REASONS TO QUIT FOR GOOD
There are many reasons to quit smoking or using other tobacco products. All of them are good. And you’re not alone.
Improve Your Health
Not only will quitting tobacco improve your health, it can help you feel better and give you more energy to engage in other healthy habits like exercise.
While many people are concerned about gaining weight after they quit, it’s important to keep in mind all the benefits of quitting and how much you are doing for your health by quitting. Because smoking impacts the whole body, your entire body benefits.
If you are concerned about gaining weight, here are some tips that can help you prevent weight gain and improve your health!
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Plan your meals and a healthy snack so you don’t ever get really hungry. (It’s too easy to grab unhealthy foods when you’re hungry.)
Come up with a list of healthy snacks that you enjoy (e.g., sunflower seeds, fruit, unbuttered popcorn, wholegrain crackers with cheese, celery stick with peanut butter).
Drink plenty of water and limit drinks with calories like alcohol, sugary juices and sodas.
Watch your portion sizes. The Healthy Eating Plate2 below can help you plan your portion sizes.
- Aim to have half your dinner plate be fruits or vegetables, 1/4 of the plate be a lean protein (e.g., chicken, baked fish, chili) and 1/4 of the plate be a healthy carb like sweet potato or brown rice.
- If you have a “sweet tooth,” limit dessert to once a day and limit the size of dessert (e.g., half cup of ice cream, half cup of nuts mixed with dried fruit & dark chocolate chips, 6 oz. Greek yogurt with 1 piece of fresh fruit, 2 squares of dark chocolate). Search the internet for “healthy dessert ideas.”
Physical activity, such as walking, gardening/yardwork, biking, dancing, lifting weights, shoveling, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, helps you in many ways1:
Helps improve your mood
Helps to prevent you from gaining weight
Keeps sugar levels down to prevent diabetes (or keep diabetes under control)
Makes a body stronger
Keeps your bones and joints healthier
Set a goal of adding 5 extra minutes of physical activity to what you already do each day until you reach an hour a day. Remember, physical activity can be anything that makes you move enough to work up a sweat.
The hand-to-mouth habit using tobacco—especially smoking—can be as tough to let go of as the tobacco itself. It’s tempting to replace the cigarette, e-cigarette or vaping pen with food to satisfy that hand-to-mouth habit. Some people who use tobacco find it helpful to chew on a straw or sugar-free gum, or do something new to occupy their hands.
Don’t let the worry of gaining a few extra pounds discourage you from quitting. By quitting you are not only taking steps to add years to your life, you improve your quality of life and keep the people around you safe from secondhand smoke. Don’t hesitate to talk with your health care provider if you are worried about weight gain.
Here are some additional resources on losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight:
For Your Family
Tobacco smoke is unhealthy for everyone in your household. But it is especially harmful to children whose lungs are still developing and to people with asthma, cancer, COPD and heart disease. In fact, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke is one of the most common and serious asthma triggers.
The U.S. Surgeon General says there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. For anyone, being around secondhand smoke is like they’re smoking, too. Even short exposures to secondhand smoke have immediate harmful effects, such as increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung cancer.
Children and babies have small lungs that are still growing. They have an even bigger risk from secondhand smoke poisons.
When children breathe in smoke, it can cause health problems that stay with them their entire lives. These include problems like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, frequent ear infections and allergies.
For adults who suffer from asthma, allergies or bronchitis, secondhand smoke makes symptoms even worse.
Babies whose parents or caregivers smoke are twice as likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Pets that breathe secondhand smoke have more allergies, cancer and lung problems than pets living in smoke-free homes.
Your family can be a major motivation to help you quit smoking. Let them encourage and support you in your quitting efforts.
I don’t want my 3 daughters, husband or 2 grandchildren to have to go through watching me die of a horrible disease, in a horrible way! Thirty days without a cigarette and many more days of living ahead! I couldn’t be happier. 🙂
Because of Illness
Being diagnosed with an illness can be a scary wake-up call that motivates you to take the first steps toward quitting. Whether quitting can improve your illness or help you better manage your symptoms, the health benefits can be far-reaching.
When I quit 17 years ago, it wasn’t the first time that I’d tried to quit, but it was the last and final time. Just diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and early stage emphysema, I knew that was my final warning. I realized how lucky I was that I wasn’t being told I had lung cancer.
Protect Baby’s Health
If you or your partner are pregnant or considering pregnancy, now is a great time to quit smoking. Quitting smoking before, during or after pregnancy is the best gift you can give yourself and your baby.
Reduces your chance of having a miscarriage
Gives your baby more oxygen, even after just 1 day of not smoking
Creates less risk that your baby will be born early
Improves the chance that your baby will come home from the hospital with you
Reduces breathing problems, wheezing and sickness in babies
Lowers risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia
Your health matters to your baby, too.
You’ll have more energy and breathe easier
Your breast milk will be healthier
Your clothes, hair and home will smell better
Your food will taste better
You’ll have more money that you can spend on other things
You’ll be less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease and other smoke-related diseases
Get FREE quit help and earn gift card rewards! Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to work with a specially trained Pregnancy Quit Coach and you can earn a $5 or $10 gift card for each completed counseling call (up to $65) during and after your pregnancy. Learn more and start earning rewards.
Honor a Lost Loved One
The loss of a loved one is an important motivation for quitting smoking. Others around Vermont have quit to honor the life of a loved one.
My dad died from all smoking-related health issues. My mom is still alive, but has had open heart surgery due to her smoking. Unfortunately, I also have some smoking-related health issues: osteoporosis, polyps on my vocal chords and COPD. This is my very first day, and I feel really good and strong. I know I can do this. I know I deserve to do it.
When you quit smoking or other tobacco products, it’s not just your health that you’re saving. You’ll be amazed to see what you can afford to do when you’re not spending money on cigarettes or e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff or vaping supplies.
I used to smoke a pack a day, which was getting pretty expensive. So when I quit, I started putting $5 a day in a jar in my kitchen. I’ve been quit for 8 months now, so I’ve got a pretty good chunk of change saved up. If I make it to a year being quit, I’m taking my daughter on a vacation with the money.