There are many ways to quit smoking. Not all of these are effective to the same degree for everyone. But what you know about smoking and how to quit can be changed. Read on to find out surefire methods to kick the cigarette butt and secure a healthy, nicotine and tobacco free future for yourself.
How to Quit Smoking
#1 Motivating Yourself to Quit
While friends and family members may urge one to quit smoking, it may not be so easy. Knowing that something is right should be sufficient motivation. But given the addictive lure of smoking, it often is not. The first step to quitting the habit involves motivating yourself and seeking the right addiction counseling professional. He/she should be a trained professional who can create the right understanding for the reason for quitting. Addiction is something they are skilled at eliminating. They also have an extensive understanding of difficult aspects of quitting. Group counseling can also impact your mental health and attitude towards quitting. Hire a professional if you feel you lack the confidence or motivation.
#2 Proof of the Pudding Lies in Eating It!
Connect with real life cases and people living with the devastating impact of smoking. Check what is really in the smoke. As per the American Lung Association, there are more than 6 hundred toxic ingredients in cigarettes that combine to form over 7000 chemicals when lit. At least 69 of these chemicals are carcinogenic. Ingredients in cigarettes include:
- Carbon Monoxide
Consider the benefits of quitting. After all, while smoking you adversely impact your own health and endanger the lives of those around by spewing out second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke can lead to cancer and a host of other medical conditions such as heart attacks, respiratory diseases, and fertility problems. Parents who smoke raise smokers too. Smoking is a habit that can dent the future generations as well.
#3 Learn From Others
Seek out the details about how to quit smoking from a friend or associate. Ask for useful strategies that can be deployed to combat smoking. Lean on friends and family for support. If someone has pressurized you to quit, give them a fair chance. Having support when trying to quit an addiction can help you in being successful. Join a local support group or online forums such as Nicotine Anonymous or an anti-smoking group. Decide how to curb cravings and always keep essentials with you at all times. This may include gum, lozenges, nicotine patches and such like. Keep in mind that side effects may be resulting from the process. E-cigarettes may look like regular cigarettes, but they can serve as a healthy replacement. You also need to be knowledgeable regarding smoking habits to defeat the purpose.
#4 Set the Date
Another important point is that a quit date needs to be set up. For example, the American Cancer Society indicates that a quit date can make a difference to kicking the habit. This day should be marked in the calendar, and all should be encouraged to prepare you for your journey. This ritual helps in preparing to encourage one on their journey to growth. This ritual helps you to prepare yourself mentally by no longer smoking. Each day involves a countdown and makes you more confident in your decision. You need to make a plan as the quit date approaches. In the weeks or days prior to the quit date, details should be able to influence your success. Smoking cessation aids can work well.
#5 Be Clear How to Reward Yourself
Rewards need to be used as a motivation to prevent smoking. It is important to encourage you not to smoke. Rewards can be massive or minimal. This will work only if you really want it to. Quitting cold turkey only works for well motivated and self-willed individuals. Cutting down on smoking gradually could work well if you don’t feel motivated enough to do so in the first place.
#6 Keep Busy, Stay Focused
It is important to remain busy on the quitting day. It is also essential to throw away remaining cigarettes. Gum or water needs to be kept handy. Do remember to reward yourself. Every single moment of progress counts. One is more likely to commit and persist with a challenge if the intentions are broadcasted socially. Social gatherings where you may be encouraged to smoke should be avoided. Developing a link between smoking and other activities such as drinking alcohol or coffee is what keeps the habit going. Test yourself only when you are ready.Staying strong is harder if you feel that smoking was pleasurable. Remind yourself that life as a non-smoker is the way to good health. Forming an addiction to nicotine is hard, and it is not easy to break this habit. Staying consistent and living a healthier life is the key to avoiding triggers and finding important ways to cope with the stress. Get patches, herbal supplements, and nicotine gums to bolster your will.
#7 Money Can be a Powerful Motivator!
Financial benefits from quitting can be a safe bet. This is more so if you risk losing your money. Those with a financial incentive to quit received remarkable success, according to studies conducted.
