Congratulations. The fact that you’re reading this article indicates your willingness to explore stopping smoking. Did you know there are now more ex-smokers than current smokers?
And did you know that the more cigarettes you smoke, the higher your risk for type 2 diabetes? In fact, smokers are 30 to 40 percent more at risk than nonsmokers, reports the Centers for Disease Control. If you already have diabetes, smoking puts you at risk for the most serious complications of the disease. To keep The Beast away for good, quit smoking.
Lowering your risk of diabetes is just one of the many rewards of giving up cigarettes. You will also reduce your risk of cancer, heart, and lung disease — right from the moment you stop. Within the first 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your blood pressure will begin to drop. Within one day, the carbon monoxide levels in your body will return to normal. Within one week, you will be at less risk of having a heart attack. And food will taste better as your sense of smell and taste improve with every passing day.
Make a plan
Keep track of what works best for you — and stick to your plan until the craving to smoke is gone for good. Here’s how:
1. Talk to your doctor
Contact your healthcare provider and set an appointment to discuss your intention to quit. Your provider can discuss a personalized quit plan, including potential medication therapy, that can support your quitting tobacco use for good.
2. Pick a quit date
Sooner is better than later, so choose a day within the next two weeks. Let your family and loved ones know your quit date and how they can help you.
3. Write three lists
- List all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Keep it where you can read it every day.
- List all times, places, and reasons you crave a cigarette. These are your triggers, and they may be activities, feelings, or people. Knowing them can help you avoid or prepare for them.
- List things to try whenever you crave a cigarette. These can be as simple as deep breathing, going for a walk, drinking a glass of water, calling a friend, and re-reading your list of reasons for quitting. Technology is here to help, too, with these tools from smokefree.gov:
- Smokefree TXT: A text messaging service that sends 3 to 5 helpful messages a day.
- Quitlines: If you want to talk to a quit-smoking counselor right away, call 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669).
- Quit-smoking apps: Mobile phone apps can help you prepare to quit, provide support, and track your progress.
4. Remove reminders
Remove reminders of smoking — cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters — from your home, work, and car. And remove yourself from second-hand smoke environments.
5. Be prepared
When you stop smoking, your body will need to adjust to no longer having nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes. You may feel irritable or have a headache on the third day after your last cigarette, when your body no longer has any nicotine in it. Include in your plan how to combat these symptoms . With each passing smoke-free day, withdrawal symptoms will fade.
6. Know that slips may happen
It’s just part of the process of quitting an addiction. If you smoke, go back to your plan. Think about what happened when you slipped. Is there another way you can counteract that craving when it happens again in a similar moment? And ask for help. While quitting smoking is your decision, you do not have to go it alone.
Being healthy feels good and gives you the greatest freedom to live life on your own terms. With your plan to quit smoking, you’ll begin to feel better right away and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes — and that is one powerful way to conquer The Beast