Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Quitting Smoking

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff/Feature photo by Kimberly Cecchini

Can Somebody Put Out That Fire? My Bank Account is Going Up in Smoke!

Would you like to have an extra $3,120.75 in your pocket for the holidays? No, this is not a “work from home” or “get rich quick” gimmick. It is the annual cost that a one pack per day smoker in New Jersey spends. Smoking not only increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer, it can really burn a hole in your wallet. And did you know that for each cigarette a person smokes, it can reduce their lifespan by 11 minutes? With 20 cigarettes in every pack, that adds up to a whole lot of minutes and starts stretching into hours. There’s no dollar value that can get that time back.

Let’s not forget about the indirect costs such as home fresheners ($10/month) and higher dental, health, and life insurance costs. If that’s not enough to get you or someone you love feeling the pinch, how about the fact that a smoker’s car sells for approximately 9% less than a non-smoker’s car?  For a $10,000 vehicle, that is $900 less in your pocket. Additionally, homebuyers are also less likely to purchase a house that smells like an ashtray. With the housing market still in critical condition, it may require the seller to replace carpets, paint the walls, or deodorize the house to get buyers interested.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know To Stop Your Wallet From Going Up in Smoke:   

  1. Don’t wing it. Once you make the decision to quit, create a plan. Know why you are you doing it: money, health, loved ones, all of the above. Know what resources are at your disposal– support groups or blogs–so you do not have to reinvent the wheel.   Know how you are you going to do it: gradually, cold turkey, nicotine patch. Know how you will deal with intense cravings so you don’t succumb to those intense urges. Afterall, as they said in GI Joe “Knowing is half the battle.”
  2. Commit. Write out your plan and sign it, like a contract. Consider having witnesses so you further cement that commitment. By including your family, friends, and co-workers they can provide support and encouragement.
  3. Get through the cravings. The average, “intense” craving lasts 3 minutes. However those 180 seconds can feel like an eternity. I have heard several of my patients attest to the power of taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on their favorite person, place or thing. Other tips to distract yourself can include taking a walk, keeping your hands busy (squeeze a ball, play with a paperclip, send an email, call a friend), using an oral substitute (mint, hard candy, celery stick, gum, carrot, sunflower seeds), and drinking water (may decrease the urge).
  4. Expect an initial tough road. The first 2 days have been shown to be the most difficult. But knowing that can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Consider creating distractions such as socializing, taking a road trip, or a mini-vacation. But do not pack up those cigarettes!
  5. Spoil yourself. With the $3,120.75 a year that you are saving, consider living a little. How about that cell phone upgrade, taking a trip, or buying a new wardrobe? What about a retirement fund? Did you know that the cost of smoking per decade is $31,207.50? Over 30 years, if you compounded the interest even at just 3%, you would have over $146,000! Now that’s a whole lot of cheddar.
  6. Do not give up. If you fail (I hope not), try, try, try again. Literally and figuratively, your life is at stake. Go back to the drawing board and get to the bottom of things. By doing so, you will place yourself in a better position to quit the next time around.

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Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.