With rising cigarette prices and less smoker-friendly venues, there is no time like the present to quit smoking. More people are putting out their cigarettes for good, and this decade marks the first time since the 1960’s that less than 20% of Americans are smoking.
Cigarettes are connected with about one in five deaths each year in the United States. This is more than the total for HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and murders combined! Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic, and roughly 70 of which are known to cause cancer. This means that not only is cigarette smoking dangerous for the smoker, it also can be deadly for loved ones who inhale all those secondhand toxic chemicals.
Insurance companies are not naïve about the risks associated with smoking. The average smoker will pay at least 40% more for life insurance coverage than non-smokers. Some policies are even less lenient, upping the cost by as much as 55%.
So what is a smoker to do? There are a variety of helpful ways to quit smoking, and unfortunately there is not one method that is guaranteed for everyone.
One method puts a stop to “smoky thinking,” which can help to attack all those automatic thoughts that help perpetuate the drive to take a puff. For example, it is known that cravings and urges lessen with time despite how intense they feel in the moment and our bodies begin to heal immediately after we extinguish our last cigarette, even though it might seem like the damage is already done.
Some people opt for hypnosis, although about one in four people are unable to be hypnotized, and there is still debate on the effectiveness of this method as a long term solution for quitting. Success might depend on the power of your own mind and your predisposition to believe in this particular method.
There are also a variety of medications such as nicotine patches or gum that have been shown to help when used as prescribed. They are geared toward lessening the physical cravings associated with cigarette smoking, and recommended dosages vary depending upon your average cigarette use.
Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that the initial discomfort will outweigh the long term benefits to quitting, for you, your loved ones, your pocketbook, and your peace of mind.