Smoking Reduction Tips
Smoking & Weight Control Reduction Tips
Sophisticated advertising is keeping alive the hoax that smoking is an
effective way to maintain a fashionably slim figure and that quitting
smoking inevitably leads to weight gain. Smoking cigarettes as a method
of weight control is far more dangerous to health than extra weight.
Ultra-thin models send a message that encourages false expectations of
desirable appearance, and also endangers lives.
In 1990, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the number one cancer
killer of women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), women who smoke are three times more likely than
non-smokers to have a heart attack by age 65. Also, if you smoke while
pregnant, there is a greater chance you will have a more difficult
delivery, and have a smaller than average baby. If you smoke, or let
others smoke around your baby, he or she will more likely have more
chest colds, bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia.
Unfortunately, advertising terms such as "slim", "thin", and "light",
aimed at women and girls' concern about appearance are effective. In the
United States more than a quarter of all women are regular smokers and
girls are the fastest growing group of new smokers.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 dangerous substances, including
40 that are known to cause cancer. Inhaling a poison is no way to
control weight. Smoking upsets your metabolism, so that any small weight
gain upon quitting is partly from the body returning to healthy
functioning. The poisons in cigarettes also damage the skin, causing
premature facial wrinkling. The attractive models who push the cigarette
hoax also won't tell you that smoking discolors teeth, causes bad
breath, and makes your hair smell.
The only healthy way to control weight is through a combination of
balanced diet and regular exercise. To lose a pound, you must trim 3,500
calories from your diet, or burn off 3,500 calories through exercise.
Fitness experts recommend 30 minutes of activity, such as brisk walking,
at least five times a week to look and feel better. A 30 minute walk
will burn up to 150 calories.
A healthy, balanced diet doesn't mean making sacrifices. Fresh fruits
and vegetables are a delicious alternative to high-fat foods. When you
crave a snack, pass up the chips and sweets, and choose nuts, carrot
sticks or other treats that add nutrition and fiber to your diet.
Robert W. Westermeyer, Ph.D. suggests:
Many people who stop smoking do so "cold turkey." As is the case with most
addictive habits, this approach to change is not suitable for everyone and often
leads to frustration and feelings of defeat.
Heavy smoking is different from other addictive habits in that the behavior
often becomes strongly associated with a variety of situations. Certain times of
the day, certain mood states, certain places, even certain people become
associated with smoking. Therefore, stopping all at once often times leads to an
onslaught of urges and cravings which occur throughout the day. This can be
quite overwhelming, if not intolerable, leading to relapse and self-statements
like, "This habit is stronger than me. What’s the use?"
Gradual reduction is a viable alternative for some people for the following
- It enables you to develop urge control skills at a
manageable pace, starting with the easiest smoking
situations and, with success, moving on to stronger urge
situations. This approach can be quite empowering and have a
- Learning which situations are most difficult to tolerate
without tobacco enables you to understand "the meaning" of
the habit (e.g. boredom reduction, stress reduction, social
influence), so that you can begin to modify your lifestyle
by substituting more healthy alternatives .
- An "all or nothing" approach to habit change often
leaves people alternating between total abstinence and heavy
smoking. By learning to cope with urges in specific
situations, lapses can be caught early on and coping
responses can be initiated so that a slip does not become a
full blown relapse.
- Some people prefer to moderate their smoking
("chipping") as opposed to quitting altogether. By learning
to control urges in particular situations, many people can
learn to limit their smoking to specific situations.
Below are the basic guidelines for smoking reduction:
- Monitor your smoking for a week. Do not attempt to cut back
during this time. Monitor the situations in which smoking occurs
(for example, on break at work after meeting). Also monitor the
mood you experienced prior to use (for example, anxiety,
boredom, happiness). Rate how strong the urge was (e.g. 0=
little or no urge -- 5= extremely strong urge).
- Determine which situations tend to have the least intense
urges and occur in response to the least intense emotions.
Decide to cut back by one cigarette for two or three days. The
following techniques can be useful for decreasing the potency of
- Decatastrophize. Urges can be overwhelming. Remind
yourself of the following: "No one ever died from an urge."
"With success in avoiding urges, they will occur less
frequently and less intensely." "I’ve coped with worse, I’ll
get through this for sure." etc.
- Dispute expectancies. Learn to recognize what you expect
tobacco to do for you when you experience an urge. You might
be thinking, "I’ll feel much better if I light up." Put
those expectancies in perspective by responding with
statements that highlight the negative consequences of
lighting up and the benefits of avoiding giving in.
- Distraction. Practice shifting your attention during
strong urges. In and of itself, distraction is often
unhelpful, but after decatastrophizing and disputing
expectancies effectively the urges often decrease to a level
where distraction is possible.
- Monitor consequences of smoking avoidance. People often
notice some negative changes when giving up a habit. Some
feel like they have lost a passion and wonder how they will
cope without it. These feelings are not irrational. Smoking,
like any addictive habit, endures because of the positive
consequences. It will be important for you to develop other
passions, or you will be left with an unbalanced lifestyle.
Others notice an increase of stress? Try to develop
alternative methods for dealing with stress, e.g. exercise,
meditation, imagery, relaxation techniques.
- As you become successful with the initial situation, move on
to others, always keeping change efforts at a manageable level
(most people find eliminating three or four cigarettes per week
- Manage lapses. A slip does not have to lead to a full blown
relapse. If you backslide in an area you previously mastered,
tell yourself that it is "no big deal." Try to "nip a slip" in
the bud. Don’t allow yourself to entertain such thoughts as
"Well, I failed. what’s the use, I might as well have another
smoke." Alternative self-statements include: "Well, I slipped
this morning. It was a stressful day and I just lost control. I
feel less stressed now and can get back on track. I need to put
my efforts into stress reduction. If I can keep myself from
smoking heavily for the rest of the day this will have been a
tremendous success." Detailed monitoring of the lapse can
provide you with useful information as to areas in which you
need to put more effort.