#8 Cold Turkey Turns To Your Advantage
Cold turkey is the best way to quit smoking. Only the disciplined can quit without any help. What works best is to be mentally prepared. Drinking a glass of cold water or chewing something sweet could well be the way out.
#9 Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Inhalers, nasal sprays, gum and skin patches, lozenges that deliver nicotine gradually do sometimes work too. A scientific study found that looking at different devices. no one method works better than the other. It is ultimately a contention that NRTs may impact heavy smokers in a more positive manner than light smokers.
#10 Avoiding the Trigger
For those who smoke, certain triggers cause a craving for cigarettes in most situations. The trigger can be a stressful situation. Or it could be the need to take a break. As one quits smoking, these triggers become a powerful means of curbing cravings. Actively avoid giving in to cravings to ensure that triggers are not activated. Occupy yourself at all times and keep your mind busy.
Important Reasons for Quitting
Are you geared and focused enough to quit smoking? Perhaps considering the reasons why you are quitting could be a powerful motivator for warding off the harmful impact of tobacco. Think about what is most critical for you.
Consider Your Health
As per a US Surgeon General Report, quitting tobacco is one of the most critical steps that can be taken by a smoker to increase his or her lifespan. Once you stop, your quality of life improves. The body also begins to repair the damage caused by smoking. Someone who quits later in life can also improve his/her health.
Focus on The Economic Aspect
It costs a lot of cash to smoke even 2-3 cigarettes in a day. In some countries, a pack of cigarette costs over USD 10, and prices are continually rising. Also if a package costs USD 5, smoking one packet in a single day adds up to USD 1825 annually.
Consider the Hassles
Smoking is inconvenient, as more states pass laws against smoking in bars, restaurants, and public spaces. Clean indoor air laws have made smoking a real hassle. After all, standing in the cold or the snow to enjoy a smoke does not seem worth it.
Concern for Your Family and Friends
According to the ALA/American Lung Association, cigarette smoke harms everyone who inhales it. So not only is cigarette detrimental to the health of the smoker, but it also impacts those who inhale it. So, whether it’s second-hand smoke or even third-hand, cigarettes can make you and others around you sick. Studies show children whose parents smoke get more ear and chest infections, while babies born to mothers that smoke increases their chances of being premature, having low birth weight and proving to SIDS/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Not just you, but all those around you will breathe more natural if you quit cigarettes. Better breathing translates into a more sound sleep. Not only are smokers likely to suffer from conditions like snoring and sleep apnea, but non-smokers also breathe second-hand smoke to suffer the same fate.
Impacting the Quality of Life
Being a non-smoker improves quality of life. On account of the smoking interfering with the sense of taste, food tastes better when you kick the habit. The ability of smell also improves, so much so that there is enhanced sensitivity to fragrances and scents. Additionally, you can make it through long periods without yearning for cigarettes. Within just a few weeks post quitting, the smoker’s cough disappears, and there is ample energy to fend off fatigue and be active.
Benefits of Quitting
As soon as smoking is eliminated, the body begins to repair damage due to tobacco and repairs itself for an extended time. According to the American Lung Association, here are the benefits of quitting smoking.
Within just 20 minutes after quitting smoking, the heart rate drops to a normal/regular level. Around 12-24 hours after quitting cigarettes, CO levels in the blood drop to normal, and risks of heart attack are lowered. Within just a couple of months of leaving the harmful habit, the risk of having a heart attack starts to fall. Additionally, lung capacity improves, too within 1-9 months of quitting, shortness of breath, and coughing decrease.
The additional risk of coronary heart disease reduces by 50%, a year after quitting smoking. Around 5-15 years after quitting, the risk of stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoking individual. Moreover, the risk of cancers of the throat, mouth, or esophagus is half that of smokers. Within a decade of quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of a smoker’s, as is the risk of bladder cancer. Further, chances of larynx, kidney, pancreas, or cervical cancer also decrease.
Within fifteen years of quitting, the chance of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.
What to Expect
Quitting smoking or tobacco is a journey in itself. It is not merely a matter of leaving the habit within a single day.
Work on a Plan
Only around anywhere from 4 to 7 percent of cigarette smokers try to quit cold turkey and succeed. The rest of the potential tobacco-quitters require a plan. Programs like ALA’s Freedom from Smoking help individuals to give up on the deadly habit.
