Stop Smoking: Make It More Than a New Year’s Resolution

breaking a cigaretteUnfortunately, we can’t live in our parent’s blissful ignorance anymore. And it’s  not news that smoking is bad for your health.

If you are a smoker, quitting isn’t as easy as cutting out sugar or making a commitment to walk three times a week.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of realistic ways to stop smoking. We aren’t talking quitting as a New Year’s resolution. We mean making an actual lifestyle change. So if you wake up on February 2and decide that is the day to quit, don’t let the fact that the New Year has passed stop you from making this change in your life.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Quitting smoking can be overwhelming because nicotine is incredibly addictive. Being able to wean yourself off nicotine, without the harmful effects from carcinogens, can help raise your chances of not giving up on day one. Using patches or gum helps you fight cravings by getting a measured amount of nicotine. Both nicotine replacements have different dosages, so you can slowly cut back the amount of nicotine intake.

Prescription Drugs

There are many prescription drugs that can help you quit smoking. Some of the prescriptions are used along with nicotine replacement therapy, while others you need to start taking before “Quit Day.” These drugs help counteract certain chemicals in the brain to help ease cravings. As with all prescription medications, make sure you consult your doctor and are aware of any potential side effects.

Write It Down

Write down all of the reasons you want to quit smoking on notecards or on your phone. Is it for your children or to stop having to hide your habit? Anytime you’re feeling particularly weak, bring that list out. Remind yourself there is a good reason why you’re doing this, and that in time it will get easier.


You may know that acupuncture is often used to relieve medical ailments, but did you know it also might help you kick the habit? Treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness—all symptoms that commonly plague people who are trying to cease smoking.

Make a Plan

Do you know when you’re most likely to smoke? Make a plan to do something else during the times you would usually light up. Is it after dinner? Try making a hot cup of green tea instead. Is it after work? Go for a walk. Is it with a cup of coffee? Take a cup of coffee with you on a walk. Other methods that may help are to keep your mouth busy: chew gum, snack on sunflower seeds, always have a drink like flavored water or tea.

Read more about how smoking may increase breast cancer risk.


Quit Smoking for Good—for Vanity’s Sake!

Image Above Taken From:

At the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we always advocate for what’s in the best interest of your health, which is why it’s time to revisit our long list of reasons to kick the smoking habit once and for all. Smoking is particularly harmful for women. In fact, female smokers have a 25 to 32 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Though most of us have heard the popular (and worthy) reasons to quit smoking—such as it causes cancer and emphysema and is an expensive habit, to boot—we decided to look at the more obvious ways smoking effects the body, both mentally and physically. Without further adieu, here are a few lesser-known reasons to inspire you or a loved one to give up cigarettes for good:

  • Get fresh: Cigarette toxins change your face’s oil secretions, which causes breakouts. To add insult to injury, according to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, dermatologist and author of The Perricone Prescription, when we inhale just one puff of cigarette smoke, more than a trillion free radicals are produced in our lungs, which then trigger an inflammatory response that circulates throughout the body. No thanks!
  • Stay sharp: Ex-smokers have better memories and reasoning skills than smokers do. Quitting smoking is an easy way to keep your wits in fighting condition! Not to mention, the logical move to stop smoking is contagious. Studies found that if you kick cigarettes, your spouse is 67 percent more likely to quit also, and friends are 36 percent more apt to quit, too.
  • Forever young: Puffers are four times more likely to go gray early, and the average smoker has ten times more wrinkles than non-smokers. Additionally, smoking causes the microscopic muscle fibers in the walls of the blood vessels to contract, causing smokers to have pale skin. In fact, a single cigarette can reduce the blood supply to the skin for more than an hour. Giving up smoking will improve the blood supply to the skin and give previously pale skin a more glowing and youthful appearance.
  • Your figure will thank you: As if maintaining an enviable figure wasn’t hard enough, smoking can create an imbalance in women’s hormone levels, which can lead to changes in body shape. Smoking affects the endocrinal system, or the glands that secrete hormones, and changes the body shape by increasing the waist-to-hip ratio and altering the way the body stores fat.
  • Build your self-esteem: Quitting is hard—if you can do it, you’ll feel more confident to take on other goals in your life! You’ll also have more energy to accomplish those goals. So go ahead and sign up for that 5K you’ve been thinking about, or take that yoga class, and watch your achievements continue to climb!

