It’s a new year, and many people are resolving to make it a good one. A sense of motivation is palpable in the air.
An estimated 40 percent of Americans make resolutions at the turn of a new year, and for decades the most popular resolutions have involved smoking cessation, losing weight and exercising.
Quitting smoking is vital for lifelong health, and the importance of quitting cannot be understated to anyone with prior asbestos exposure. Smokers with asbestos exposure history are between 50 and 92 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers with no asbestos exposure. That’s a serious increased risk, and serious motivation to quit smoking.
Smoking cessation is also important for people who’ve developed an asbestos-related disease. Although smoking cigarettes doesn’t increase the risk of developing mesothelioma, it does impair lung function, and may worsen mesothelioma symptoms. Quitting smoking may improve the quality of life and the overall health of people facing asbestos-related diseases, which may improve chances of extending life expectancy.
The truth is quitting smoking at any age will add time to someone’s life. A 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study says a 64-year-old can add four years to their life by quitting. Quitting by age 34 adds a decade to life expectancy.
This study and countless others provide science-backed tidbits of motivation, and effective tips that are helping smokers kick the habit for life.
Science Delivers Smoking Cessation Tips That Work
Most smokers want to quit, and are looking for effective methods to help them stop smoking.
Some people find it motivating to know that most long-term quitters didn’t succeed in their initial attempts to quit smoking. The takeaway is that regardless of how many times you’ve attempted to quit, you still can succeed. Some of the following scientifically proven tips just might help you this year.
- Become Mindful. A new spin on the phrase “you are what you eat” is “you are what you think.” A 2011 Yale University study found that mindfulness training is more effective than the American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking (FFS) treatment plan. When compared to the smokers assigned to FFS plan, participants in the mindfulness training group smoked fewer cigarettes during treatment, had a higher quit rate, and were less likely to drop out of the program before completion.
- Part of the mindfulness training including teaching participants how to identify thoughts and emotions as triggers for smoking and helped them discover alternative coping tools to replace cigarettes.
- Lift Weights. Studies have long proven that exercise is a great tool to help smokers quit. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that research showed that simply lifting weights could aid in smoking cessation.
- In 2011, the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal published a study evidencing that resistance training, such as lifting weights, helps people quit smoking. Participants received a smoking cessation counseling session and the nicotine patch before they were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of resistance training or a control group. Six months later, 15 percent of the weight training group participants remained smoke-free, while only 8 percent of control group participants were able to stop smoking.
- Eat More Produce. A plant-based diet not only decreases the risk of developing mesothelioma, it could also help you quit cigarettes.
- A 2012 study reached out to 1,000 smokers and assessed how many fruits and vegetables they ate. Fourteen months later, researchers followed up with the study participants and asked them whether they used tobacco within the past month.
- The people who ate the most produce were three times more likely to have not smoked in the prior month. Increased produce intake was also associated with smoking fewer cigarettes, waiting until later in the day to smoke the first cigarette, and decreased dependence on nicotine.
- One possible reason for this relationship could be explained by a Duke University study which found that fruits and vegetables make cigarettes taste worse to smokers. The study also reported that alcohol, meat and coffee make cigarettes taste better.
Combine Tactics for Success
There are numerous methods to give up smoking. No one approach seems to work for everyone, but a combination of methods appears more effective that implementing just one.
When deciding what combination of methods you’d like to employ, consider the following factors:
- Medicines like nicotine replacement products can help you quit. Many people use these medicines incorrectly, though, and don’t see the full potential benefit as a result of misuse. These medicines are not long-term solutions, hence the importance of using other cessation methods.
- Assess how much money you’re spending on smoking. Knowing how much money you’ll save by quitting can help people stay motivated, plus you’ll know how much you can afford to reward yourself once you’ve kicked the habit.
- Tell yourself the truth by researching the health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke. In addition to harming your own health, you’re putting others at risk of serious health effects with secondhand smoke.
- Seek out advice and support along your journey. Numerous support systems are available to help people quit smoking, including in-person counseling, telephone counseling, Internet support groups and coaching services.
It’s a new year, and this could be the year that you quit smoking forever. Get the help you need and keep trying cessation methods until you find the magical combination that works for you.