Among things you need to focus on are how to set a quit date, build social support, relax and control weight, and deal with the urges to smoke.
Try medicines such as nicotine gums, nasal sprays, patches, lozenges, and inhalers for the best outcomes, if you cannot do without anti-smoking aids. You can also try non-nicotine type medicines like Zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) for relief from physical symptoms. Bear in mind that drugs should not be taken by pregnant, nursing women, those under eighteen years of age, and those facing medical conditions. Talk with your healthcare experts to know more.
Be Prepared for Time to Elapse
The first 7 to 10 days are hard. You may need the most help during the early days. Smokers who return to this habit do so within the first three months. Slips like having a puff are pretty standard. Remind yourself of why you need to quit, and you will succeed. If you succumb to smoking occasionally, it’s time to pick yourself up and stop. A slip does not mean one is a smoker again. As long as one does not give up, quitting is easy.
It is common to get the urge to smoke, months, or years after quitting. These urges will take place less often over time and stop completely. Many obstacles may also come in the way of being smoke-free. You may gain weight, have the urge to smoke, or suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Don’t give up, even if you feel a sense of blame or guilt for succumbing once in a while. Think of all the times you could not quit as practice quits. That way, you can try to be different the next time around.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to frequently asked questions on quitting smoking below:
#1 I’ve cut back on smoking, and only smoke a little. Is that okay?
There is no safe amount of cigarettes you can smoke. Quitting smoking entirely is essential. There must be no smoking at all, not even once a while or when you are out with friends. It takes a few tries, but it becomes easy to stop using tobacco for good. Most people cutting back on smoking are not able to regulate their levels of usage. They finally go back to the usual number of cigarettes smoked. The best thing is to quit smoking altogether.
#2 How will quitting smoking benefit my health?
Once you quit smoking, the body will receive more oxygen, and you will note you have less stress and more energy. The cough will vanish, and this may take a few weeks, for the lungs clean up by releasing mucus. Your throat and eyes will feel less irritation. The senses of smell and taste will further improve. The risk of heart attack and stroke will also drop quickly.
Across time, there will be a lower incidence of respiratory diseases and colds, and your body will repair the damage resulting from smoking. In the extended or long run, the risk of lung cancer and COPD will drastically lessen, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. There will be fewer wrinkles, whiter teeth, and you will no longer smell like tobacco!
#3 How do I succeed in quitting smoking?
Smoking remains one of the most addictive activities to engage in. This reason is why quitting cold turkey does not work. It takes several tries before people can leave for good. Boost your odds by getting help stopping, which includes support from family and friends, and taking medicines that can help in quitting. Make your previous attempts at quitting a learning experience. Find out what worked for you, what your biggest challenges were, and what you could do differently. Give strategic techniques a try. See if these can work for you. Keep trying and learning from experiences and you’ll quit for good!
#4 What medicines can I use to quit smoking?
Close to 7 FDA-approved medicines can help in breaking the hold of tobacco and nicotine over you. Also, there are OTC NRT therapies like lozenges, gums, nicotine patches, and prescription nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine nasal spray and nicotine inhaler. Nicotine prescription drugs like Chantix and Zyban can also be used. Always take the medication as directed, to obtain the best benefit from anti-smoking medicines.
#5 What are the different ways to quit cigarettes for good?
As is known, there are many different means of quitting smoking. Some work better for some people, and others work better for the remainder. Choose a plan you can stick with.
Firstly, there’s a cold turkey method, where you take no outside help. Close to 90% of people quit smoking do it without external support, which means no aids, medication, or therapy. While most people try to stop in this way, this is not the most effective method, for only 5-7 percent can quit on their own.
Secondly, there is behavioral therapy, which involves working in tandem with a counselor to quit smoking. With the help of counselors, you can identify your triggers, namely the situations or emotions that make you want to smoke. After that, you can work together to overcome the cravings.
Thirdly, there is NRT/Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which encompasses several types, including inhalers, gums, patches, tablets, and sprays. These work by providing nicotine boosts without the presence of tobacco. In doing so, it helps individuals to quit, when combined with behavioral therapy.
