<p>Every smoker knows how difficult it can be to quit smoking. Nicotine, the drug found in tobacco, is highly addictive and without any intervention, the chances of successfully quitting are low. However, with the right approach and support, it is possible to overcome tobacco cravings, quit smoking, and never pick a cigarette again. Millions of people around the world are testament to that. </p><p>Quitting tobacco use means seizing control of your life away from the cigarette and back into your own hands. There are immediate health benefits to quitting tobacco, such as heart rate and blood pressure dropping to normal levels and improved lung functionality. Long-term benefits include increased life expectancy and reduced risk of cancer. </p><p>While it is important to get professional help to control your smoking urges, you can begin your journey by taking a few simple steps. </p><p><strong>1. Pick a quit date.</strong> Select the day on which you will stop smoking, preferably 2-4 weeks in advance. It can be the start of the week or any other regular day of your life. Mark it on your calendar and set reminders on your phone. This can be an empowering first step to take.</p><p><strong>2. Start getting rid of all your cigarettes. </strong>Before your quit date arrives, start gradually decreasing your daily tobacco use. If you smoke ten cigarettes a day, go down to nine then six and so on until you are ready to get rid of them all. </p><p><strong>3. Identify your triggers.</strong> Tracking your daily tobacco use can help you prepare for your quit day. Make a list of every scenario that leads you to smoke, such as driving, taking a break from work, after a meal, when you're feeling stressed or bored, etc. Then next to each trigger, write down an alternate activity you can do instead, such as drinking tea or coffee after a meal, going for a walk or exercising when feeling stressed, etc. </p><p><strong>4. Wash your clothes and clean out your car.</strong> The smell of tobacco can linger on your clothes or in places you regularly smoke, such as your car, which might trigger you into smoking again. Make sure your daily-wear clothes are washed and dry-cleaned, and your car is cleaned as well. </p><p><strong>5. Replace your cigarettes with something else</strong>. As you start decreasing your tobacco use and eventually throw away your cigarettes, make sure you have alternatives on hand. These can include carrot sticks, sugar-free candies or gum, lollipops, and toothpicks. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water as well to flush out the nicotine. </p><p>Using these steps, write down a plan for yourself and get a friend, family member, or health consultant to make sure you are on track. The journey to quitting tobacco should not be a solitary one so ensure you are surrounded by a good support system, who can celebrate every milestone along with you. </p><p>Quitting an addiction is not a simple one-way journey; one can expect dips and roadblocks along the way. What matters is that even if you make a mistake and pick up a cigarette again, you don't give up on your plan to quit smoking and continue trying. Staying consistent and determined will be your key assets in becoming tobacco-free. </p><p>According to WHO, a smoker's chances of quitting successfully can more than double with professional intervention and proven medications that can treat nicotine withdrawals. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:</p><ul><li>Headaches </li><li>Feelings of anger, irritability, anxiety, depression</li><li>Lack of energy</li><li>Increased hunger</li><li>Difficulty concentrating </li></ul><p>Remember these symptoms are manageable and will ultimately pass. For professional support to help you quit smoking, visit the AKUH Smoking Cessation Clinic where you will be provided with a health assessment, a plan on quitting tobacco based on expert advice, and cessation medications for those who need them. </p><p>It's time to begin your journey to a long, active, healthy life.
</p><p><strong>For further support:</strong></p><p><a href="/pakistan/patients-families/health-packages/Documents/Health%20Screening%20Package%20For%20Smokers.pdf">Health Screening Package for Smokers</a></p><p><a href="/pakistan/quit-to-win/Documents/How%20To%20Quit%20Smoking%2018%20May%2017%20-%20English.pdf">Detailed Step-by-Step Guide to Quit Smoking</a>