Air pollution in China is bad enough; so bad most days, in fact, that people are advised to stay indoors and close their windows, because going outside even with the most expensive mask on is tempting fate! Living in the most polluted country in the world, if you’re in one of China’s most urbanized areas, can definitely make one give very serious thought to one’s health and unhealthy habits, such as smoking. Perhaps being in China is the perfect time in your life to finally quit smoking; after all, you are still looking forward to spending a long and happy life with your Chinese love.
There’s a joke in China that goes something like, “It’s healthier to walk around in China with a filtered cigarette butt in your mouth, than breathe in the air.” That’s how bad the air quality is in many Chinese cities. Choosing to relocate to any one of these cities is practically also a choice to increase your risk of developing and dying of a respiratory disease!
Okay, there are many ways by which you can mitigate these risks and still enjoy immersing yourself in everything Chinese; but if you also have a smoking habit, then that just makes it look as if you have a double death wish! While the air pollution in many Chinese cities is a serious public health problem, it does not mean that quitting smoking won’t make much of a difference in improving your overall health and reducing your risk for respiratory diseases.
In fact, any step you can make to reduce your risks is a life-saving step. Of course, the fact that smoking is a national Chinese habit will make the task all the more challenging; but it’s not impossible. Realizing how precious good air is may be exactly the wake-up call you need!
One of the most important steps you need to make is to break other habits that you associate with smoking. Drinking beer, for example, is often accompanied by smoking cigarettes. During the first few days after you smoke your last stick, you may be even more tempted to drink, thinking that it will make dealing with the withdrawal symptoms easier. However, once you start getting drunk, you also start losing control and become more likely to make poor judgment calls.
So during the first three days, which are the worst for anyone who has ever successfully or unsuccessfully attempted to quit smoking, you should also avoid drinking. If you simply can’t ignore the thirst, just drink a bottle of two to satisfy your craving. You won’t have to quit drinking, too; just reduce your consumption until your nicotine cravings become more manageable. Make a list of other habits that you usually accompany with a stick of cigarette; break these habits, too, or avoid them for the meantime.
When you’re surrounded not just by smokers, but smokers who like offering a cigarette to new friends or acquaintances, well it can really test your willpower. What you should always keep in mind is, you are also expected to return the offer; so if you don’t have any cigarettes and you give in to the temptation and accept one from a smoker, it’s going to be quite embarrassing. That thought should make it easier for you to just say “No, thank you.”
Given the fact that you want to avoid embarrassment, this can actually be an effective motivation for you to stick to your guns. When you tell people in China that you have decided to quit smoking, most likely, they will laugh in your face and then start betting amongst themselves how long you’ll last. Take that as a challenge. You wouldn’t want anybody to make some money out of your difficult struggle, would you?
Each day you show them that you’re successfully resisting the urge to smoke is a good reason for you to feel good about yourself. And feeling good about yourself will keep you motivated. Don’t lose sight of your long-term goals, too, of course. The Chinese love of your life is just waiting for you, if you still haven’t found her yet. If you already have, then all the more reason for you to start caring more about your health!
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