Kick the Habit

Thursday, January 1, 2009; 12:00 AM

THURSDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- If you plan to kick the smoking habit this New Year, the American Lung Association recommends you start with a solid smoking-cessation plan and be prepared for anything.

"Be aware that smokers have different experiences when they quit," Dr. Norman Edelman, the American Lung Association's chief medical officer, said in a news release. "Some people may feel tired or even easily excitable. Others may feel lightheaded, nervous or irritable, and experience headaches in addition to craving tobacco or sweets. It's important to know that these feelings are normal, and may last for several weeks, but eventually they will pass."

His group offered these tips to those wanting to quit:

Discuss over-the-counter and prescription medications to help you quit smoking with your doctor or pharmacist.Pick a date to quit, preferably at a time when stress will not be at a peak, mark it on the calendar and stick to it.Exercise daily. Exercise not only combats the weight gain that often comes with quitting smoking but it also helps to improve your mood and energy levels. Even just walking helps ease the stress of quitting. Maintain a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Seek help and support from family, friends and co-workers. Consider joining a stop-smoking program or support group.

"Quitting smoking is one of the most important things that you can do for your health," Edelman said. "While half of adult smokers will die of lung disease, it's important to remember that it's never too late to quit."

More information

The American Lung Association has more about how to quit smoking.

SOURCE: American Lung Association, news release, December 2008

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