Within 12 hours after you have your last cigarette,
your body will begin to heal itself. The levels of carbon monoxide and
nicotine in your system will decline rapidly, and your heart and lungs
will begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke.
Within a few days you will probably
begin to notice some remarkable changes in your body. Your sense of
smell and taste may improve. You will breathe easier, and your smoker's
hack will begin to disappear, although you may notice that you will
continue to cough for a while. And you will be free from the mess, smell,
inconvenience, expense, and dependence of cigarette smoking.
As your body begins to repair
itself, instead of feeling better right away, you may feel worse for
a while. It's immediately after quitting, many ex-smokers experience
"symptoms of recovery" such as temporary weight gain caused by fluid
retention, irregularity, and dry, sore gums or tongue. You may feel
edgy, hungry, more tired, and more short-tempered than usual and have
trouble sleeping and notice that you are coughing a lot. These symptoms
are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful
addictive chemical. Most nicotine is gone from the body in 2-3 days.
It is important to understand that the short term-effects of quitting
are only temporary and signal the beginning of a healthier life. Now
that you've quit, you've added a number of healthy productive days to
each year of your life. Most important, you've greatly improved your
chances for a longer life. You have significantly reduced your risk
of death from heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema,
and several kinds of cancer not just lung cancer. (Cigarette smoking
is responsible every year for approximately 130,000 deaths from cancer,
170,000 deaths from heart disease, and 50,000 deaths from lung disease.)
To Stay Quit
Immediately After Quitting
Develop a clean, fresh, nonsmoking
environment around yourself at work and at home. Buy yourself flowers
you may be surprised how much you can enjoy their scent now.
The first few days after you
quit, spend as much free time as possible in places where smoking isn't
allowed, such as libraries. museums, theaters, department stores, and
Drink large quantities of water
and fruit juice (but avoid sodas that contain caffeine).
Try to avoid alcohol, coffee,
and other beverages that you associate with cigarette smoking.
Strike up conversation instead
of a match for a cigarette.
If you miss the sensation of
having a cigarette in your hand, play with something else a pencil,
a paper clip, a marble.
If you miss having something
in your mouth, try toothpicks or a fake cigarette.
Instead of smoking after meals,
get up from the table and brush your teeth or go for a walk.
If you always smoke while driving,
listen to a particularly interesting radio program or your favorite
music, or take public transportation for a while, if you can.
For the first 1-3 weeks, avoid
situations you strongly associate with the pleasurable aspects of smoking,
such as watching your favorite TV program, sitting in your favorite
chair, or having a cocktail before dinner.
Until you are confident of your
ability to stay off cigarettes, limit your socializing to healthful,
outdoor activities or situations where smoking is not allowed.
If you must be in a situation
where you'll be tempted to smoke (such as a cocktail or dinner party),
try to associate with the nonsmokers there.
Try to analyze cigarette ads
to understand how they attempt to "sell" you on individual brands.
You Get the Crazies
Keep oral substitutes handy;
try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, raisins, or sugarless
gum instead of a cigarette.
Take 10 deep breaths and hold
the last one while lighting a match. Exhale slowly and blow out the
match. Pretend it's a cigarette and crush it out in an ashtray.
Take a shower or bath if possible.
Learn to relax quickly and deeply.
Make yourself limp, visualize a soothing, pleasing situation, and get
away from it all for a moment. Concentrate on that peaceful image and
Light incense or a candle instead
of a cigarette.
Never allow yourself to think
"one won't hurt", it will.
Change your habits to make smoking
difficult, impossible or unnecessary, For example, it's hard to smoke
while you're swimming, jogging, or playing tennis or handball. When
your desire for a cigarette is intense, wash your hands or the dishes,
or try new recipes.
Do things that require you to
use your hands. Try crossword puzzles, needlework, gardening, or household
chores. Go bike riding or take the dog for a walk; give yourself a manicure;
Enjoy having a clean mouth taste
and maintain it by brushing your teeth frequently and using a mouthwash.
Stretch a lot.
Get plenty of rest.
Pay attention to your appearance.
Look and feel sharp.
Try to find time for the activities
that are the most meaningful, satisfying, and important to you.