For how long have you been trying to quit smoking?
First, you have to decide to quit. After that, the real work begins. Given the addictive nature of tobacco, you have to put in much effort to stop.
But just why should you quit smoking?
Cigarettes are not just addictive. They are very harmful to your health.
Data from the American Lung Association indicates that at least 480,000 US residents die each year from the effects of smoking or second-hand smoke exposure.
While the health risks of tobacco are commonly known, the addictive nature of cigarettes requires you to find the best way to quit smoking. That’s why it remains the major cause of avoidable disease and death.
Health Risks Due To Smoking
People who smoke for a long time risk developing specific health issues including the following:
- Possible cancer of the lungs, pancreas, bladder, esophagus, and mouth
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
- Risk of developing diabetes
- Depression and Alzheimer’s disease due to reduced folate levels
- Diminished memory and mental capacity
- Reducing the thickness of the bones
- Reduced fertility
- Reducing an individual’s sense of taste and smell
- Premature births and low birth weight
- Increased depression among adolescents
- Smoking pregnant mothers may cause obesity in their children later on in their life
Quitting smoking is a process that requires resolve and commitment.
It is a journey that involves unlearning the behavior you have been having for years on end. But there is hope. If you can pull it off, then you can hope to improve your health.
The tough task of kicking the habit requires a change of behavior and the power to withstand the resultant nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In essence, you must find ways to deal with your changing moods.
It is, therefore, important that you draw and implement a comprehensive strategy for you to quit your addiction.
If you are looking for the best way to quit smoking, try any of the following:
The first thing you should do after deciding to quit smoking is setting a quitting plan.
In the plan, make sure you set aside a specific day when you will quit smoking. The purpose of the plan is to keep you motivated, focused, and confident enough to work towards achieving your goals.
As part of the plan, you might have to choose between quitting abruptly and quitting gradually.
In the first type of program, you will continue to smoke on all the days preceding your set quit day. When it finally comes, you will stop smoking as planned.
On the other hand, the second type of plan entails reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke gradually until you finally stop smoking on your quit day.
According to the findings of a research study, none of the methods above is superior. The type of plan you choose is, therefore, nothing but a personal preference. You have to be honest about your needs. Know exactly which method you are going to use. Once are sure, start implementing your plan.
2. Use Drugs and Medication
Find out from a health care provider what the alternatives are when it comes to the drugs and medications you should use.
You may want to try any of the following options:
Nicotine replacement therapy.
Several drugs have been approved by the FDA to help individuals with nicotine addiction safer alternatives to cigarettes.
This is meant to make it easy for you to go through the process of quitting nicotine. The major methods of nicotine replacement include the use of nasal inhalers, nasal sprays, lozenges, and gun, all laced with nicotine. These are short-term interventions, which can be complemented by long-term nicotine patches.
Did you know that the best way to quit smoking could involve prescription medicine from a doctor?
You may have to use these medications alongside nicotine replacement therapy so you can be sure of succeeding.
Since these medications have no nicotine, they are not addictive and are, therefore, more likely to succeed than nicotine replacement therapy. The most common medications include Bupropion and Varenicline.
3. Electronic Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes can be used in place nicotine replacement therapy given both seek to replace the tobacco.
E-cigarettes usually come in the form of liquids with varying amounts of nicotine. With a proper plan, you can use them to reduce your nicotine intake until you finally quit.
The best thing without e-cigarettes is that you will be able to avoid the over 7,000 harmful chemicals in conventional cigarettes. There is no burning or smoke. All there is to e-cigarettes is a coil that vaporizes the e-liquid.
E-cigarettes are beneficial in the following ways:
This is the best way to quit smoking, given that it addresses the root cause of the habit. It primarily helps smokers get over their oral fixation issues thus making it easy for you to become a non-smoker.
There is a high likelihood that the people using this method will quit smoking.
You will also pay less for e-cigarettes than you did for a pack of conventional cigarettes on any given day. The major cost is that of the starter pack, which is then followed by paying for the replacement liquid. That is way cheaper than you could have paid for your cigarettes if you continued smoking.
E-cigarettes are also less addictive, especially given several research studies that have been done on this method. In fact, this method has become so popular, mainly because it enables individuals to stop smoking.
4. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Being addicted to smoking is not just about the nicotine.
Instead, it is the physical and emotional dependency that makes it almost impossible for you to quit. Cognitive behavior therapy is meant to help you tackle the emotional and physical dependence.
It involves the use of self-help materials, counseling services, and other support services.
This is the best way to quit smoking by changing the thought patterns that cause withdrawal symptoms and helping you learn better ways of handling anxiety and stress. It can effectively help you quit smoking when combined with nicotine replacement therapy.
In fact, this method can help improve your chances of stopping smoking by over 25 percent.
The therapist will choose a method to use for you depending on your circumstances, personality, and genetic disposition. It is okay to experiment. That way, you will know if the recommended method actually works for you.
However, you must remain dedicated to the goal you have set for yourself if you hope to quit smoking.
5. Avoid Smoking Triggers
Every smoker has specific triggers that make them feel like smoking.
What are yours?
It could be a stressful situation or being in a particular place at a particular time. For most individuals, it could be that bar party or when drinking coffee. Once you know your smoking triggers, you should make a plan on how you are going to avoid them.
The thing with triggers is that they make your withdrawal symptoms even tougher. It is, therefore, essential that you prevent the triggers from pushing you in the wrong direction. Always make sure you avoid getting into things that cause the smoking craving.
Get into alternative activities, if you must. With time, you will find that you are overcoming the possible smoking relapse.
You may want to get involved in physical activities such as walking or running. Also, pushups, knee bends, squats or scaling the stairs can be helpful if you are stuck indoors.
If you can’t withstand physical activity, try journaling, woodwork, needlework or prayer. Chores like cleaning utensils and vacuuming can also act as good detractors.
6. Switch to Healthy Snacks and Beverages
So you have finally quit smoking and what do you do to stay free of nicotine?
Well, replace the cigarettes with healthy snacks such as celery sticks, carrots, gum, sugar-free lollipops or sunflower seeds. Every time you the craving for cigarettes comes, get a healthy snack and eat it.
Alternatively, you may want to try replacing cigarettes with herbal tea. The sipping motion is useful in addressing the oral fixation due to cigarettes.
While caffeine may not act as a replacement for nicotine, the tea will keep you occupied enough to forget about the urge to smoke. Sucking on cinnamon-flavored toothpicks is also very helpful.
7. Stay Positive
It is difficult to stop smoking.
You have to be ready to go through the process one step at a time. You need to focus on what’s happening every day instead of taking it as an event. Of course, your quitting day will be very tough. But quit anyway.
If you manage to go for 24 hours without smoking, give yourself an appropriate reward. By giving yourself some positive affirmations, you will eventually kick the habit.
Quitting smoking is not a function of luck. You must engage in proper planning and be ready to remain committed for you to have any hope of success.
Although this is a personal decision, enlist your family members to give you moral support along the journey. You may also want to enroll in a nicotine support group for both physical and online engagements. However, once you start, be ready to go the full hog. It won’t take you long to leave smoking in the past.