Say “No” to Smoking—and “Yes” to a Long, Healthy Life

The number of smokers in New York state may have reached an all-time low of 14.2 percent—even lower than the national smoking rate of 15.5 percent—but smoking is still an ongoing epidemic across America. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are still 34.2 million adults who smoke on a regular basis. So, knowing the negative health effects of smoking, why are there still so many active smokers? It may have a lot to do with the psychological barriers smokers must overcome when it comes to quitting.

Barriers to quitting may include:

  • Concern about everyday stressors and nerves, which some smokers believe can be calmed by nicotine.
  • The missed social interactions of bonding with friends and coworkers who also smoke.
  • Potential for weight gain when the appetite suppressant aspect of smoking is removed.
  • The prohibitive cost of smoking cessation programs.

How can you overcome these barriers?

  • Recognize that smoking is actually a stimulant that increases blood pressure and heart rate, so quitting will have a positive effect on your stress levels.
  • Let others know you are quitting and prepare a response to invitations to smoke—this will enable others to help you stay on track and respect your decision.
  • Stop worrying so much about weight gain: Most people gain less than 10 pounds when they quit smoking, which can be managed with moderate exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Do the math. New Yorkers who smoke one pack per day are spending about $4,690 per year—compared to that cost, smoking cessation programs are a bargain; your health plan may even help with program costs.

Ready to quit smoking? The first step is to embrace, accept, and create change in your life using these 11 steps. Once you do, there are a number of ways to kick the habit, including:

  • Cold turkey
  • Support apps, like MyQuit Coach, Smoke Free, and Kwit
  • Nicotine patches
  • Physician-prescribed medication
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Acupuncture

If you or someone you know is an active smoker, there’s no better time to quit than now. Just remember, not every solution is for everyone; that’s why it’s important to stick with it until you find what works for you!