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If you have tried to quit smoking and failed before, take comfort in the fact that most smokers fail several times before quitting successfully. Your past failures are not a lesson that you are unable to quit. Instead, view them as part of the normal journey toward becoming a nonsmoker.
The information below will ease your way and help insure that this is the last time you ever need to go through the quitting process. You can do it!
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The most important step to take is the first step --admitting you have an addiction.
When asked why you smoke, you might have said, "I just like to smoke!" or "It's my choice to smoke."
The tobacco companies have promoted the idea that smoking is a matter of personal choice. As I see it, there really isn't as much choice as they have suggested to their customers.
Ask yourself, and be totally honest: Am I addicted to tobacco? Am I truly making a freely made choice when I smoke?
You might consider that you need to have a cigarette. Studies have shown that nicotine addiction is as hard to break as heroin or cocaine addiction.
In Nicotine Anonymous' 12 Step program, which sprang from the venerable Alcoholics Anonymous program, the first step is admitting to yourself, "I'm powerless over tobacco." Making this admission may seem trivial to you, but for many it is a very significant part of completing the journey to becoming a non-smoker.
By telling smokers that smoking is a personal choice, the tobacco industry has helped to keep its customers in denial about the true extent of their addiction. If smoking is a choice, then what's the rush to quit? The tobacco companies have used this spin to help keep millions of customers buying their deadly products.
Admitting that you're smoking more out of addiction than choice will help motivate you to go on to the next steps -- taking control of yourself and becoming a nonsmoker.
This admission will further serve you by helping you stay smoke free later. In the months and years after you quit, when temptations to smoke occasionally overpower you -- and they will -- remind yourself, "I have an addiction and I'm powerless over tobacco." Saying this to yourself in overwhelmed moments of desire will help give you the strength to say no to "just one" cigarette.
If you can make it for just five minutes without giving in, the urge to smoke be controllable or disappear. In this way, you'll be able to stay smokefree for life.
For me there were two very distinct and EQUALLY IMPORTANT phases to quitting:
Phase One — Quitting with help Phase Two — Staying smoke free and not relapsing
Phase One:Quitting with help
When quitting, people who are the most successful at living life typically get help, and plenty of it.
For example, they might read up on how to prevent illness, and go to the doctor when sick. In business, a businessperson will get a lawyer to write the contracts, a marketing firm to do the marketing, an ad agency to create the ads, an accountant to do the accounting – and so on. The fact is that people who are successful in life get help. Real men ask directions!
Sadly, eighty percent of smokers who quit do so without being in any program – and studies show that 95% of these self-reliant quitters fail, and go right back to smoking. It's the same rate of recidivism as with heroin. With a 95% chance of failure without a program, you may wish to consider getting some help this time around.
For those who have repeatedly failed at quitting in the past, it's comforting to learn that most smokers in fact fail several times before stopping successfully. Your past failures are not a lesson that you are unable to quit. Instead, they are part of the normal journey toward becoming a nonsmoker.
I certainly failed -- 11 times. Every time I failed, I lost a little more faith that I could really quit. So each time I quit, it got harder and harder to motivate myself to set a date. I had begun to feel it was hopeless.
My mission here is to restore your faith in yourself. You CAN quit. Even if you've failed several times in the past, understand that this is normal. You're not alone.
You need to get your resolve up, and try again. YOU CAN DO IT!
Get help -- lots of it. Get into a good program, or better yet, a combination of more than one.
Call your local branch of the American Cancer Society, or the American Lung or Heart Associations. All have inexpensive and effective, mainstream programs.
Buy a How to Quit Smoking Book, or a motivational cassette tape program in a bookstore, and listen to the tapes in your car. Every little bit helps!
There is also the National Cancer Institute's Smoking Quitline, 1-877-44U-Quit, offering proactive counseling by trained personnel.
Try a free meeting
If joining a small group of other quitters appeals to you, then try a Nicotine Anonymous meeting. It's likely there's one near you where you live. It's a 12-step program based on AA; they're nonprofit and free. Ask directory assistance to get the number for a local Nicotine Anonymous chapter, or call the national line at (800) 642-0666. You can also check their website. (A for-profit company trademarked "Smokers' Anonymous" -- so you want the FREE program -- Nicotine Anonymous).