Medications represent the fourth course of action, and popular medicines used to dispel symptoms associated with withdrawal and craving include bupropion and varenicline.
Finally, there’s a good chance you’ll kick the habit by using a mixture of different methods. For example, using nicotine gum and patch is better than the patch alone. Other helpful combinations range across NRT and behavioral therapy, prescription medicines with NRT patches, or more. Always check with your doctor before using two NRT methods in conjunction, as the US FDA does not recommend this course of action.
Irrespective of the method you choose, quitting is all about building a plan that works well for you. Pick a date and stick to the schedule without missing out on your motivation. Inform family and friends that you are quitting. Get rid of cigarette packs, ashtrays, and other smoking cues that trigger the behavior and decide how you will deal with unexpected run-ins with smoking buddies.
#6 How should I stay on track after quitting smoking?
Staying on track is very important. There will be times when you might seek to give in to cravings. Avoid following this course of action. Quitting is the best present you can give to others around you and yourself. Know what your triggers are and make the right plans to avoid these. Write down each time you feel like reaching out for a cigarette or smoke, and document how the situation was countered. Avoid people, places, and routines that make you want to smoke, especially during the first three months. This marks a time when you are most likely to start smoking again.
The first couple of weeks are hard. You may feel irritable, slow, depressed, and tired, especially when quitting cold turkey. Opt for an anti-smoking support group. It can be a good friend. You can even opt for a helpline to support you in difficult times. When you get past the first few days, you will feel normal.
Don’t succumb to your cravings. Each time when there is a craving, your chances of quitting goes up if you’re able to withstand it. Change all your habits. For example, replace the desire to smoke with something like chewing gums or playing games on the phone.
Try to join in new recreational activities and hobbies with pals who don’t smoke. Keep your hands active and reduce stress by engaging in relaxation.
What you seek to accomplish can be difficult. So, always reward yourself when you reach significant milestones and treat yourself with something you find pleasure in. While smoking is no longer allowed, exercising self-control is all about changing how you see yourself.
#7 How hard is it to quit smoking?
When it comes to how hard it is to quit smoking, the answer is that everyone differs. How tough it is for you depends on the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day, whether your friends and family smoke and your reasons for resorting to nicotine and tobacco in this form. To make it easier, always focus on the benefits. Within just a couple of hours after smoking cessation, your body recovers from additives and nicotine. Blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature comes back to healthy levels.
You can also breathe easily as carbon monoxide, and other poisonous gases stop polluting your blood. As a result, your blood becomes oxygenated, and your health improves. Quitting helps your entire mind, body, and spirit. It also prevents premature aging, which can be a motivating factor for some people.
#8 What if one starts smoking again?
If you start smoking again, you suffer from what is known as a relapse. But remember that this relapse is not the end of the world. A lot of people go back to smoking before they can finally quit. This is also very common in active addictions. If you do fall back to smoking, try to limit your cigarettes gradually, until you are finally able to quit for good.
#9 Can electronic cigarettes help smokers to quit?
USFDA has not documented that e-cigarettes can be useful or even safe in helping smokers quit. The 2016 Surgeon General’s Report clearly states e-cigarettes can expose people to chemicals that impact health adversely. The American Lung Association, therefore, does not support the use of electronic cigarettes, either.
#10 Will I gain weight after quitting cigarettes?
Once they give up smoking, some individuals do gain a couple of pounds. Make sure you follow a healthy eating plan and increase physical activity to manage weight. Even if weight is gained after quitting, you can always lose it later.
#11 I have family and friends that make it hard for me to stop because they also smoke. What should I do?
Quitting remains a choice. There is no way to make others quit. But you can enlist the support of family and friends to prevent you from doing so. Tell them you need to stop. Discuss no-smoking zones in your house or places you hang out at. Tell people you care for your health. Also, try to get them to quit smoking by motivating and encouraging them to understand why it is bad for health to continue using tobacco and nicotine.
#12 What can I do instead of smoking a cigarette?
The desire to smoke passes within 3-5 minutes, regardless of whether you have a cigarette or not. So, always try to replace smoking with something distracting, such as going around the block for a walk, texting friends for support, or drinking glasses of water.
