Quitting smoking is a popular New Years resolution. Research shows that the pain is worth the gain, as those who quit smoking improve their quality of life.
As we approach the end of 2011, putting up the 2012 calendar prompts many of us to contemplate our New Year’s resolutions. Getting fit, losing weight, and quitting smoking are annual favourites on our resolution lists.
Unfortunately, if your resolution is to quit smoking, be forewarned: only 15 percent of people who quit are still smoke-free six months after quitting.
Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?
The nicotine found in cigarettes is a powerful, highly addictive drug. It doesn’t take long to create a dependency in the body and brain. Nicotine
- makes us feel more alert (it’s a stimulant)
- creates feelings of focus and calmness
- makes us feel happier (it acts as an antidepressant)
- makes us feel sick if we quit smoking (due to withdrawal symptoms)
But don’t use these excuses to scare you off from quitting. New research shows that the pain is worth the gain, as the benefits of quitting smoking outweigh any discomfort and improve the overall quality of life.
A recent study of 1,504 smokers who quit smoking examined their overall quality of life one and three years after quitting.
Benefits of quitting smoking
Many smokers are concerned that their quality of life will change in a negative way if they quit smoking. But researchers found that those who successfully quit smoking experienced noticeable improvements to their quality of life. Areas studied included
- life philosophy
- love relationships
- relationships with children and relatives
- neighbourhood and community involvement
Compared with smokers, those who quit smoking scored higher on measures of overall quality of life, health, and positive emotions, both one year and three years after quitting. By the third year they also reported having less stress.
Get help to quit
Excellent resources are available to help you become a successful loser.
- The Lung Association (lung.ca)
- Canadian Cancer Society’s smokershelpline.ca
- your health care practitioner
- your pharmacist
- local support groups
Choose a date and quit—you don’t have to wait until January 1 to change your life.