Recommit to Your New Year's Resolutions
As we ring in the new year, millions of people make resolutions to change their lives for the better, hoping to lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with their families or make other life improvements. The Web can aid you on your journey, with advice, resources and inspiration that will help you follow through with—or recommit to—your New Year's resolutions.
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Quitting smoking improves the health of your entire body and saves hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars a year. This section shows you the benefits from quitting smoking, helps you find a cessation method that’s right for you, and guides you through the quitting process.
- Quitting cold turkey or gradually cutting back may seem like the cheapest and easiest way to stop smoking, but cessation Web sites discourage these approaches because they don’t often work. Research shows that fewer than 10 percent of smokers succeed at quitting cold turkey. It’s generally recommended to combine at least two approaches (counseling and nicotine replacement, for example).
- Be sure you talk to your doctor about your choice to quit smoking, even if you aren’t seeking a prescription drug. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch or gum, could interfere with medications you’re taking. Your doctor may also have other resources to share.
- Though the Web doesn’t have a comprehensive, centralized list of local smoking cessation programs, check the Web site of your nearby hospital or city or county health department to see whether it offers classes.
For an overview on smoking cessation …
The American Cancer Society
has a “Guide to Quitting Smoking” that explains why it’s so hard. This lengthy guide covers the effects of smoking on the body and lists social and economic reasons to quit. It describes what happens to your body when you stop smoking (for example, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal after only 12 hours), and the immediate rewards of quitting. This guide also tells you what to look for in smoking cessation programs and tells you the best way to quit by assessing your smoking habits in a six-question quiz
For reasons to quit smoking …
is a site run by a tobacco-cessation educator. If you have the stomach for it, check out the gallery of people who have died from or are currently fighting tobacco-related illnesses, including those caused by smokeless tobacco. Then scroll down to view pictures of diseased lungs and people in the hospital. It’s not the most pleasant site you’ll visit today, but it is effective.
To determine the best method for you …
The American Academy of Family Physicians
has a number of smoking cessation resources, including this “Why Do I Smoke?” quiz that helps you figure out your reasons and offers alternatives. For people who smoke because of stress, for example, the site recommends other ways to manage tension.
To get started with quitting …
To learn more about techniques used to quit smoking …
The National Cancer Institute
is part of the National Institutes of Health. Its Web site has a brief overview of the methods used to quit smoking, such as the types of counseling available and nicotine replacement products.
American Family Physician
is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians. It has an article that outlines the different quitting methods in more detail and rates their effectiveness. Another table includes the types of nicotine replacement therapy, their advantages and disadvantages, who shouldn’t take which medication, and their average daily cost. The article is a little more technical but still readable.
For information on nicotine replacement therapy …
is a nonprofit healthcare information site with a section that also outlines the different types of nicotine replacement available. This site describes who should and shouldn’t use the different products, how they work, how well they work, and their side effects.
To find help and support while quitting …
has a database of meetings throughout the United States and 30 other countries around the world. When we checked, some states only had one or two meetings listed and a few states (Alabama, Arkansas, and Rhode Island) had none. If there are no meetings in your area, use the “Starter Kit
” link on the left to learn how to start one. NA also offers meetings via the Internet and telephone.
The National Cancer Institute
has a page of fact sheets that cover many aspects of managing life without smoking. Topics covered include handling irritability and frustration, getting through the morning without a cigarette, and many more.
has a “Relapse Prevention Library” to discourage relapses. The main message through these articles is “Never take another puff.”
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