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Still Smoking? Let This Be the Year You Kick the Habit!

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When you picked up that first cigarette, you probably had no idea you were entering into a lengthy love-hate relationship that would last for years, or maybe even decades. Maybe you were young and hoping to look cool to your peers. Maybe you were in a phase where you watched a lot of old movies and thought you could channel the Hollywood greats.

Whatever your reasons were on that fateful day, you’re continuing to do something that is hazardous to your health, and to the health of people around you. You know that. By now, EVERYBODY knows that. And yet, you still light up, day after day. It may be too late for New Years’ resolutions, but it’s not too late to make 2015 the year you finally kick the habit!

Talk to your Doctor

As with most significant changes aimed at bettering your health, an appointment with your doctor should be your first step. If your last attempt to quit smoking was a long time ago, you may be surprised at the number and variety of prescription aids to quit smoking that are now available. While these prescription treatments may be excluded from your health and dental insurance benefits, many provincial plans offer some sort of coverage for smoking cessation products.

Even if they are not covered, you should compare the short-term cost of a medication to help you quit smoking against the cost of continuing to buy cigarettes. The cost of a program to quit smoking will come out as the clear winner in any financial test – guaranteed! That’s before you consider the cost of treating any health conditions you may have to treat as the result of smoking.

Other Helpful Strategies

Prescription treatments can help manage some of the unpleasant physical side-effects of quitting smoking, like nicotine withdrawal and cravings. However, some of the biggest challenges for newly ex-smokers to overcome are the mental ones. Here are a few tips to help you clear those hurdles:

  • Change your routine. If you used to smoke on your way to work, change your route for a little while. If you associate smoking with coffee, give up your morning cup until it no longer triggers cravings. Anything you can do to disassociate one habit from the other will be helpful.
  • Clean and scrub. On your “quit day” clean and scrub all of your ashtrays, including the one in the car. Consider throwing out the ones you have at home, because you may well be the last smoker you know. If you’re not, your friends who still smoke shouldn’t be too offended if you ask them to take it outside.
  • Embark on a new program. Celebrate the extra time you have every day with a new class at the gym, or take a cooking class for a new type of cuisine. Distraction is the key, especially early on in your new, smoke-free life.

For more help, visit the Healthy Canadians website. It’s filled with tools prepared by the Government of Canada to help you quit smoking today.

You and your doctor can come up with the right program to help you quit smoking, with or without the help of your health and dental insurance plan. You will never know how badly smoking made you feel until you stop!

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