Tips to Quit Smoking and Reduce Your Risk for Lung Cancer

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. In 2015, approximately 27 percent of cancer-related deaths were attributed to lung cancer. Further, smoking accounts for 87 percent of lung cancer deaths. This makes smokers approximately 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer that a non-smoker.

Quitting isn’t easy. But there are a few steps you can take today to help you begin the fight.

Top ten tips to quit smoking

Find a compelling reason
Choose a reason that is stronger than your urge to smoke. It could be to lower your lung cancer risk or to protect your family from secondhand smoke.
Determine the best nicotine-replacement therapy for you
Nicotine withdrawal is difficult and those who choose to quit cold turkey are more likely to relapse than those who quit their nicotine addiction more gradually. Nicotine patches or gum can help during those first few weeks.
Get help from your friends
Tell your friends and family about your plans to quit smoking or join a support group. They can encourage you to keep going.
Find a new way to relax
Many people smoke to help reduce anxiety. Once you quit, it’s important to fill that void with a new activity like exercising, gardening or connecting with friends.
Avoid stressful situations
For the first few weeks, it’s important to stay in a calm environment. This will help you stay focused on your goal.
Limit activities you enjoy while smoking
If you associate drinking alcohol or coffee with smoking, try limiting your intake during the first few weeks, as they will be the most difficult.
Do not give up
If your first attempt is unsuccessful, keep trying and don’t get discouraged. Instead, use it as an opportunity to recommit to quitting.
Get an app and use it
There are a lot of great apps to help you quit smoking. These apps keep you on track and let you how much money you’re saving by not smoking.
Drink acidic fruit juice for the first few days
This will help accelerate the process of removing the alkaloid nicotine from your blood and normalize your blood sugar levels.
Focus on the health benefits
When you quit smoking, you significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer. In addition, your heart rate normalizes, carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal and your risk of heart attack significantly reduces.

If you’re trying to quit smoking or would like to learn more about your individual cancer risk, contact the START Center for Cancer Care at (210) 745-6841 to schedule an appointment with a cancer care specialist.