“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” – Mark Twain
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year. There are around one billion smokers in the world, about a seventh of the global population, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Big Tobacco undermines the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with deadly products, bad business practice, destructive environmental practices and poor labour standards.
World No Tobacco Day is held annually on 31st May. This year’s theme will focus on the impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people worldwide.
A few interesting facts about tobacco:
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- Tobacco causes almost 3 million deaths from cardiovascular disease every year
- About 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries
- Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 890,000 deaths around the world are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke
Below you will find 5 tips to help you quit smoking today:
1. Set your goals
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Set short-term quitting goals and reward yourself when you meet them. Going smoke-free will put a whole lot of cash back in your pocket. Place the money you normally spend on cigarettes in a jar. You’ll be shocked to see how much you are saving by ditching the habit. Later, spend that money on something you like.
2. Evade smoking triggers
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Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that set off your urge and make you want to smoke. Everyone has different triggers, like a stressful situation, sipping coffee, going to a party, or smelling cigarette smoke. On your quit day, try to avoid all your cravings:
- Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ash trays if you haven’t already.
- Avoid caffeine, which can make you feel jittery. Try drinking water instead.
- Spend your time with non-smokers.
3. Look after yourself
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Making good sleep, balanced meals, and staying hydrated your top priorities will make withdrawal symptoms more bearable. Being tired makes you lose focus and more likely to give in to temptation.
4. Chew on it
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Chewing is one of the best strategies to keep your cravings at bay. If your mouth is occupied, it won’t feel as strongly that it needs a cigarette inside it. Fruits are some of the best foods to consume when you quit smoking. Grapes act as natural antioxidants and reduce the toxin levels in your body, decreasing the amount of nicotine.
5. Keep yourself preoccupied
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Think about finding yourself a new and interesting hobby such as painting, pottery or creative writing to take your mind off smoking. Cooking is a good example of a hobby that utilizes your newly-improved senses of smell and taste. Exercise can also provide a dopamine release that can replace the one you used to get from cigarettes.