Challenges Faced While Quitting
Most people come across roadblocks or even speedbumps while trying to quit smoking. The journey is not comfortable, and the challenges make it harder. Here are some of the challenges you will face while quitting smoking:
Some people gain weight; if they stop smoking, others do not. The average weight gain around 7-10 pounds has a lesser impact on your health than smoking a cigarette. The amount of weight gain has no role to play in whether you quit. The more you worry, though, the higher is the barrier to quitting. Staying focused on stopping helps you to lose weight later. Eating healthy foods and raising the bar on physical activities can be ways to counter both weight gain and cravings for a cigarette. Try nibbling on low-fat snacks such as sugarless gum, plain popcorn, carrots, fresh fruit, or more. Find activities like jogging or walking, which replaces the urge to smoke.
Cravings and urges to smoke can be hard to master. How do you prevent the feelings from overpowering you? Although calls can be hard to conquer, know that smoking is an activity that is impulse-based. If you have control your urges, you can successfully quit cigarettes. The desire to smoke will pass if you resist it by interacting with friends and leaving the situation that makes you likelier to smoke. Nicotine replacement or other anti-smoking medicines can lessen the intensity of cravings and urges.
A lot of smokers experience withdrawal symptoms during the first couple of weeks after quitting. Some common signs and symptoms include the following:
- Sleeplessness and insomnia
- Problems in concentrating
- Feeling anxiety, restlessness or depression
- Excessive irritability, nervousness, and grouchiness.
Such symptoms will eventually lessen, and finally, go away as you give up on smoking. Most symptoms subside in a couple of weeks. Quit-smoking medicines help battle withdrawal symptoms. Check with your healthcare provider to see which medicine is right for you.
Quitting smoking is extremely difficult yet necessary. Reward yourself during the quit smoking journey. Breaking the hold of addiction over you is no small feat. Reward yourself daily and even hourly for important milestones.
Along with physical symptoms, there may be emotions of irritability or a bout of anger. Learn to cope with it. Be patient with yourself, and you’ll be back to your usual self soon.
Celebrate Every Milestone
Make an effort and take the trouble to celebrate every milestone during your journey to give up on smoking. Set smaller goals followed by larger ones. Reward yourself when you get to each of these. Ideas for rewards include downloading new music, pampering yourself with a movie, reading a new book, or any other activity you enjoy. Celebrating progress enables you to stay on track and look forward to the next milestone.
Strategies to Quit Smoking
While we all know the health risks of smoking, it does not make it easier to get rid of the habit. Even if you are an occasional smoker, quitting can be a tough proposition. Smoking tobacco is a psychological habit and a physical addiction because nicotine from cigarettes provides an addictive and temporary high. Eliminating a regular fix of smoking and nicotine triggers cravings and withdrawals. Smoking can even be a defense mechanism for coping with negative emotions. In such cases, quitting is even harder.
Additionally, smoking is embedded in everyday rituals, and it is an automatic response for you to trigger the action. To successfully stop smoking, you not only combat the addiction but also battle the habits and routines that move along with it. With the right support and plans to quit, anybody can kick the addiction. So, here are the strategies you must consider.
Plan to Succeed
While some individuals quit successfully by going cold turkey, others can benefit from structured and customized programs to keep them on track. A practical roadmap addresses challenges in the short term as well as the long run and prevents a relapse. It should also be tailored to meet smoking habits and specific needs.
While planning, consider the type of smoker you are and why you succumb to cigarettes. Identify which techniques, tips, or therapies are most beneficial for you. Check if you are a social smoker or a massive one-pack-a-day addict. Further, explore if there are certain places, people, or activities you link with smoking. Check if you feel the need to smoke after each meal or whenever you break for your cup of tea or coffee.
Check if you reach for cigarettes while feeling stressed or low? Is cigarette smoking also linked to other addictive behaviors like gambling and drinks?
The first thing one should ideally do is establish a quit date. Prepare without losing the motivation to quit. Quit on weekends so you can adjust to the change in a few days. The next step in the plan is to inform everyone around you that you plan to quit and tell them you need encouragement and support to stop. Look for a buddy who can help you to quit cigarettes instead of embracing them.
