Why Smoking Cessation is the Best Decision You'll Make

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

Why Smoking Cessation is the Best Decision You'll Make

Smoking is a major risk factor for a variety of health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, and it's never too late to start. This blog post will equip you with the knowledge and tools to embark on your smoke-free journey.

Table of Contents

Smoking Cessation ICD

ICD stands for International Classification of Diseases. When a doctor diagnoses you with a smoking-related illness, they might use an ICD code to categorize your condition. Here are a couple of relevant examples:

  • F17.1 Tobacco Dependence: This code signifies dependence on or addiction to tobacco.
  • J69.9 Tobacco Use Disorder, Unspecified: This code is used for tobacco use disorders that don't meet specific criteria for dependence.

While the ICD code might not be a direct motivator to quit, understanding the potential health consequences associated with smoking can be a powerful push towards a smoke-free future.

Smoking Cessation Methods

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting smoking. The best method depends on your individual preferences and needs. Here are some popular options you can explore:

Behavioral Techniques: Rewiring Habits

Changing your environment and behavior are crucial steps in quitting smoking. Here's how:

  • Create a Smoke-Free Zone: Eliminate all smoking triggers from your surroundings. This includes throwing away cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and avoiding places where smoking is common.
  • Identify Triggers: Recognize situations that make you crave cigarettes (e.g., coffee breaks, stress). Develop coping mechanisms – take a walk instead of a coffee break, or chew sugar-free gum instead of smoking.
  • Reward Yourself: Celebrate milestones and achievements during your smoke-free journey. This reinforces positive behavior and motivates you to continue.
  • Engage in Healthy Habits: Physical activity, deep breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques can help manage cravings and stress. Staying hydrated and eating healthy snacks can also be beneficial.
  • Avoid Temptations: Consider limiting alcohol and marijuana consumption, as they can weaken your resolve to quit.
  • Set a Quit Date: Choosing a specific date to quit provides focus and a clear starting point. Avoid stressful periods for your attempt.
  • Go Cold Turkey vs. Gradual Reduction: Quitting completely (cold turkey) is generally more effective than gradually reducing cigarettes.
say no to smoking

Medication and Therapy: Tailored Support

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline are medication options that can minimize withdrawal symptoms. These medications allow you to focus on behavioral changes. 

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): NRT comes in various forms like patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal sprays. They deliver nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. Combination therapy, using a long-acting patch with a short-acting option like gum, has shown high success rates.
  • Bupropion: This prescription medication, originally an antidepressant, has been shown to aid smoking cessation. It can be combined with NRT for increased effectiveness.
  • Varenicline: This prescription medication helps reduce cravings, makes smoking less rewarding, and improves long-term quit rates. It works by partially blocking nicotine receptors in the brain.
Important Considerations:
  • Consult your doctor before using any medication to ensure it's safe for you.
  • Be aware of potential side effects associated with each medication.

Therapies under investigation: Medications like cytisine, bromocriptine, and topiramate are being explored for smoking cessation.

Who Should Not Use These Methods?

Nicotine replacement therapy and medications are not typically recommended for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Non-daily smokers
  • Adolescents
  • Smokeless tobacco users

E-cigarettes: The effectiveness of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation programs is unclear. Additionally, concerns exist about their potential for addiction due to rapid nicotine delivery.

Remember: Talk to your doctor about the various options available to personalize your quit plan.

By combining behavioral strategies with medication support (if appropriate), you significantly increase your chances of successfully quitting smoking and embracing a healthier life.

The 5 R's of Smoking Cessation

The 5 R's are a motivational tool used by healthcare professionals to help individuals overcome the challenges of quitting smoking.

  • Relevance: Identify why quitting smoking is personally relevant to you. Is it to improve your health? Protect your loved ones from secondhand smoke?
  • Risks: Acknowledge the health risks associated with continued smoking. Write down a list of the negative consequences you want to avoid.
  • Rewards: Visualize the benefits of quitting smoking. This could include improved energy levels, better sense of smell and taste, or saving money.
  • Roadblocks: Identify situations or triggers that make you more likely to smoke. Develop coping strategies to avoid these triggers or manage them effectively.
  • Repeat: Change takes time and repetition. Don't get discouraged by setbacks. Refocus on your goals and recommit to your smoking cessation journey.

Quitting smoking is a challenging but incredibly rewarding endeavor. By understanding the benefits, exploring different cessation methods, and utilizing the 5 R's, you can increase your chances of success. Remember, there's no shame in seeking help. Talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional – they are there to support you every step of the way.

Stages of smoking cessation 

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. The benefits begin almost immediately and continue to occur over time. Here's a timeline highlighting some of the remarkable ways your body starts healing itself:

Within 20 Minutes:

  • Heart Rate Slows: Your heart rate starts returning to normal, reducing the strain on your cardiovascular system.

Within 12 Hours:

  • Carbon Monoxide Levels Drop: The body eliminates excess carbon monoxide, a harmful gas from cigarettes that reduces oxygen flow. This allows your blood to carry more oxygen throughout your body.

Within 1 Day:

  • Reduced Heart Attack Risk: The risk of heart attack starts to decrease as blood pressure lowers and oxygen levels rise.