Don't count on any of these programs to make it a breeze. None of them will do that -- but they WILL reduce your distress by 15% to 50%, depending on how addicted you are psychologically, vs. physically.
I'm not promising it will be easy -- it won't. So get your resolve and willpower up, because you'll need it! And you CAN do it.
Don't ask, "Does this program work?" Rather, ask yourself, "Am I willing to DO the work?" You know how to work, don't you? I'm betting that you do.
I come from a wealthy background, and at one point it occurred to me that wealthy folks may have a much harder time quitting smoking, alcohol, or even dieting -- because they're used to getting whatever they want, whenever they want it. If you count yourself among this group, you might wish to consider an inpatient treatment center. You'd reside in a hospital for up to a week with a group of other people who are also quitting.
How are your self denial muscles? Pretty good, no doubt! Let's see. Are you able to easily put off getting a brand new car, or going to a $60 per head restaurant? How about postponing that vacation in Monte Carlo, Aspen, or Florida? Good! If you can do those things, chances are good you won't need an inpatient program, and you'll have all the self-denial muscles you'll need to quit smoking. But you'll need to flex them. And yes, it might hurt a bit.
A Note About Tobacco Ads
Many teens, if asked, would say that tobacco ads have no influence over them. However, new studies tell us that advertising plays a greater role than even peer pressure in getting teens to smoke.
And one recent study shows that the three most heavily advertised brands are the same three brands most often smoked by teens -- Camels, Marlboros and Newport. It's no accident. Cigarette ads clearly influence our teens. Tobacco ads may not influence your conscious mind -- but they do influence the unconscious mind.
Your Unconscious Mind
What is the unconscious mind? In a famous study, the Russian scientist Pavlov rang a bell every time he fed his dog -- and eventually the dog would salivate just on hearing the bell -- even though there was no food there. The dog had made an unconscious association between the ringing and dinner, and began to drool!
Cigarette ads reach our unconscious minds. These ads create an unconscious association between the addiction of cigarettes and strong, positive images of attractive, healthy people, sports like tennis or mountain climbing, beautiful country scenes, cowboys gathered around a campfire or on horseback, masculinity and manhood, being feminine and womanhood, being a 'real person,' and so on. As of 2000, the tobacco industry has been spending over $5 billion annually to advertise its deadly products. That's a lot of bell ringing! And it's not lost on our kids.
The smoker's unconscious mind also makes repeated pleasant associations with the act of smoking -- watching the smoke slowly curling, putting a cigarette to the lips, languidly inhaling and exhaling, absently handling a cigarette -- all these are very much a part of the psychological addiction to tobacco. Quitters often feel as though they are losing a best friend.
For most addicted smokers, the addition is about half mental, half physical. Studies show that the ratio varies with each individual. The physical portion of the addiction is to nicotine. As to the mental or psychological aspect, a smoker's conscious mind says, 'I will stop smoking -- no problem.' But the unconscious mind has been conditioned for years that cigarettes give pleasure, and that's all it can focus on. The unconscious mind says, 'Gimmie a cigarette -- now!' It only recognizes what feels good. It demands a cigarette, without regard to right or wrong, and ignores the conscious mind's intentions. Aversion therapy is one way to help counteract this.
During the process of quitting, the new habit of being a nonsmoker forms. The ex-smoker's unconscious mind gradually gets used to being a nonsmoker, as the urges to smoke slowly fade away.
The Boilerplate Points
Do your best to follow as many of these as you can. The points below are advocated by most of today's credible quit-smoking products and programs. They are widely accepted as an essential and necessary part of quitting successfully. Just using the patch or Zyban without following the points below will hinder your chances to quit for good this time.
DEEP BREATHING PERHAPS THE SINGLE MOST POWERFUL AND IMPORTANT TECHNIQUE Every time you want a cigarette, do the following. Do it three times. Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly.As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out. This is a variation of an ancient yoga technique from India, and is VERY centering and relaxing. If you practice this, you'll be able to use it for any future stressful situation you find yourself in. And it will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings sure to assault you over the first few days. This deep breathing technique will be a vital help to you. Reread this point now, and as you do, try it for the first time. Inhale and exhale three times. See for yourself!
The first few days, drink LOTS of water and fluids to help flush out the nicotine and other poisons from your body.