The second step is to begin anticipating the challenges that lie ahead. Help yourself to make it through by preparing for everyday problems, such as cigarette cravings and nicotine withdrawal. Remove cigarettes or other tobacco products, and smoking cues from the car, home, and work.
So, the third step is throwing away all the cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and matches. Wash the smell of smoke out of your curtains. Shampoo your car, clean the carpet, and steam your furniture. No reminder should remain.
Talk to your doctor about quitting. Your doctor can help you to prescribe medicines to help with withdrawal issues. If you cannot see a doctor, you can get OTC products at your local pharmacy, including nicotine gum, tablets, and patches.
The next step is to identify smoking triggers. Identify the things that make you need a smoke, including activities, situations, feelings, or people.
Keep a Journal to Record Cravings
A journal where you record your cravings on triggers and patterns. For a week or so, leading upto the date for quitting, it is essential to keep a smoking log. Note the time when you crave a cigarette.
Record the time and intensity of the cravings on a scale of 1 to 10. Check the activities you were carrying out, who was with you, how you were feeling, how you felt after smoking, and your motivations for lighting up.
Understand Why You Smoke
Most individuals smoke to deal with negative feelings like anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress. When you are having a bad day, it’s wrong to think of smoking as a release. Remember, there are more productive, healthier ways to keep negative feelings at bay. This includes exercising, relaxation strategies, meditating, or simple breathing methods and techniques.
For most individuals, an essential part of giving up smoking is finding a way to deal with issues without turning to cigarettes. Even when cigarettes are no longer part of life, painful and harmful emotions that prompted you to light up in the first place remain. It is worth thinking about different ways to deal with stress-provoking situations and daily irritations that make you light up.
Identify Your Triggers
Most people smoke while drinking. Switch to non-alcoholic beverages or drink in places where smoking inside is prohibited. Try snacks like nuts instead. Another common trigger is that friends, co-workers, family around you smoke. So, it can be doubly challenging to give up on this or avert a relapse. Discuss your decision to quit, so others can help you to stop. When friends, co-workers, and family around you smoke, it can be challenging to resist. So, always talk about your decision to quit so individuals won’t smoke when you are around. In your workplace, find co-workers who are non-smokers and hang out with them at the water cooler!
For many smokers, eating a meal is always followed by smoke. The prospect of giving up may seem to be extremely daunting. But consider replacing your smoke towards the close of the meal with a dessert, instead of a cigarette or drink water.
Cope with Withdrawal
Once you cease smoking, you will experience several physical symptoms as the body withdraws from nicotine. Withdrawal from nicotine takes place quickly, usually within an hour of the last cigarette and peaking 2-3 days later. Withdrawal symptoms last for some days to a couple of weeks and differ across persons.
Common cravings include a yen for a smoke, anger, frustration or irritability, anxiety or nervousness, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, increased appetite, and even severe headaches. Additionally, nicotine withdrawal can lead to increased coughing, fatigue, insomnia, tremors, upset stomach, depression, and lowered heart rates.
While these withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, it is important to recall these are only temporary. Once the toxins leave the body, you will get better in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, friends and families should know you are trying to cope with nicotine withdrawal.
Coping with Cravings
While avoiding cigarette triggers can reduce the incidence of smoking, cigarette smoke, and cravings cannot be avoided either. Cravings don’t last more than five to ten minutes. If you feel like smoking, remind yourself that the need will pass and wait it out. This can help you to cope with cravings. For warding off cravings, distract yourself. Take a shower, prepare a meal, or call a friend. Take on chores to keep your mind off smoking.
Remind yourself of the reasons for quitting as well. Focus on the reasons for leaving, including health advantages such as lowering the risk for lung cancer and heart disease, improved appearance, saving cash, and enhancing self-esteem. Always avoid tempting situations. A change of scenery can make a vital difference.
Reward Yourself for Milestones
Reinforce yourself with victories, and triumph over cravings, rewarding yourself for staying motivated. Your reward can be simple things, like a fancy restaurant dinner or an extra hour of TV. Choose a healthier substitute, and you’ll succeed in kicking the habit.
