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Smoking cessation - Strategies to quit smoking - Lebanon

Smoking Cessation

No wonder smoking cessation may bring in many health benefits, but quitting is a difficult and prolonged process. People find it hard to quit smoking when they become regular smokers. The main reason being the high amounts of nicotine present in tobacco that causes addiction and make you crave more for it. It is important to know that smoking has health hazards that may show up over time. It is always a wise decision to quit smoking for enjoying a better health. Here is all you need to know about smoking, health benefits of quitting and how to do it.

What makes you smoke?

In spite of knowing the dangers of smoking on health, people are unable to quit. This is simply because of nicotine dependence, which is as strong as addiction to alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. If you do not stop in time, you are likely to become dependent and lose the power to think in the right way. With nicotine dependence, you may find yourself craving for it too often. When trying to withdraw, you may experience stress, anxiety and anger. It may also bring trouble in thinking and make you gain more weight. All these withdrawal symptoms may make people start smoking again even if they successfully stop.

Therefore, if you are trying to quit but finding it hard, you are not alone. It is essential to understand that smoking cessation is difficult and will not happen in a day, but understanding the benefits of quitting will increase your willpower to stay away from it. Whether you are a casual smoker or smoke cigarettes too often, you must consider quitting for good.

Health benefits of quitting cigarettes.

It is a known fact that cigarette smoking increase the risk of cancer and takes a toll on many lives every year. Tobacco has thousands of deadly chemicals that deposit in your body and brings irreversible changes. Breathing tobacco smoke as second-hand smoker may also prove to be harmful to people around. Studies show that there is a hazardous mix of 7000 chemicals that are considered bad for health. Cessation can be beneficial in following ways:


1- Improves blood pressure and heart rate

Smoking may cause a higher heart rate and high blood pressure. Studies reveal that quitting normalizes the heart rate, lowers the blood pressure 20-30 minutes after quitting, and improves cardiovascular health in a long run. One year of smoking cessation may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease to half as compared to smokers. If you quit smoking for as long as 5 years, it may help in decreasing the risk of deadly heart-conditions like stroke largely.


2- Reduces respiratory problems.

The harmful chemicals present in tobacco may cause degradation of the respiratory tract and reduce the efficiency of lungs. Lung functioning is known to improve in 2-10 weeks after quitting. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to quit for those who are regular smokers. Cessation of cigarettes also eliminates shortness of breath and other respiratory problems like asthma. Once you stop smoking, you will find it easier to perform light household works and climbing stairs without any shortness of breath.


3- Prevents Cancer

Smoking may increase the risk of cancer in many parts of the body including mouth, throat, lungs, bladder and pancreas. In many cases, cancer of the cervix is also seen. Quitting eliminates such risks and promotes a better health.


4- Improves fertility

Cigarette smoking may cause infertility in women of childbearing age. You may find difficulty in conceiving or carrying the child to full term. In some cases, smoking during pregnancy may lead to a low weight of the baby at birth.

Besides the above health benefits, you may also experience a higher sense of taste and smell and will enjoy food more. Yellowing of fingers and bad breath is also eliminated as soon as you quit.

How to Create a Smoking Cessation Plan

Even though quitting tobacco seems hard for many, most people are able to do it. If done in the right way, you can easily manage the stress and anxiety related with smoking and prepare yourself for the big change. It may take longer than usual to completely quit and may depend from person to person. The first step to smoking cessation is to think about it. If you are thinking since a long time to quit, you are actually ready for it. There is never too late. Start as soon as possible but give enough time to yourself to bear the change. Know that it is going to bring positive changes to you and your loved one’s life. Here is an easy-to-follow plan that will help you quit in the best possible way.


1- Select a day to quit smoking:

You cannot quit smoking without selecting a day for it. It is best to pick up a day in the coming week. This will help you to get some time to think of quitting and how you would manage the day. You may also choose a special day like a birthday or some other, but make sure it is not too far.


2- Involve others:

Ask your friends and family for support. Tell them that you have decided your quit day and take their help to stay away for tobacco on that day. Ask them to keep you engaged or stop you from smoking if anything triggers it. You may also take help from smoking cessation programs available in your locality where you can meet like-minded people and do not feel alone.


3- Avoid triggers

The best way to prevent yourself from the urge to smoke is to avoid any trigger. Throw away your cigarettes and hide your ashtray so it does not remind you of smoking. Hang out in a place where smoking is prohibited or go for a picnic with non-smokers. Also, eat healthy food and avoid caffeine.


4- Change your routine

A change in your everyday routine may also help you quit for a day. Keep busy by completing pending works or involve in something that keeps your mind diverted. In this way, you will think less of cigarette and stay away from it.


5- Stay motivated

Staying motivated will help you to keep up with the good work. Quitting for even a day can be the first step to smoking cessation. Once you succeed in keeping cigarettes away for a day, plan more quit-days and gradually increase the number.

In addition to the above ways to stop smoking, you may also take help from over the counter or prescribed medication that promotes smoking cessation. Remember, it may take some time to quit but a firm determination and a little effort may go a long way in promoting a better health.

Author Info

Dr Nagi Safa

Dr Nagi Safa is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeon (Weight-Loss Surgeon) at the Advanced BMI in Lebanon and at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, and holds an academic appointment at the University of Montreal. Furthermore, he is involved in the training of residents and surgical fellows on how to perform advanced laparoscopic obesity surgery. In 2010, he launched the Advanced Bariatric and Metabolic Institute (Advanced BMI) in Lebanon, and has been helping hundreds of patients from all over the Middle-East through his expertise in obesity surgery. Education: Dr Safa completed his residency training at the University of Montreal General Surgery Program. He then performed a fellowship in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and Minimal Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery), at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, which is the largest Weight Loss Surgery center in the Montreal area, and one of the busiest in Canada. Experience: During his training, and throughout his practice, Dr Safa performed more than one thousand laparoscopic procedures, including Roux en Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, gastric plication and many other abdominal surgery procedures. He has a particular interest in LaparoscopicRevisional Surgery including banding, bypass and sleeve. With a keen interest in the advancement of obesity surgery and newer minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr Safa gained experience in the single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), and offers Single Incision gastric banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery. Research: His current research interests include clinical outcomes from various bariatric surgery procedures and investigations on the impact of bariatric surgery on Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome X. Memberships: Dr Safa holds professional memberships with the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, Canadian Association of General Surgeons, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association for Surgical Oncology, Quebec Medical Association, Trauma Association of Canada, Association Quebecoise de Chirurgie, International College of Surgeon, and the College des Medecins du Quebec.