Remember that the urge to smoke only lasts a few minutes, and will then pass. The urges gradually become farther and farther apart as the days go by.
Do your very best to stay away from alcohol, sugar and coffee the first week or longer, as these tend to stimulate the desire for a cigarette. Avoid fatty foods, as your metabolism will slow down a bit without the nicotine, and you may gain weight even if you eat the same amount as before quitting. So discipline about diet is extra important now. No one ever said acquiring new habits would be easy!
Nibble on low calorie foods like celery, apples and carrots. Chew gum or suck on cinnamon sticks.
Stretch out your meals; eat slowly and wait a bit between bites.
After dinner, instead of a cigarette, treat yourself to a cup of mint tea or a peppermint candy.
In one study, about 25% of quitters found that an oral substitute was invaluable. Another 25% didn't like the idea at all -- they wanted a clean break with cigarettes. The rest weren't certain. Personally, I found a cigarette substitute to be a tremendous help. The nicotine inhaler (by prescription) is one way to go: it's a shortened plastic cigarette, with a replaceable nicotine capsule inside.
A simpler way to go is bottled cinnamon sticks, available at any supermarket. I used these every time I quit, and they really helped me. I would chew on them, inhale air through them, and handle them like cigarettes. After a while, they would get pretty chewed up on one end -- but I'd laugh, reverse them and chew on the other end. Others may prefer to start a fresh stick. Once someone asked me, "Excuse me, but is that an exploded firecracker in your mouth?" I replied that I was quitting smoking – and they smiled and became supportive. Luckily, I never needed the cinnamon sticks after the first three days of being a nonsmoker.
Go to a gym, sit in the steam, exercise. Change your normal routine – take time to walk or even jog around the block or in a local park.
Look in the yellow pages under Yoga, and take a class – they're GREAT! Get a one hour massage, take a long bath -- pamper yourself.
Ask for support from coworkers, friends and family members. Ask for their tolerance. Let them know you're quitting, and that you might be edgy or grumpy for a few days. If you don't ask for support, you certainly won't get any. If you do, you'll be surprised how much it can help. Take a chance -- try it and see!
Ask friends and family members not to smoke in your presence. Don't be afraid to ask. This is more important than you may realize.
On your quit day, hide all ashtrays and destroy all your cigarettes, preferably with water, so no part of them is smokeable.
To talk to a live human being, call the National Cancer Institute's free Smoking Quitline, 1-877-44U-Quit. Proactive counseling services by trained personnel will be provided in sessions both before and after quitting smoking.
A NOTE TO NONSMOKERS If you live with a smoker, or are close friends with one: don't be a NAG about their smoking habit! (You can make noise about their smoking in the house or near you, because their second hand smoke hurts you – but don't nag them to quit. There's a BIG difference!)
Just three times a year you can ask your loved one – briefly – VERY briefly – to please quit smoking -- in VERY loving and warm tones. (Try surrounding your request with HONEST complements, keep it BRIEF, and they might be more open to hearing you.
But if you speak up more than three times per YEAR, then you're a yukky, obnoxious NAG. Ick! And your beloved smoker will be so ANGRY with you that they'll keep smoking just to spite you. You'll be defeating your very purpose.
I ask nonsmokers to honor their smoking loved ones, and treat them like adults.
And if your loved ones are nagging you, don't fall into the old trap of hurting yourself by continuing to smoke out of your anger toward them. Instead, let them know how you feel.
Sometimes, life is painful. It's supposed to be that way. All of us are faced with grief, loss and struggle. And it's by our struggles that we define and strengthen our character.
In my live talks and video for youth, I revive the ancient practice of initiation. As I initiate them into life, I let teens know that sometimes life will be painful.
"And when those moments come, you need to take the ADULT path," I tell the students, "and stay with the difficulty -- and not go lighting a cigarette, raiding the icebox, taking drugs, blasting music or switching on the TV -- or, going to work for too many long hours. All these are just ways of avoiding painful feelings and numbing them out."
If you stay with your pain, you'll begin to see what's causing it. And when you're ready, you can take a step to solve the problem.
FEEL -- AND YOU HEAL
One example: grieving your sadness to completion is the most effective way to heal it --rather than burying it, or carrying it with you deep inside for years. This is a core part of psychotherapy, and it works.