For reaching milestones like keeping your mind (or your hands) busy, pat yourself on the back. Drink water, brush your teeth, or light incense. Either way, get active and reward yourself for successfully combating cravings and withdrawal.
Always work on what calms you down, such as taking a bath, meditation, reading a book, or practicing deep breathing.
Combat Side Effects of Smoking Cessation
Smoking serves to suppress the appetite, so gaining weight is a common concern, when quitting. You may even be deterred from stopping by considering the weight gain. While some smokers do put on a couple of pounds post smoking cessation, the benefit is tiny. Initial weight gain decreases across time, which is why it is important to remember that smoking is the worse of the two evils. Moreover, gaining weight is not a certainty when you quit if you follow these tips to combat the side effects of smoking cessation.
The first thing to note is that smoking dulls the sense of taste and smell so that you may eat less. If you end up quitting, you may end up seeking refuge in comfort foods. Therefore, it is crucial to consider nutritious, healthy ways to eat, once you quit cigarettes.
Healthy ways to deal with feelings like stress, boredom, and anxiety rather than insatiable emotional eating is essential. Always nurture yourself, and instead of turning to either cigarettes or junk food when depressed, learn other ways to soothe yourself. Learn to relax with simple, healthy food. Eat nutritious, varied meals with plenty of healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. Avoid sodas, sugary foods, fried, and convenience foods. Focus on eating mindfully. Emotional eating is mindless. When you are focusing on TV or smartphone interactions, you tend to eat more than you want. Drink between six and eight glasses of H20 to remain full and not resort to food when you are, in fact, not hungry. Water flushes toxins from the body.
Make sure you take a walk and exercise regularly to burn calories and fend off weight gain. Combat feelings of frustration and stress accompanying withdrawal. Snack on healthy foods like sugar-free gum, celery sticks, carrots or sliced bell peppers or jicama. Medication and therapy can also help in quitting. Different methods have helped people to quit smoking. Try a combination of strategies, if one alone does not work for you.
Try Smoking Cessation Medicines
Smoking cessation medicines can reduce cravings and ease withdrawal. They are practical when used as part of the smoking cessation program. Talk to your doctor about options and whether anti-smoking medicines are right for you. The US FDA approved options range across the following.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy: This involves using nicotine substitutes instead of cigarettes. You can opt for nicotine gums, patches, inhalers, tablets, or nasal sprays. This relieves some withdrawal symptoms by regulating nicotine intake in a way that overcomes the poisonous gases and tars in cigarette smoke. NRT can help in breaking the psychological addiction and makes it easier to cope with new behaviors. Non-nicotine medicines help in stopping smoking by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms san the use of nicotine. Medications like Champix, Chantix, and Zyban are for short term only.
Don’t Substitute Smoking for Vaping!
As it eliminates tar and toxic gases in cigarette smoke, vaping or using an electronic cigarette is less dangerous than smoking conventional or traditional cigarettes. Different studies have shown mixed results, but there are definite downsides to vaping, too.
Liquids in e-cigarettes are rich in nicotine, which has adverse health effects like diabetes and high BP. Further, the nicotine from e-liquid is tough as it damages developing brains of teens and children. E-liquids also come with flavoring agents causing chronic lung diseases. According to Harvard Health, some vaporizers even generate toxins like formaldehyde in vast quantities, making them counterproductive for those who want to eliminate damage to health.
Try Alternative Therapies
Alternative therapies are incredibly beneficial for coping with smoking cessation can produce excellent results for those struggling to quit. For example, hypnosis works by getting you into a relaxed state, where you are suggestible. The hypnotist can strengthen your resolve to stop smoking, and raise the amount of negative emotion you have towards smoking.
One of the oldest medical techniques that also works well is acupuncture. This form of alternative therapy relaxes the body by triggering the release of endorphins/feel-good neurotransmitters that block pain. For managing smoking withdrawal effects, acupuncture can be beneficial.
Nicotine addiction is a substance abuse disorder. So, you can also try behavioral therapy to counter it. Eliminate the rituals associated with smoking. Behavior therapy focuses on breaking bad habits and learning new coping skills.
