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Coach Corner

Quitting Tobacco isn’t Always Black and White: Reducing Has Surprising Benefits, Too

October 25, 2023
By Pivot
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Ever feel like decreasing your tobacco use won’t really make a difference? Do negative thoughts, like it’s all or nothing, take over your mind when you think about quitting? Let’s face it: the idea of stopping completely can be overwhelming. Quitting altogether might feel like a leap today, and that’s OK. You don’t have to make drastic changes overnight to achieve better health and create new habits. Decreasing how often you use tobacco may be a realistic and practical step for where you are today. Think of it as “dipping your toe in the pool” before jumping in. 

The Power of Postponing

Postponing a cigarette or hit from your vape for just one hour can be a powerful step towards quitting tobacco. Studies suggest this practice can help you develop the confidence you need to quit while your body begins to get used to lower nicotine levels. Continuously delaying tobacco shows you that living a tobacco-free life is possible and can set you on a path toward a healthier future. Don’t underestimate the potential of small changes because they can lead to big outcomes.

Tips to Get Started Reducing

  • Track your use. Awareness is a superpower! Knowing how and when you use tobacco is the first step to change. 
  • Environment is key. Create tobacco-free zones and limit your tobacco use to certain places, like in your car or home.
  • Delay, Delay, Delay. Try waiting a few minutes before your first use of the day and after meals. Then, keep adding minutes for each successful time. 
  • Shake up your routines. Think about how you can use your breaks to recharge in a healthier way. Maybe take a walk or give a friend a call instead of reaching for a cigarette.
  • Try a practice quit. Practice makes progress. Challenge yourself to a certain period of time without tobacco. It could be as simple as dedicating 15 minutes to a new hobby, leaving your tobacco at home when running errands, or even trying to go without it for an entire day.

How Reducing Impacts Health

Many people are motivated to quit for health reasons. One of the most common reasons to quit is to manage or prevent health risks like COPD, heart disease, and lung cancer. 

But does reducing tobacco also help? Here’s the skinny: there's no safe level of tobacco use - smoking even a small amount can cause damage to your body. However, reducing your tobacco use by 50% or more can mitigate the progression of COPD and heart disease. Studies suggest people who smoke may be more likely to quit by slowly reducing the number of cigarettes they smoke and using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). 

Reducing on the Path to Quitting 

Taking steps towards better health doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Reducing tobacco can lead to decreased dependence, increased confidence, and a shift in control from cigarettes to you. Chat with your Pivot Coach to discover your motivation, customize a personal plan, and learn more about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which can bridge the gap between reducing and quitting for good.

Talia Johns BS, NBC-HWC, TTS

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Pivot Breathe health coaches are uniquely certified and offer a safe place for members to talk about the challenges that come with reducing and quitting tobacco, providing tools and strategies needed to succeed.

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