Have you ever quit smoking? If so, what made you decide to make the change?

Stop Smoking: How to Avoid Weight Gain Once You Quit

stop smokingNo matter which type of breast surgery you may need, we always recommend that you quit smoking to help speed healing. Many smokers, especially women, fear gaining weight when they quit. While some former smokers do gain a little weight, it is typically no more than a few pounds, and even this gain can largely be avoided with a little planning.

Know that you will be hungrier at first.

According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking reduces your appetite and may increase your metabolism, so when you quit, you’re likely to feel hungrier at first. Keep plenty of healthy snacks around, such as berries, vegetables, cheese, and nuts. The latter two are higher in calories than the others, but they will keep you full longer.

Avoid sugary or high-carbohydrate snacks, such as candy, cookies, chips, and the like. They won’t help you avoid weight gain, and they offer little to no nutritional value.

Watch what you drink.

Soda and fruit juices are loaded with sugar, and even diet soda is not a good idea when you’re trying to lose weight.  Drink water. It will help you detox from the cigarettes, help avoid water retention, and avoid weight gain.

If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, add lemon or lime juice—if you like sparkling water and add lemon and lime juice, it’s almost like drinking a soda without the calories or artificial sweeteners.

Reduce portion sizes at meals.

Eating smaller portions will help you keep your weight under control. Try cutting down your portions by one quarter. If you’re still hungry, have some vegetables or fruit for dessert. Be careful with fruit, as it is high in natural sugars.

Get up and move.

Not only will moving or exercising help you keep your weight down, but it will also help your cravings. Get outside and walk the dog, or take a dance class such as country-western dance or Zumba. You’ll burn calories and help keep your weight where you want it to be.

To keep weight gain down, monitor your weight. You don’t necessarily have to jump on the scale every day; your clothes will tell you how you’re doing. Don’t allow yourself to gain more than two or three pounds before taking action. If you’re watching what you eat and drink and getting more exercise, weight gain after quitting smoking and breast surgery will be a non-issue.



Stop Smoking Series: All about Tobacco Quitlines

Tobacco QuitlinesEvery state has a tobacco quitline, typically paid for with funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, the states settled Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco companies to recover their costs for treating tobacco-related illness, and the tobacco companies agreed to pay the state over $200 billion over 25 years.

Hundreds of thousands of smokers and chewers call quitlines every year, and the North American Quitline Consortium reports that depending on whether nicotine replacement therapy is part of the program, 30-day success rate ranges from 14–36%

The quitlines are telephonic tobacco cessation services that help smokers and chewers quit through phone coaching or counseling, medications, and education. Each quitline coach or counselor has had extensive training in tobacco addiction and best practices in quitting. The staff of each quitline stays up-to-date on the latest research in tobacco cessation and relapse prevention, and is trained to coach in the use of the various medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants, and Chantix.

Each state determines how its quitline will provide services, including the hours of operation, whether medication will be offered, whether there will be a charge for participants, and the duration of the program. To find out more about your state’s quitline, call 1-800-QUIT NOW.

The coaching that you receive from a quitline is instrumental in helping you quit. The coach will discuss your smoking history with you, including your previous quit attempts. He or she will give you tips on quitting and strategies to deal with cravings. Many of these coaches are former smokers themselves and know what you’re going through; however, even if they have never smoked, the coaches are highly trained in helping you quit.

You will be encouraged to set a quit date either on the initial call or during a follow-up call. Setting a quit date is an important first step in your quit plan and signals your commitment to stop tobacco. The coaches will call you on a regular schedule throughout the program, and you are encouraged to call in any time you have issues or uncontrollable cravings.

All you have to lose is your tobacco addiction. Call your state’s quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW and get started creating a healthier you today.


Stop Smoking Series: the 4Ds

stop smokingQuitting smoking can be challenging, but if you know what to do when a craving hits, you’ll be ready to conquer any urge. The 4Ds are a good guideline to follow when you desperately want a cigarette. The order we show them is a general guideline, so modify it to work for you.