Self-help books and motivational websites can also help you to give up smoking. One well-known method of motivating yourself to quit is to calculate monetary savings. The motivation to quit can be attained by calculating the money saved. Remember that chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes either. The nicotine amount absorbed from smokeless tobacco can be 3-4 times the amount delivered by cigarettes. So, don’t try therapy which substitutes one evil for another.
What to Do If You Relapse
Most individuals stop smoking several times and then have a relapse before they kick the habit for good. Don’t berate yourself if you have a minor slip. You can turn it into an advantage by becoming a relapse into a rebound and learn from mistakes. Understand what caused you to slip up and identify triggers or trouble spots. Make a new stop-smoking plan for eliminating this.
It is essential to reiterate the difference between a slip and a full-blown relapse. Don’t let a fall become a slide into old destructive smoking habits. Check your quit log and see if you feel right about the time when you were not smoking.
Find your triggers and learn from your experience. Be clear about what worked and what did not. Using medicine to help you quit can be useful if healthcare practitioners support you. Remember that urges for tobacco can be most active when you have recently smoked or chewed tobacco. When feeling stressed, identify the trigger situations and avoid these. Don’t set yourself for a smoking relapse.
Delay your urge for a smoke, and you’ll be able to beat the craving. Give your mouth an oral substitute like chewing gum, or crunchy, health foods. You may be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy the craving. Don’t give in. Physical activities like jogging or working out could even put needs at bay and reduce the intensity. Even short physical activity bursts like running the stairs can make your cravings diminish, if not stop. If you can, try deep knee bends, pushups, squats, running in place or climbing stairs. Try woodwork, journal writing, or needlework to take your mind off smoking.
The relapse may have been a way to deal with stress. Resisting the craving can be a source of stress. Take the edge off by practicing yoga, meditation, muscle relaxation, or trying sauna or calming music. Always go to your friends and family for support. You can also try a free telephone quitline. This provides support and counseling. Join online, stop-smoking programs, and post encouraging thoughts that will also inspire you.
To avert the relapse, list the benefits of quitting, which includes benefits for emotions, health, well-being, saving money, sparing others from second-hand smoke, and much more. Each time you resist a craving, you move towards being tobacco-free.
Smoking remains one of the most significant and preventable causes of death in many countries, not just in America. Since the launch of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking & Health in the early 60s, more than 21 million smokers have died due to this deadly habit in the United States.
Cigarette smoking raises the risk of cancer and acute myeloid leukemia as well. Some studies even link smoking to severe forms of cancer. Smoking cigarettes also increases the chance of lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It raises the risk for stroke, heart attack, eye diseases, and blood vessel conditions. Nearly 50% of smokers die from this deadly habit. Quitting is difficult as nicotine found in tobacco is addictive. But that does not make smoking cessation impossible, either!
Research also shows medicines help in quitting smoking. The USFDA has approved seven medications for battling smoking addiction. Three of these medicines can be availed OTC, and include nicotine gums, nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges. Four other drugs are available by prescription, namely nicotine inhalers, Zyban, Chantix, and nicotine nasal sprays. Zyban is an antidepressant, while Chantix blocks the effect of nicotine in the brain.
Counseling, combined with medicines, can work even better. It comes in many different forms. In-person counseling is available from health-care providers like doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and more. Telephone helplines called “quitlines” are also a great idea. All 50 US states, apart from the District of Columbia, offers free hotlines for smokers looking to quit. Telephone counseling is extremely beneficial for boosting the resolve to quit. Support groups have also helped smokers to stop. Check with your health insurance company, local hospital, or employer to find a support group that meets your needs.
Smokers can also prevent relapse by enlisting the support of pals, co-workers, and family. Have a support system in place to support your efforts. Quitting smoking is also accessible through apps that are based on research-linked anti-smoking recommendations. The National Cancer Institute has a quit smoking app to set stop dates, schedule reminders, track financial goals, and much more. It even offers SMSes that encourage to quit.
The most important thing is never to stop quitting. This is what makes a difference to the final outcome. Whether you opt for a cold turkey, an NRT method or gradual phasing out, what is important is to focus on a technique that works for you and leads you to a fresh start.