Quitting smoking is no easy thing. Fears and misconceptions about quitting smoking can make things even more difficult. Luckily, many of these fears are untrue — or at the least, exaggerated. Check out some of the debunked myths below.
Myth Number One: Quitting smoking causes substantial weight gain.
Although weight gain can be common after quitting smoking, it doesn’t mean that you’ll gain a lot of weight. Typically, people can gain about 5 to 10 pounds after they quit smoking, often because they are more hungry after quitting. However, a recent study found that after that, on average, smokers tended to gain a pound a year — which is pretty comparable to those who do not smoke.
Even if you do gain a couple extra pounds, it won’t hurt your health as much as smoking will. Quitters who gain a few pounds still have a 50% lower risk of heart disease than smokers.
If you’re worried about weight gain, consider having a weight loss plan in place. Start a new exercise program before you quit, or begin making small, healthy changes such as cutting down on total daily calories.
Myth Number Two: Quitting smoking is Expensive.
To dispel this myth, you have to think about long-term costs. Although at the onset it may seem expensive (for example, a two-week pack of patches may cost around $30, compared to a pack of cigarettes costing around $12). However, with a cost of $12, a pack-a-day smoker will pay over $4,300 a year to feed their addiction. And that does not factor in potential health care costs related to smoking (for example, your risk of heart attack, stroke, and lung cancer are all substantially lowered after you quit).
Myth Number Three: I’ve smoked for too long — it won’t fix anything.
This one is easy to solve. It is never too late to quit. Even after age 80, people can live healthier after they give up cigarettes. Ex-smokers will have fewer illnesses such as cold and flu, have healthier heart and blood pressure, and improved circulation. Even if you already have cancer, quitting smoking often makes it more likely the treatment will be successful and that the patient will have fewer side effects.
Myth Number Four: Without cigarettes, I won’t be able to de-stress.
This one is pretty pervasive. Yet studies have found that in reality, smoking causes long-term stress levels to rise. The only stress is actually relieves is the withdrawal between cigarettes. Other studies have found that smokers experience higher levels of stress between cigarettes, but lower levels over all when they quit.
Thinking about quitting? Why not try it out for 24 hours? The Great American Smokeout is happening November 16. You can contact the Health Promotion Program for more information.
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