A Driver’s Guide to Health: Tips to Quit Smoking
We all know about the serious health problems that can be caused by smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*, cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases.
A study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health** revealed that about 51% of long-haul truck drivers are smokers. For truck drivers who spend many hours at the wheel and away from home, the negative health effects of smoking can be especially dangerous.
We understand how difficult it is to quit smoking. That’s why we are here to help you through the process! But, you must have a strong desire to quit. Otherwise, it is likely that it will not last. If you are interested in starting the journey toward completely quitting smoking, let’s start by helping you find reasons and motivation to quit smoking – ones that are strong enough to outweigh your urge to smoke. First, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I dislike about smoking?
- What do I miss out on when I smoke? (Money, health, etc.)
- How does my smoking affect my family and me now and in the future if I continue?
- How will my life improve when I quit?
Here are some reasons why you should quit smoking:
- Reduce risk of heart attack, respiratory issues, lung disease, chronic bronchitis, stroke, at least 13 kinds of cancer including cancer of mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreatic, and more.
- Protect your family from secondhand smoking.
- Set an example for your family.
- Feel and look better.
- Save money. If you smoke one pack a day, you spend over $2,000 on cigarettes each year!
- Improve overall quality of life.
Are you motivated to build your plan to quit smoking now? Here are the steps and tips for quitting smoking.
- Get Help. Let your loved ones know of your plan. Ask the important people in your life for support and tell them how they can help. You can also consult a doctor or join classes and online communities.
- Withdrawals. Learn about the withdrawals and how to deal with it. Smoking is an addiction, and you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, headaches, feeling down, restless, or irritable, having trouble sleeping and concentrating, etc. This might be uncomfortable, but, know that it is both normal and temporary. The withdrawal symptoms are not hurting your health, and they will go away after a few days or weeks.
- Triggers. Identify what triggers your urge to smoke and look for ways to remove the triggers or rework your routines. For example, if you tend to smoke after meals, occupy your time and mind with something else after a meal by going for a walk, chewing gum, or brushing your teeth. Make a list of everything that makes you want to smoke. For each item, come up with a way you can remove or deal with the trigger.
- Get busy. Look for ways to distract yourself from smoking such as exercising, finding a new hobby, etc. When you have a craving, try drinking more water, eating hard candy, listening to music, playing a game on your phone, calling a friend, etc. Within 3 to 5 minutes, the craving will go away.
- Clean Up. Remove all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and anything else that reminds you of smoking. Deep clean your house to remove the smell and residue of smoking from your clothes, carpets, draperies, upholstery, etc. Do the same for your car.
- Keep Trying. If you give into smoking the first time you try to quit, don’t be discouraged and keep trying. Many smokers take a few tries before they succeed. But, remember to learn from your mistake and commit again. What specific instance or emotion made you give in to smoking at that moment? Then, set a date to quit again within a few weeks.
- Celebrate! Set multiple goals and reward yourself each time you achieve the goals. When you quit smoking, you save money. Get yourself a gift that you always wanted, go on a fancy date with your significant other, or go on a vacation!
If you are a Carter driver, Carter Express provides access to U.S. board-certified doctors, to whom you can request a consultation when you or your eligible dependents have needs. Through Teledoc, you can participate in a tobacco cessation program that includes nurse coach support, physician treatment, and tobacco cessation content to give you a solid plan to help you quit smoking. Find out more at carter-express.com/driver-wellness.
Don’t give up! It will be difficult at first, but it will definitely be worth all of your effort in the long run.