It can be tough to quit smoking, Even though we all know the health risks that comes with lighting up. But over 43 million Americans, still choose to smoke. For most smokers, Quitting would be one of biggest steps in living a longer, healthier life. But for the majority, quitting isn’t easy, Its a hard habit to kick, especially if you have been smoking for years.
Smoking is both a physical addiction (to nicotine) and a psychological addiction (oral fixation). Most smokers are ingrained in a routine of smoking cigarettes, For instance after they eat, when they drive, or when they first wake up. There is also a temporary “high” from the nicotine in cigarettes that is also highly addictive. Quitting “cold turkey” often fails because nicotine cravings and withdraws symptoms are too much for a smoker to handle. To successfully quit smoking you need to address both the physical and mental adictions of smoking.
Overcoming The Urges
Smoking can be triggered by unpleasant or overwhelming stress such as depression, fear, being lonely and high anxiety. When having a bad day, Smoking can seems like a quick and easy stress reliever, But that is often short lived. It is important to keep in mind, As much comfort as a cigarette gives, It does more physical damage than any amount of mental comfort smoking gives. Healthier alternatives to dealing with stress include meditating, exercising, yoga, and talking to a friend or loved one.
The key to success in quitting smoking is to find alternative ways to handle stressful or difficult situations without the need of a cigarette. Even when you have successfully quit smoking cigarettes, You have to aways be aware of the possibilities of a craving might come back. The best strategy is to take some time and really figure out a plan on how to handle unexpected stresses and daily irritations in life.
Create A Stop Smoking Game Plan
Coming up with a personal game plan that is tailored to you specific needs and urges can help immensely. Come up with a list of reasons on why you want to quit smoking, Keep the list where you would have a pack of cigarettes to remind you of these reasons and read them to yourself when you find your self reaching for your pack of smokes.
Reason To Quit
- Feel Healthier
- Have More Energy
- Have Whiter Teeth
- Lower the Risk of Cancer and other Diseases
- Stop Second Hand Smoke to Family and Friends
- Save Money
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
To disassociate your self from smoking, You first must identify and address your smoking triggers.
- Do you smoke after every meal?
- Do you only social smoke?
- How bad is your addiction, Do you smoke a pack a day?
- Do you have an addictive personality (drinking, gambling, drugs)?
- Are you open to hypnotherapy and/or acupuncture for treatment?
- Are you willing to talk to a therapist or a counselor about your addiction?
- Is getting into a fitness program something you would be interested in?
Take some time to reflect on what kind of smoker you are, What sets off a craving? and why? Once you have answered these questions, It will better help you to identify and address your problems.
The S.T.A.R.T Plan
S – Set a date to quit smoking
T – Tell the people around you that you plan to quit, i.e family, friends, and co-workers
A – Anticipate and prepare yourself for the challenge of quitting
R – Remove and dispose of all tobacco products around your home, car, and work place
T – Talk to your doctor or professional about getting help quitting
Quit Smoking and Mange The Cravings
At first you might feel dizziness, restlessness, or even get a migraine from the nicotine withdraw. It is also normal to have an increase of appetite, But hang in there, these cravings normally subside in a few days until your body adjust to not having nicotine in the body. By drinking juice or eating foods with a slightly higher sugar levels will help with some nicotine cravings (unless your diabetic).
How to Manage Other Cigarette Triggers
Smoking Associated With Eating – For alot of smokers, The end of a meal means cigarette after. This might be the single hardest trigger to get rid of. Try eating a piece of fruit, a healthy desert or a stick of gum
Drinking Alcohol and Smoking – Most people who smoke like to light up after an alcoholic beverage. Try only drinking at bars (with smoking bans), restaurants or a friends house where smoking is prohibited. Try snacking on nuts and snacks, or chewing on straw or a stir stick to help with cravings.
Social Smoking – It is very difficult to be around people who do smoke and it is one of the easiest ways to relapse. Try letting the people around know that you are trying to quit, Talking will also ease the anxiety around your friends or family when they decide to light up.
More Tips On Dealing With Cravings
- Stay Busy: Distract yourself from smoking, Try exercising or go for a walk.
- Move Your Hands and Fingers: Squeeze a stress ball, tap a pencil, anything that can satisfy your tactile stimulation need.
- Keep Your Mind Busy: Read a book or a magazine, Try listening to your favorite music.
- Find A Oral Fixation Substitute: Suck on a sucker or anything you can pop in your mouth to substitute a cigarette.
