Tips for Using Instant and Intermediate Benefits as Motivation to Quit Smoking

Published: 09th December 2009
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The gratification that can be derived from objective or measurable and subjective or observable immediate and intermediate health benefits of smoking cessation can serve as motivation to quit smoking without experiencing relapse.



Instant benefits of quitting smoking primarily relate to blood pressure, the heart, blood stream circulation, taste and smell. After quitting smoking for 20 minutes, blood pressure decreases, heart rate drops, and blood stream circulation improves. After quitting smoking for eight hours carbon monoxide levels return to normal. After quitting smoking for 24 hours the risk of heart attack diminishes, and after 48 hours of not smoking the sense of taste and smell are enhanced.



The immediate benefits of quitting smoking are manifested primarily in the blood stream circulation and the lungs. After quitting for two weeks to three months circulation continues to improve, walking becomes easier, and lung function improves. After one to nine months shortness of breath, cough, sinus congestion and fatigue begin to improve, and after one year, the increased risk of heart attack is reduced by half.



The use of a home blood pressure monitor, preferably a digital one that measures both blood pressure and heart rate, can allow you to experience the immediate gratification engendered by the positive effect of smoking cessation on your blood pressure and heart rate. Although there is no readily available tool which allows healthcare consumers to measure carbon monoxide levels in the body eight hours after quitting smoking or to measure the reduction in the risk of heart attack after 24 hours, the increased sense of taste and smell can be observed.



Another measurable instant benefit of smoking cessation for which there is a measuring tool is the level of cotinine in the urine, which is an indirect measure of the amount of nicotine in the body. A significant reduction in the cotinine level can be measured with a quantitative urine nicotine test kit within 24 hours of quitting smoking, and 4-7 days after quitting smoking the test kit should show a level consistent with a non-smoker.



Documenting the measurable and subjective immediate and intermediate benefits of quitting smoking can reinforce the lifestyle and attitudinal changes associated with quitting and can serve as inspiration if the documentation is reviewed from time to time until the targeted quit smoking date is reached. Periodic review of the record after your quit smoking date has been reached might help to reduce the chance of relapse once you have successfully stopped smoking.



There appears to be something mystical about generating and maintaining a record of important endeavors, whether it be the outline of an important speech you have to give, the design of a sprinkler system are planning to install, an employee manual for a business that you are starting, lectures notes pertaining to an examination you have to take, or progress notes of a weight loss program you are involved in, just to mention a few. The success or failure of many pursuits depends upon whether or not you have a record to refer to during and after the pursuit. The old adage used to be "write it down", but with the advent of modern technology including computers and speech-recognition software, it can be better stated "create a record in the most time-efficient manner possible."



Although the recorded measured and subjective benefits of smoking cessation can be handwritten, the most time-efficient way of recording the gratifying data in the most practical format is with a personal health record software program which will allow the creation of dated legible typed journal entries, as well as tracking graphs which can be stored on your computer and printed out for review and/or presentation to your doctor during office visits, the latter of which might be of great value if a physician is monitoring your progress.



Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. The author encourages Internet users to be careful when using medical information obtained from the Internet and to consult your physician if you are unsure about your medical condition.



Victor Battles founded Proactive Health Outlet, an online resource to help individuals become more involved in their healthcare and improve their health including quitting smoking. For more information on how to quit smoking visit http://www.proactivehealthoutlet.com.

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