Within 2 Days:

  • Enhanced Senses: Nerve endings responsible for taste and smell begin to heal, leading to a potential improvement in these senses.

Within 3 Days:

  • Easier Breathing: Bronchial tubes relax, allowing for easier breathing and potentially increased energy levels.

Within 2 Weeks:

  • Improved Circulation: Blood circulation starts to improve, making it easier for blood to reach your heart and muscles. Lung function also begins to show signs of improvement.

Within 1 Month:

  • Reduced Coughing and Shortness of Breath: Cilia, hair-like structures in the lungs, regain their function, helping to clear mucus and reduce respiratory issues.

Between 3-9 Months:

  • Increased Lung Function: Lung function improves by up to 10%, leading to better breathing and reduced coughing and wheezing.

After 1 Year:

  • Halved Risk of Heart Attack: Your risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease is cut in half compared to a smoker.

After 5 Years:

  • Reduced Cancer Risk: The risk of several cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and stroke, drops significantly.

After 10 Years:

  • Lung Cancer Risk Reduction: Your risk of developing and dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker. The risk of larynx and pancreatic cancer also decreases.

After 15 Years:

  • Heart Disease Risk Nearly Eliminated: Your risk of coronary heart disease becomes almost equal to someone who has never smoked.

These are just some of the incredible benefits your body experiences after quitting smoking. Every smoke-free day is a step towards a healthier you!

Understanding Withdrawal Symptoms When Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is a fantastic decision for your health, but it's not always easy. Your body has become accustomed to nicotine, and when you remove it, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. Remember, these are temporary and a sign your body is healing. Here's a breakdown of some common withdrawal symptoms:

Physical Adjustments:

  • Headaches and Nausea: Nicotine withdrawal can disrupt your body's natural balance, leading to headaches and nausea.

  • Tingling Sensations: As your circulation improves without cigarettes, you might experience tingling in your hands and feet.

  • Coughing and Sore Throat: Your lungs begin to clear out the mucus and debris built up from smoking, leading to a cough and sore throat. This discomfort is temporary and signifies your lungs are healing.

Changes in Appetite and Energy:

  • Increased Appetite and Weight Gain: Quitting smoking can boost your energy levels, leading to an increased appetite. Additionally, some people use food to manage the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking, which can contribute to weight gain.
  • Cravings for Nicotine: Nicotine is addictive, and your body will crave it when you quit. Cravings are typically strongest during the first two to four weeks.

Emotional Shifts:

  • Irritability, Frustration, and Anger: Giving up a long-held habit can be challenging. Emotional fluctuations like irritability, frustration, and anger are common during this transition.
  • Constipation: Nicotine influences the digestive system. When you quit, you might experience constipation as your body adjusts to the absence of nicotine.

Mental and Sleep Issues:

  • Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia: Smokers may have a higher risk of anxiety and depression, and quitting can temporarily worsen these symptoms. Insomnia is also common. If you experience significant depression, consult a healthcare professional for personalized treatment options, which might include therapy, medication, or alternative remedies like meditation.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: All the withdrawal symptoms can make it challenging to concentrate initially.

These withdrawal symptoms are temporary and a sign your body is adapting to a healthier lifestyle. Remember, you're not alone in this journey. There are resources and support systems available to help you through the process. Talk to your doctor about creating a personalized quit plan and managing withdrawal symptoms effectively.

seek help to quit smoking

When to see a doctor? 

Quitting smoking is a significant journey, and you don't have to go it alone. Consider talking to your doctor – they can be a powerful ally in your quest for a smoke-free life.

  • Personalized Guidance: Your doctor can discuss your individual situation and recommend the best approach for you. This may include exploring medication options to manage withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
  • Resource Connection: Doctors can connect you with local smoking cessation programs, support groups, or online resources tailored to your needs.


Quitting smoking is a powerful act of self-love. It takes courage, commitment, and a willingness to prioritize your health. While challenges may arise, the rewards are far-reaching. By taking the first step, you're investing in a healthier, happier future for yourself and potentially inspiring those around you. Remember, you have the strength to overcome cravings and reclaim control of your well-being. There are a multitude of resources available to support you – don't hesitate to reach out for help.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q.1 I want to quit smoking, but I'm afraid I'll fail. What can I do?

It's normal to feel apprehensive. Quitting smoking is a challenge, but millions have done it successfully. Remember, setbacks are part of the process. Don't get discouraged – learn from them and recommit to your goal. Utilize support systems like your doctor, support groups, or online resources.

Q.2 How can I stay motivated to quit smoking?

Focus on the positive changes you'll experience. Remind yourself of your reasons for quitting, visualize yourself smoke-free, and celebrate your milestones – every smoke-free day is a victory! There are also apps and online resources available to help you track your progress and stay motivated.

Q.3 What are some common withdrawal symptoms I might experience after quitting smoking?

When you quit smoking, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like cravings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite. These symptoms are temporary and usually peak within a few days to weeks.

Q.4 Are there any benefits to quitting smoking if I've already been smoking for a long time?

Absolutely! The benefits of quitting smoking start happening almost immediately and continue to improve over time. Your risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other health problems begins to decrease. You'll also experience improved breathing, circulation, and a better sense of taste and smell.