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Quitting Smoking: Why You Should Keep Trying

quit smoking

Overview

When people are trying to break an addiction like smoking, they often see repeated failures as a sign that they will never succeed. In reality, the opposite is true. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), many ex-smokers fail multiple times in their efforts to quit before they finally succeed.

Even if you've tried to quit again and again, it is worth it to keep trying. The NCI reports that most people slip up within the first few months of trying to quit, so this is the time when you are most vulnerable. But don't despair — each time you try to quit is an opportunity for success. If you start to feel frustrated, just remind yourself of the many reasons why you shouldn't give up.

1. Smoking causes disease

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking is harmful to almost every organ in your body. Because of this, smoking often leads to disease and illness. It’s been linked to heart disease and lung cancer. It’s also been linked with many other cancers, including cancer of the kidneys, bladder, pancreas, and stomach.

2. Smoking is deadly

Nearly one in five deaths each year is caused by tobacco use, according to the CDC. In fact, more people die every year from cigarette smoking than from drug and alcohol use, car accidents, HIV, murder, and suicide combined. About 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and women are from smoking.

3. Smoking affects reproduction

When you smoke, you put yourself at higher risk of many adverse health effects, including reproductive problems. Smokers have a greater chance of infertility, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. And their babies have greater change of low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than nonsmokers’ babies do. The NCI also reports that babies born to mothers who smoke are more likely to have learning problems.

4. Smoking hurts quality of life

Nonsmokers enjoy many advantages over smokers, from whiter teeth and healthier gums to breathing easier and coughing less. Smoking may negatively affect your energy levels, ability to focus, and physical fitness. By quitting, you'll be a better role model for your friends and family, especially your kids. You'll have more money to spend on healthier pursuits and you'll feel more in control of your life. Food will taste and smell better, and you will smell better too!

Be persistent

Most people try to quit smoking many times before they succeed. It's challenging to break a nicotine addiction, but it can be done. Most cigarette-related cravings go away within a few months of quitting.

Don't get discouraged if you slip up. A setback doesn't mean failure, but rather offers a chance to look for your triggers. Try to avoid them. Adjust your activities and routines if necessary. When you remind yourself of the many rewards that await you when you finally succeed, you'll know that your persistence is worth it.

Stay positive, acknowledge the setback, and keep trying. Eventually, you will get off the quitting treadmill so that you can enjoy a smoke-free life.

15 tips from others who quit successfully »

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