Tobacco is consistently the leading risk factor for preventable cancers- 90 percent of lung cancers are associated with tobacco use. According to the World Health Organization, it causes 22 percent of global cancer deaths every year. Besides lung cancer, tobacco has also been linked as a risk factor for colorectal, liver, oral, prostate, cervical cancers and heart disease, such as COPD. Today is World Tobacco Day and a great day to encourage tobacco users in your life to finally kick the habit.
Here are some tips to help you quit:
- Write a list of reasons why you want to stop
Keep the note where you would have a pack of cigarettes. When you are tempted to smoke, instead you will have your reminders why you quit.
- Set a date for stopping
Research has shown that it is best to stop smoking immediately. Gradually cutting down on smoking encourages people to smoke more of each cigarette, keeping the nicotine levels about the same.
- Tell your friends and family you’re quitting
People will offer you support and hold you accountable. If you know other smokers, encourage them to quit with you- a team effort may be easier.
- Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms
When you stop smoking, symptoms can include nausea, headaches, anxiety and irritability. They tend to peak after 12-24 hours and will gradually ease over 2-4 weeks. Drink a lot of fruit juice during the first week. It will help get the nicotine out of your system.
- Get rid of all ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes
- Avoid situations that make you want to smoke
Drinking alcohol is often associated with failing to quit smoking. Change your routine if certain behaviors tempt you to smoke.
- Be positive
Take one day at a time and mark them off on a calendar. If you fail, learn from that experience to make it easier next time. Today is the day. Quit smoking or help a loved one finally make the change.
- Reward yourself
Put the money that you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar. At milestones (1mo, 6mo, 1year) go buy yourself a present with the money you’ve saved.
Join the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the World Health Organization in recognizing World No Tobacco Day. Get involved on social media using the hashtag #NoTobacco and #PreventCancer to help spread the word. Be an advocate to help Stop Cancer Before It Starts!™