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Wellness

Why We Need To Stop Thinking That We Have To Stop Smoking To Become Healthy

We’ve heard it a thousand times, over and over again: ‘If you like it, smoke it.’ Not only is it wrong but it also misses a huge point about health: that what we do in the moment is so important that we don’t have to smoke one single cigarette to be healthy. What we do in the present gives us the power to control the future.

In 2012, over 90,000 people in North America died from suicide. When we think about this, we immediately think about the issue of cigarette, or smokeless tobacco, use. As most of us are painfully aware, a smokeless product can come with the same risks or even greater health risks than cigarettes do. But what if you could stop smoking something you really enjoyed? The idea of switching from tobacco to smokeless tobacco is one that has been gaining popularity in recent years. In 2013, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that people who stopped smoking in the next year had a 30 percent to 40 percent lower risk of mortality than people who didn’t quit. This doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly turn into an angel from a puff of smoke; it just means that you will, when you stop smoking, be able to live a longer, more healthy life.

So can quitting cigarette smoking be done? That depends on who you ask. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, around 1 percent of U.S. adults have successfully quit smoking, while the average rate of success is around 20 percent. The best option for quitting is to tell yourself that you’ve had enough and you’ll never use it again. It’s that simple. If you can hold that thought, you’ll do it. You’ll be successful. But how long do you have to smoke your pipe, the way you used to smoke your cigarettes, before you start losing interest in it and looking for something to smoke that doesn’t cause you to cough? The answer to that question is, unfortunately, longer than a decade. After the first year, most people stop inhaling.

When you quit smoking, you will stop smoking for a reason. The same goes for quitting cigarettes: you will stop smoking for a reason. I wouldn’t tell you to wait until your lungs are completely healed to kick the habit, but I do advise that you think about whether or not you should smoke again after you quit. If you can’t think of a reason to smoke even if you’re healthy, then you probably shouldn’t continue, regardless of how much you liked smoking in the past. If you just can’t seem to quit, remember that quitting is harder than we think: The best way to quit is to do it! So if you are having trouble quitting, or you really can’t seem to get yourself off that pipe, try switching to another pipe to make things easier. If you can quit tobacco, quitting marijuana—even if you do it for the most common psychoactive substance that kills one out of every ten people in North America—is almost identical. Both are legal, widely smoked, and, at their core, unhealthy.

When you quit using marijuana, like you would any other substance, you should look for a substitute that, from a health perspective, is just as harmful. This time, however, it is the government’s role to set the standard. Because smoking tobacco is a government-regulated public health concern, we have developed a set of best recommendations to limit health harm. You don’t need to look far to find the evidence we used to craft them.

1) Keep Your Expectations Realistic

We’ve told you before that we don’t want to see you get sick from marijuana use. However, don’t get me wrong. If you get sick, you probably won’t use it again to get well. However, it is a common occurrence that a person who continues smoking marijuana will develop some form of medical condition as a result of their abuse. That’s because of the nature of drug usage. We’ve heard this a thousand times: ‘If you like it, smoke it.’ Not only is it wrong, but it also misses a huge point about health: that what we do in the moment is so important that we don’t have to smoke one single cigarette to be healthy. What we do in the present gives us the power to control the future.