What are the ways to quit smoking?  |  Health

What are the ways to quit smoking? | Health

According to the World Health Organization, cigarettes contain more than 4,000 chemicals in a single cigarette, ‘a disease that needs to be treated!’ While the WHO states that the increase in smoking worldwide has been frightening in recent years, the existence of those who quit smoking before the disease knocks on the door and roll up their sleeves for a healthy life gives hope.

Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hacer Kuzu Okur made a calendar of the benefits waiting for those who quit smoking, gave important warnings and suggestions.

Cigarette smoking is a poison that has been proven over and over again by research on heart cancer. From tar to ammonia, from arsenic to pesticides, it contains more than 4,500 chemicals, in other words poison, and it starts to hit our health from the first breath. Stating that some of these substances cause cancer formation and some cause cancer progression, Chest Diseases Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hacer Kuzu Okur said, “When the smoke hits the mouth at a speed of 200-250 km per hour and at a temperature of over 100 degrees, it reaches the mouth, tongue, esophagus, respiratory tract, lungs and stomach. The harmful substances in the smoke begin to damage many organs such as blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys and bladder within seconds.

According to WHO, ‘a disease that needs to be treated!’

Emphasizing that the damages of smoking are seen in the respiratory system the most and the fastest, and according to the latest data of the World Health Organization, one-fourth of all cancers are caused by smoking, Assoc. Dr. Hacer Kuzu Okur said, “The World Health Organization accepts smoking as a disease that needs to be treated. It has been shown that the risk of cancer and heart disease increases in non-smokers who are passively exposed to smoke. The cause of 90 percent of the most deadly lung cancer is smoking. Smokers are 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. “A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day is 10 times more likely to develop cancer, while those who smoke two packs of cigarettes increase that risk 25 times.” Providing a striking example based on two people of the same age and gender who have smoked for 15 years, Chest Diseases Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hacer Kuzu Okur said, “With one of these two people continuing to smoke, 12 minutes of their lifespan continues to decrease with each cigarette, while the risk of getting diseases increases. “Continuing to smoke reduces the life expectancy of a person by 15 years compared to their peers,” he says. On the other hand, Emphasizing that positive developments are experienced in the body of the person who quits smoking in the first 20 minutes, Assoc. Dr. Hacer Kuzu Okur explains these positive developments and improvements with a calendar;

What are the changes in our body when we quit smoking?

In the first 20 minutes:

Differences begin in the body of the person who quits smoking from the first minutes. While a healthy person’s heart rate normally beats 80-100 times per minute, it can cause a serious problem such as high blood pressure in smokers with a pulse rate above 100. However, blood pressure and pulse return to normal in the first 20 minutes after quitting smoking. The increase in temperature in the hands and feet also improves. Blood pressure is approaching normal limits.

In the first 8 hours:

Bad breath, oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal in 8 hours.

At the end of day 1:

The risk of heart attack begins to decrease within 24 hours.

At the end of the 2nd day:

Taste and sense of smell begin to increase in 48 hours.

At the end of the 3rd day:

The person who quits smoking begins to feel that the problem of shortness of breath begins to decrease and breathing becomes easier within 3 days. As the carbon monoxide gas in the blood begins to decrease, problems such as fatigue and headaches also decrease.

After 2-12 weeks:

Within 2-12 weeks of quitting smoking, circulation starts to improve, if there is a cough complaint, it decreases, and the sputum problem is reduced by half. As the immune system begins to strengthen, walking becomes easier and lung functions begin to improve.

Within 3-9 months:

Within 3-9 months after quitting, cough and shortness of breath decrease, the risk of infection decreases and he feels an increase in energy.

1 year later:

After one year, the risk of developing heart disease and heart attack is reduced by half.

After 5 years:

After five years, the risk of COPD is halved and the risk of stroke is reduced.

10 years later:

Lip, trachea, esophageal cancer risk is reduced by half at the end of the 10th year.

15 years later:

At the end of 15 years, the risk of cardiovascular disease becomes equal to the person who has never drunk.

After 15-20 years:

The risk of lung cancer decreases by 50-90% after 15-20 years.

How to quit smoking

Acıbadem Maslak Hospital Chief Physician and Smoking Cessation Polyclinic Specialist Prof. Dr. Çağlar Çuhadaroğlu talked about ways to quit smoking.

