuff out of your system while keeping yourhands and mouth busy. And while you’re at it, eat healthy.
Do something. Walk, run, bike or swim. As little as five minutes of physicalactivity can reduce your desire to smoke.
5. Quit—and believe it. Think of yourself as a non-smoker and celebrate everysuccess. If you slip up, don’t think you’ve failed. Learn the lesson and try,try again.
SOURCES: Alberta Quits, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Nearly half of Canada’s smokerstry to quit each year, many morethan once. Younger smokers aremost likely to make the attempt.Cutting back is the mostcommon strategy for quitting,used in more than two-thirdsof attempts, and rising.
About one-quarter of tobacco
users have tried to quit by
making a deal with a friend
or family member.
SOURCE: C TUMS