Quitting Smoking is Easy


"Mark Twain once said, 'Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times'." Quitting smoking for a short period of time is relatively easy; still, not giving in to the urge to pick up a pack of cigarettes during a time of unusually bad stress is extremely difficult. Every smoker I know wants to quit. It's what comes after you smoke your last cigarette that determines whether you are a permanent quitter or an intermittent quitter.

Here's the interesting part, though: Consider how many of us are afraid to make a New Year's resolution because we might fail? I hate trying something just to fail at it. What if the paradigm were turned on its head, and you got quite a bit of partial credit for being an intermittent quitter? An article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2005 looked at the effects of smoking cessation on death. Not surprisingly, the permanent quitters had much lower death rates (6.04 deaths per 1000 person-years) than the permanent smokers (11.09 deaths per 1000 person-years). The intermittent quitters, though, had death rates much closer to the permanent quitters (7.77 deaths per 1000 person-years) even though they started smoking again. In other words, quitting smoking helps your health even if you re-start a few weeks later.

Your doctor (and you) would prefer that you not re-start at all; however, that's often not compatible with reality. So take advantage of the proven methods offered by the American Cancer Society. Go to their website and search for the word, "quit". You'll be able to get every little advantage on your side to help make the next effort to quit more successful.

The great news: even if you are an intermittent quitter, you've still done yourself a whole lot of good.

Note: Information contained in this article should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a board-certified allergist to address individual medical needs.

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