The moment the craving hits, tell yourself you can have a cigarette in 10 minutes. Then when the 10 minutes are up, tell yourself what a good job you did and challenge yourself to go 20 minutes. Any craving will go away in a few moments as long as you don’t keep thinking about it. After you delay, the next thing to do is . . .

Drink water.

In fact, get up and get a glass of water as you’re telling yourself to wait 10 minutes. And you want to drink water, not pop, coffee, or alcoholic beverages. First, while you’re quitting, your body is trying to get rid of the toxic materials you’ve inhaled all these years, and it needs water remove the junk from your system. Second, for many women, other drinks are triggers to smoke, especially coffee and alcohol. Third, the water will change the taste in your mouth and help to break the craving.

Please don’t make the excuse that you don’t like water. You can filter it or flavor it with fruit or small amounts of fruit juice. Find what works for you, and do it.

Do something else.

Your success in quitting may be determined by how well you shift your focus when you have an urge to smoke. The more you think about a craving, the worse it will become. After you’ve had your glass of water, find something else to do. If you were watching TV, move to another room and read a book. Take the dog for a walk. You need to break the association with whatever you were doing when you felt the craving.

Try keeping a bag of entertaining distractions with you, which could include puzzle books, books, art projects, or needlepoint. The main thing to remember is that you need to abruptly and quickly change what you’re doing and thinking to survive the craving.

Deep breathing.

This step can be done at any point in time, as many times as necessary. Deep breathing will release endorphins, which will help you feel better. It will also show you how well your respiratory system is healing during your quit. Take at least 10 deep breaths in through your nose—your stomach will move if you’re truly taking deep breaths. Exhale through your mouth with pursed lips, as if you’re kissing someone. Blow out hard, and imagine you are forcing out all the air in your lungs.

The 4Ds will feel awkward at first, but as you get used to them, you’ll find they are very helpful during cravings.


The First Step in Quitting Smoking: Why Do You Want to Quit?

quit smokingAre you ready to quit smoking?

The first step in quitting is to determine why you want to quit. You know you should, and maybe your doctor has told you that you need to quit. However, you won’t be successful long-term unless the desire to quit comes from you, and the reasons you quit have to be your reasons. You can’t quit to please others or because they’re pressuring you. If you do, you’ll use that person as your excuse to go back to smoking.

You know what we’re talking about. At least once, you’ve tried to quit because someone was bugging you. When you did, you lasted for a few weeks or even a few months, but it was a tough quit to maintain because you weren’t doing it for yourself. In the end, you went back to it because deep down, you didn’t want to quit then—and you were even a little resentful of the person who was pressuring you.

So if you’re thinking about quitting for your kids, your spouse, or the dog, stop right there. What are your reasons for quitting? What do you want out of it? Your reasons will keep you going when you have that irresistible craving for a smoke. Your reasons will help your quit go more smoothly. Yes, quitting can be difficult at times—but quitting for other people’s reasons is even harder.

Here are ten common reasons for quitting we’ve heard from successful smokers:

  • I was tired of spending all my money and having nothing to show for it.
  • I woke up one day and decided I was done. I’d had enough of the smell, the expense, and the coughing.
  • I knew I could do so much more with the money and time I spent on smoking.
  • I wanted to feel better and not be dependent on cigarettes to get me through the day.
  • I didn’t like being addicted to nicotine because I was missing a lot of life.
  • I was sick of smelling and feeling bad all the time.
  • I wanted to run and play with my kids (or grandkids).
  • Being a smoker wasn’t for me—I’m worth a lot more than that, and I want to live to be an old lady.
  • The thought of having lung cancer or COPD scared me, and I knew it was time to quit.
  • I just got tired of the habits: waking up and smoking, driving and smoking, eating and then smoking . . . it was ridiculous.

Do any of these reasons resonate with you? What benefits of quitting are you looking forward to? When you have your own, clear reasons to quit, it’s time to move forward and do it—but quitting without a reason that is meaningful to you is a setup for failure.