The same is true of anger – let your anger out in reasonable, mild little bits here and there, as you go along, right as things come up. This is better than letting it build up, and later exploding in rage.
It's helpful -- and healing -- to let your feelings out verbally, as you quit smoking. Better words should come out of your mouth, in loud complaining tones, than extra unneeded calories going in!
Don't worry, if you ask for support and tolerance, you'll get it. A great outlet for this is Nicotine Anonymous meetings. There you'll get plenty of support -- and hugs too, if you ask for them. Don't isolate, and do lean on others.
Especially for men, this is a sign of STRENGTH. Not going to a support meeting could be construed an act of fear, and therefore cowardice. So be brave, and seek support from others. It's a sign of a strong man in my book. Real men do ask directions!
It's true that smoking is mostly very enjoyable, even comforting, for you. Let's not lie about it. Quitting will be like losing a great, dear friend -- and you may find yourself grieving a bit. That's only natural, and it's okay.
But if you don't quit and "grieve" now, this great "friend" of yours will probably turn on you and kill you one day. It's statistically equivalent to playing Russian Roulette with not one, but two, bullets in the gun: if you smoke, you have a 40% chance of dying due to the habit. Not to mention continuing to put up with having to go outside most times you smoke.
In coming decades, we'll look back on smoking as a thing of the last century. We know that statistically, only children and teens begin the habit. As our government passes laws making it increasingly difficult for youth to obtain cigarettes, and as Uncle Sam limits the advertising of tobacco more in the future, teens will not start smoking in such huge numbers. Finally, one day smoking will be no more. No more deaths, no more disease, no more grieving families around the world.
Welcome to the wonderful world of nonsmokers. You can do it!
One definition of insanity is...
Repeating the same behavior over and over again, expecting different results.
Phase One was realizing that with the help of one or more programs, I could stay off cigarettes for one to three months.
But I did that 11 times.
Phase Two -- the period starting a few weeks after going cold turkey -- the urges to smoke would greatly diminish, even disappear. But it was vital that I came to realize that any time from a week to a year after quitting, I was sure to get an occasional surprise ATTACK – during which I was suddenly OVERWHELMED with the desire to smoke.
Usually these attacks would sneak up on me during moments of stress – positive stress (out with friends, partying, or on a vacation) or negative stress (while immersed in an angry, sad or lonely moment – you know about those.)
During these surprise attacks I would always rationalize, "I could have just one. Just one…I haven't had one for three months – so what's the harm of having just one now? I want it SO BADLY!" And I would take ONE, and ZAP! The next day I'd have "just one more," and before I knew it I was once again a full-fledged smoker, 100% addicted again, back up to a pack a day within just two or three weeks.
THE SECRET IS SIMPLEHang on for five minutes.
I finally stayed smokefree in this way:
When the surprise attacks came a few weeks or months after quitting, I told myself, "Hang on for five minutes – and this out-of-control urge to smoke will pass."
After 11 failed attempts, I looked back and I realized that several times in the past, surprise attacks were ALWAYS the critical moment in which I would inevitably become re-addicted, as "innocent" as "just one cigarette" might seem.
As I wrestled with myself thinking about this during an attack, I thought, "Okay. Relief is about four minutes away..."
Still I was dying for a smoke – okay, so now it was just THREE more minutes to hold on for... Now TWO...
And sure enough, at the end of five minutes – the urge would be all gone, and I would be quite proud of myself for holding on (plus I got to deny my smoking friend his pleasure in seeing me light up like him).
It's harsh, but --
Only a baby gets to relieve itself whenever it feels like it. Adults know how to delay gratification! It's time to remember you're an adult. So grow up and join the rest of the adults!
I am 24 years. I am eating so less still my weight of body is 55 .and I do yoga and drink green tea but it's affect my menstruation. My menstruation cycle is always regular but this month it's not come till yet. Please help me for queries.
Cancer is the abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in a particular body part. With continued growth, pieces of this tissue travel through the blood to different body parts and continue to grow in the new area. This is known as metastases. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and affects about 1 in 8 women in the USA. Read on to know more details of breast cancer – breast anatomy, causes, symptoms, risk factors, detection, prevention, and of course treatment.
