30 October 2018
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to refocus on reducing your lung cancer risk. This month, we’re encouraging South Australians to challenge themselves to quit for 30 days and experience the immediate benefits. Most of us are aware that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. In fact, it’s the cause of up to 90 per cent of cases in men, and 65 per cent in women—and the more you smoke, the higher your risk.
This also means that as soon as you quit, you’ll instantly be doing your body good. Over time, the body is able to repair an impressive amount of the damage caused by cigarette smoke, and ultimately lower your lung cancer risk.
Whether you’re starting to get concerned about your health, or would just like to see whether you can still go without for a few weeks, November is a great time to start leading a healthier lifestyle.
Have a plan
Take the time to think about why you smoke, when you smoke, and how it makes you feel. Is it when you’re stressed, when you get up in the morning, or when you have a drink, for example? When you understand more about how a reliance on nicotine impacts your body and your actions, you’ll be able to make a plan. For the first few days at least, you might focus on other ways to relieve stress and reduce your triggers, such as replace your morning coffee with a glass of water, or staying away from social situations and people who often make you reach for a cigarette. We can help you figure out your triggers and how you can avoid them.
Quitting smoking is as much about psychological addiction as it is physical. The good news is that this means simple tricks like distracting yourself during a craving, or taking up a new project, can be extremely effective in helping you to get through the first weeks of quitting. If you need some distractions, visit quitlinesa.org.au/i-want-to-stay-quit/distractions/
Quitting smoking might seem like a mountain to climb, but every win should be a chance to celebrate and to look at how far you’ve come. Maybe you’ve made it your first day without smoking, or your first week. Bit by bit, you’re on your way to becoming a non-smoker. Give yourself a treat, like relaxing in front of a movie, buying some fresh flowers with the money you’ve saved, or going out to dinner. You’ve earned it! If you want to brag to someone about how well you are doing, our counsellors love to hear how you are going.
Support can double your chances
At every step of the way, know that experienced Quitline counsellors are ready to help on 13 7848. They’re not there to judge, nor to force you to quit if you don’t feel ready. Instead, they’ll discuss what you want to do, and practical steps to get there.
Make it to 30 days, and you may be surprised just how much your health has already improved. Specifically, you’ll notice coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath all decrease. The lungs have also significantly healed themselves, and your cilia (the delicate hair-like structures inside the lungs) have recovered enough to help push mucus out of the lungs and better fight infection.
Why stop now when you’re on a roll? Quitline counsellors are happy to schedule regular check-ins if you want to stay smoke free. Just call them on 13 7848.