- Drink Plenty of Water – Drinking water flushes out toxins from your body and helps minimize nicotine withdraw symptoms
Find new ways to deal and cope with depression and anxiety without smoking, The key to success is staying proactive.
Keep A Stop Smoking Craving Journal
For the first few weeks of quitting smoking, Keep a craving journal and make entries of your triggers and progress. Write down what is setting off these triggers and come up with solutions to fix or avoid these triggers. Write down how you feel when you don’t smoke and when you beat a craving. Later look back and read how it made you feel for more support.
Find Support In Others
Ask your friends and family to help and support you in your decision to quit. look for another person or a quit buddy to encourage each other through rough times.
Keep Your Weight Down
Weight gain is something smokers are often worried about when quitting, Although it is true that many people that smoke gain weight when they quit smoking, it is usually a small amount (about 3-5 pounds). Weight gain usually happens because the oral fixation you get from smoking is replaced by the fixation of eating. It is important to find other ways to deal with cravings and withdraws to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy and exercise not only helps out with staying healthy but will also minimize the cravings of having a cigarette.
Managing Your Emotions
Mood swings are common after you quit smoking as a result of nicotine withdrawal. These mood swings can be intensified if you used to smoking to help manage these emotions. It is very common to be frustrated, irritable, angry, or disconnected more than usual after quitting smoking. You may also have troubles sleeping or get headaches and have a difficult time concentrating on something. These feelings and symptoms usually subside after a week of two of your body detoxifying it self of cigarettes. Pre-warn your family that you will be going through a rough patch and ask for thier support and understanding.
Support and Resources to Quit Smoking
- There are alot of different methods that have helped people stop smoking.
- Quitting Cold Turkey
- Decreasing the Amount of Smoking Systematically
- Using Nicotine Patches or Other Nicotine Products
- Stop Smoking Support Groups
- Electronic Cigarettes
Some people can quit with just one of these methods, But for most it might take a combination of techniques to successfully quit.
Quit Smoking Medication Therapy
Smoking cessation medication can ease the nicotine withdraw, minimizing cravings and is recommended that you combine medication with a stop smoking program as well as advice from your physician. Always talk to your doctor to make sure any medication is right for you.
Nicotine replacement therapy means to replace cigarettes with another nicotine substitute, i.e nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and electronic cigarettes. These substitute work by steadily delivering small amounts of nicotine into your system and to help minimize the nicotine cravings without the harmful toxin and tar that you get with a regular cigarette. This treatment helps with the psychological addiction and replacing old bad habits with newer healthier ones.
There are medication that don’t use nicotine to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Medications like zyban (bupropion) and Chantix (varenicline) are intended for short term use only.
Quit Smoking Medication Alternatives
There are several popular non-medication ways to stop smoking that don’t involve nicotine or other medications.
Stop Smoking Through Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a popular of non-medicated way to quite smoking. Unlike the stage hypnosis that you are probably used to seeing, stop smoking hypnosis uses a deepen sense of relaxation where you are more open to the suggestions and can strengthen your will to quit and increases the negative thoughts of smoking. Ask your doctor to recommend a qualified smoking cessation hypnotherapist.
An old technique that triggers the release of endorphins (natural pain relievers) That allows your body to relax. As a stop smoking aid, acupuncture helps ease the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking. Ask your doctor for a referral to a local practitioner.
Nicotine addiction is closely related to the behavior of habitually smoking. Behavioral therapy focuses on the teaching and learning of new skills to help cope and deal with stresses of stopping smoking.
Websites and some self help books can provide you with additional support and motivation to quit. One of the biggest motivations to quit is calculating the amount of money you save when you quit.
Helping Someone Quit
It is very important to keep in mind that you can not force someone to quit smoking, It has to be their decision. Remember to offer support and encouragement for them to quit smoking and reinforce the reasons why they are quitting. Investigate different methods and talk it through with the smoker. Never judge or become to preachy and keep plenty of quite smoking aids such as gum or candy around.
Chewing Tobacco Is Not A Healthy Alternative to Smoking
Spit tobacco or chewing tobacco is not a healthier way to quit smoking. It also contains the same chemicals and addictive properties of a regular cigarette.
What Happens If You Relapse?
Don’t let a small set back hold you back of your goal to quit. Most people try several attempts to quit before they successfully do. Identify the trigger and address the problem and find more support to help you get back on track.
- Don’t blame yourself if you slip up. You can still quit for good
- Don’t let a small slip up become the reason why you stop trying
- Look back at the times you didn’t need a cigarette and feel good about yourself
- Learn from what happened, What has helped? what do you need help with?