Anatomy: The main function of the breast is lactation through its milk-producing tissue that are connected to the nipple by narrow ducts. In addition, there is surrounding connective tissue, fibrous material, fat, nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic channels which complete the structure. This is essential to know as most breast cancers develop as small calcifications (hardened particles) in the ducts or as small lumps in the breast tissue which then continues to grow into cancer. The spread can happen through lymphatic or blood flow to other organs.
Warning signs/symptoms: The following are some symptoms that need to be watched out for if you have a predisposition to breast cancer.
- A lump in either of the breasts or armpits
- Change in size, shape, or contour of either breast
- Redness of your breast or nipple
- Discharge of clear or bloody fluid
- Thickening of breast tissue or skin that lasts through a period
- Altered look or feel of the skin on the breast or the nipple (dimpled, inflamed, scaly, or puckered)
- One area on the breast that looks very different from the other areas
- Hardened area under the breast skin
Either one or a combination of these should be an indication to get a detailed checkup done. Early diagnosis results in controlling the disease with minimal treatment and reduced complications.
Causes and risk factors: The exact cause for breast cancer is yet to be pinned down. However, risk factors are clearly identified, and women with risk factors need to watch out for warning signs.
- Family history: Of all the risk factors, the family history is the most important. Breast cancer runs in families, and if there is a first-degree relative with the breast cancer, the chances of developing it are almost double. Two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the carriers of the disease, and this testing can be done in women to identify if they are at risk.
- Family history of other cancers: Even if there is no breast cancer, if there are other cancers that run in the family, watch out.
- Age: Women over 50 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Race: Caucasian and Jewish women are at higher risk of breast cancer than African-American women.
- Hormones: Greater exposure to the female hormone estrogen increases the chances of developing breast cancer. Women who use birth control pills for contraception and hormone replacement after menopause are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Gynecologic milestones: Women who have abnormal menstrual milestones need to watch out. These include those who attain menarche before 12 years of age, get pregnant after 30, attain menopause after 55, and have menstrual cycles shorter than 26 days or longer than 29 days.
- Obesity and alcohol abuse are also likely to increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
Stages: Starting from stage 0, higher stages indicate advanced disease.
- Stage 0: The growth which has begun in the milk-producing tissue or the ducts has remained there (in situ) and not spread to any other area, including the rest of the breast.
- Stage I: The tissue slowly becomes invasive and has begun to affect the surrounding healthy tissue. It could have spread to the fatty breast tissue and some breast tissue may be found in the nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage II: The cancer at this stage grows considerably or spreads to other parts. There are chances that cancer may grow and also spread.
- Stage III: It may have spread to the bones or other organs but small amounts are present in up to 9 to 10 of the lymph nodes in the armpits and collar bones which makes it is difficult to fight.
- Stage IV: The cancer is widespread to far-flung areas like the liver, lungs, bones, and even the brain.
Screening: This is one of the most effective ways to identify the disease in its early stages. This will help in controlling cancer from spreading with minimal treatment.
- Self-examination: A thorough self-examination to look for changes in terms of shape, size, colour, contour, and firmness should be learned by all women. Watch for any discharge, sores, rashes, or swelling in the breasts, surrounding skin, and nipple. Examine them while standing and when lying down.
- In most women, annual screening mammograms are advised after the age of 40. However, in women who have a strong family history or genetic makeup, it is advisable to have screening mammograms starting at age 20 every 3 years and then annually from the age of 40.
- Women in high-risk categories should have screening mammograms every year and typically start at an earlier age.
- Ultrasound screening can also be given in addition to mammograms.
- Breast MRI is another way to screen for breast cancer if the risk is greater.
Breast Cancer Prevention: Now that there is so much awareness about causes and risk factors, there are definitely ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
- Exercise and a healthy diet with reduced amount of alcohol are definitely effective in minimising the chances of developing cancer.
- Tamoxifen is used in women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
- Evista (raloxifene) which is used to treat osteoporosis after menopause. It is also widely used in preventing breast cancer.
- In high-risk women, breasts are surgically removed to prevent the development of cancer (preventive mastectomy).
Treatment: As with all cancers, treatment would depend on the stage at which it is identified and include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. As noted earlier, if you are at risk, look out for warning signs as early diagnosis is the key to maximum recovery.