It's true that quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for yourself, no matter how you old you are, or whether or not you have already been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, the two diseases that are classified under the term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD. If you've been smoking for years or even decades, if you quit smoking, you will see a quick change in your breathing and in how well you feel overall.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, one of the first things your doctor will tell you is you need to quit smoking if you haven't already. Some people might feel that since they've been smoking for so long, quitting smoking won't have make any difference. They might need to use oxygen therapy every day, but once they are done using their oxygen concentrator, they light up another cigarette. The notion that quitting smoking will not have any effect on their current condition isn't true. Even after diagnosis, quitting smoking will slow and even stop the progression of the disease.
Where to Start
Many people know how hard it is to quit smoking, but it can be done. Studies have shown that people who completed a program to quit smoking had a much higher success rate of never lighting another cigarette. These programs include counseling, which has been known to be a big factor in helping people quit smoking for good.
Start to cut back gradually and set goals for yourself. Begin to smoke less and less every few days to help prevent you from feeling deprived and diving back into your old habits. You might have a day where you feel more inclined to smoke the same amount as before, this is normal, but you have to resist. Remind yourself that you want your health and more years on your life more than you want a cigarette.
In addition to a program, you can also use a nicotine patch or nicotine gum to help ween your body off of the physical dependency for it. Your doctor might also find it necessary to prescribe an antidepressant, such as Wellbutrin, to prevent you from feeling like you need to do something like smoke cigarettes to ease your mental stresses.
How to Prevent Yourself from Going Back
When you get the urge for a cigarette, occupy your mouth and hands with something else. Eat some sugar-free hard candy, chew some gum, play with a pen or pencil for while you are watching TV or doing another activity when your hands might be idle. You can also take to a hobby if you have one and start a knitting project, write in a journal, do some target practice – anything you like to get your mind off of it.
Reward yourself for not lighting up. Fulfilling an addiction triggers a sense of reward in your brain, so replace that with other rewards, like buying yourself something you've wanted for a while, or taking a much needed vacation. Set calendar goals for yourself to reach these rewards.