Nicotine gums and patches

The basis of this treatment is based on sticking the nicotine patch to the body, which is determined by the amount of cigarettes consumed by the person. The amount of nicotine in these bands is also gradually reduced. There are rumors that nicotine patches harm the heart, but they are not true. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, the patch provided instead contains much less nicotine. While the success of quitting smoking with behavioral treatments alone remains at the level of 15-20%, the rate rises to 30% when these treatments are combined with nicotine.


During a study, it was determined that the bupropion active ingredient antidepressants given to Vietnam veterans reduced the enjoyment of smoking and alcohol. Nicotine receptors (anatomical structures that perceive different types of stimuli coming from the external environment or inside the organism and transmit them to the central nervous system via nerve fibers) are formed in the brain when smoking, causing the release of dopamine and noradrenaline, known as happiness hormones. The body uses these hormones, takes them back from the same place, cleans them again and uses them again. Undo points are also ‘reuptake gates’. Bupropion slows these gates. When reuptake is slow, they are more present in the brain and their effects last longer.


When a person smokes, nicotine binds to nicotine receptors in the brain, causing their number to increase. This reinforces the addiction. Nicotine receptors are alive and multiply. Varenicline, on the other hand, binds to the receptors and causes less dopamine to be released, so it does not stimulate new nicotine receptors. The lifetime of the nicotine receptor is 15 days. With this drug, it is aimed to inhibit the proliferation of nicotine receptors and to return the person to the time when he had never smoked in about 20 days.

Although their methods are different, all treatments have a few things in common. The first of these is the duration of treatment. It is recommended to continue the treatments in the form of pills for at least 8 weeks, increasing the duration to 12 weeks if necessary.

Develop new behavior patterns

One of the most important rules in quitting smoking is to develop new behaviors. A few moves to do when the need to smoke makes it easier to get rid of this harmful habit.

Some of those:

  • Ventilate your environment frequently.

  • When you think you are unable to focus on your work, breathe for two minutes and start over.

  • Eliminate ashtrays.

  • The moment you decide to quit smoking, change the brand you smoke.

  • Change the perfume you use. Because the perfume combined with the smell of cigarette becomes a personal feature of you.

  • Ask your friends to support you.

  • “Why do you smoke? Why do you want to quit? ” Create a list in which you answer their questions. Check out that list whenever you want to smoke.

  • Detect pairs such as cigarette-coffee, cigarette-tea and cigarette-raki and try to make them ‘non-smoking’.

  • Remember that using rosaries and stress balls can help.

  • Designate the day you quit smoking as a special day, such as a birthday. So you have a good reason to celebrate.

Once you succeed, your health begins to visibly improve. In the first 24 hours of not smoking, your risk of heart attack begins to decrease. So what’s the way to say goodbye to this habit forever?

mindfulness meditation

According to research, meditating helps break the habit of smoking – even when you’re not trying.

Start on monday

A study by Google shows that smokers are more likely to search for ways to quit the habit earlier in the week. Searches like “quit smoking” are mostly made on Mondays.

go to the gym

Exercise reduces your nicotine needs due to increased serotonin and dopamine secretions.

Learn to associate smoking with bad smells

According to a study, cigarettes are less attractive to the brain when associated with a foul odor. Behavioral changes in the brain can also occur during sleep.

Watch ads with ex-smokers

Thousands of people quit smoking thanks to advertisements showing advice from former smokers.

Start yoga, try relaxation techniques

Since smoking is often seen as a way to get rid of stress, it is useful to try relaxation techniques that will have the same effect.

eat natural things

Fruit and vegetable snacks lead smokers towards a tobacco-free lifestyle.

lift weights

Studies show that smokers who follow a 12-week weight program have double the success rate of quitting smoking.

Consider your pets

Studies show that by smoking, you not only endanger your own health, but also your pet’s. Smoking alongside cats and dogs significantly increases the risk of various cancers.

Use consulting services

Group, individual or telephone consultations increase your chances of quitting smoking by at least 11%.

let go at once

According to studies, 9 out of 10 smokers give up smoking completely. The side effects are more intense; but it is shorter.

get a new hobby

Engaging in exciting activities activates the reward part of the brain that nicotine also triggers.

Give hypnosis a chance

There is not very strong evidence about the effect of hypnosis on smokers; however, the studies applied on this method are extremely positive. Worth to try.

Write down why you want to quit

Jotting down things helps us remember them better. You can encourage yourself by writing down your reasons for quitting smoking and thus remembering it constantly.

Don’t completely stop thinking about smoking

It may be helpful at first to stop thinking about smoking altogether; but it won’t take long. When you stop suppressing these thoughts, you can start drinking more than you normally would.

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