(StatePoint) When you quit smoking you can lower your risk for a number of serious health problems, including lung disease, lung cancer and heart disease. But kicking the habit isn’t easy, especially if you’ve smoked for a long time.
The good news is that despite the many physical challenges associated with quitting, millions of Americans successfully do so each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to one successful quitter, Michelle Le, the blogger behind Diet & Fries, there are key steps you can take to help you stop smoking:
• Write it down: Start a journal. Include highlights of the day, your self-maintenance strategies and what you’ve learned from today’s experience.
• Take a breath: Do breathing exercises if you’re having a stressful day to help calm your mind. Just a few minutes is all you need, so check out short free online videos for guidance.
• Talk to friends. Having a support system is key to breaking a habit. Find someone you trust to share with.
• Distract yourself: Get involved in fun activities like working out, kickball and softball to make new friends and live a healthier lifestyle.
• Seek out expert help. The team at Walgreens can help you build a personalized plan to quit on your terms. Their resources include tips and advice, a pharmacy chat feature available 24/7, as well as tools to discover the true impact of smoking on your health and wallet based on your usage. What’s more, Walgreens carries a variety of smoking cessation products that deliver controlled, therapeutic doses of nicotine to help with difficult physical symptoms and relieve cravings. Each gum lasts 30 minutes and you can chew up to 20 pieces a day. This is a great way to keep your mouth busy. There are also lozenges available if you don’t like gum.
• Take a walk. Take a 20-minute walk during your breaks, especially when you get hit with cravings. This could be a good time to have some Walgreens smoking cessation gum.
Karen Martinez, the creator behind the blog Mamma Bear Says, encouraged her father to quit smoking when she was a little girl. At the time, she had little knowledge to offer her dad through his quitting journey. Now that she’s an adult, she understands how difficult this process was and is actively raising awareness about different resources that can help smokers quit successfully. As Martinez points out, you can use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to making quitting more affordable.
“It’s important to know that you can use your HSA or FSA to pay for smoking cessation products. These pre-tax accounts are to be used to pay for healthcare-related expenses, but if you don’t use it, you lose it. Every year millions of dollars in health savings funds are forfeited by Americans because of the uncertainty of what is covered.”
To access Walgreen’s library of resources and learn more about their smoking cessation products, visit walgreens.com.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but the support of loved ones, experts and smoking aids can make it a little less challenging, helping you enjoy the health benefits of a smoke-free life.
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