Whether you are an occasional teen smoker or a lifetime pack-a-day smoker, smoking can be one of the most challenging things to quit. This is because tobacco smoking is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. While this is the case, it doesn’t mean that it’s hard to quit.
If you have the will and dedication, you can quit smoking. Wondering how to go about it? Here is how to stop smoking:
Try nicotine replacement therapy
You are addicted to smoking due to nicotine in the cigarette, and like any other drug, you can’t stop it cold turkey—you have to give your body enough time to acclimatize to the change.
One excellent way to stop smoking without suffering from withdrawals is to go the nicotine replacement therapy route. Here you take nicotine products that ensure that you get your required nicotine fix without smoking a cigarette.
The cool thing is you have plenty of options you can go with. The most common ones are:
- Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler
- Over-the-counter nicotine pouches, patches, lozenges, and even gums
- Prescription medications such as Varenicline and bupropion
There is no right or wrong way to go about it. Whether you want to stop smoking with nicotine pouches or medications, do it!
Talk to your doctor for guidance to ensure that you are doing the right thing and taking the right amount of nicotine.
Stay away from triggers
Most people smoke or chew tobacco when triggered to do it. For example, most will smoke when they are at a party, stressed, or after taking a meal.
To maintain your resolve to stop smoking, you have to identify your triggers and stay away from them. To help you out, here are excellent ways to stay away from the common smoking triggers:
Alcohol: Plenty of people will smoke when drunk. To avoid this, avoid going to bars and parties. You also should consider switching to non-alcoholic drinks or drinking only in establishments where smoking is prohibited. If you are drinking and have the urge to smoke, try an alternative such as snacking on nuts, sucking on a straw, or chewing on a cocktail.
Other smokers: You must have met people that never smoke alone, but do it when in the company of others. If this is you, stay away from friends, family, or co-workers that make you smoke. If you smoke in the car when going home or during a coffee break, avoid being in the company of these people.
Find non-smokers and spend time with them during your breaks and when going home.
After taking a meal: For some smokers, ending a meal means lighting up a smoke, so it can be daunting giving it up, but if you have made the resolve to stop smoking, it can’t be difficult as all you need to do is to make a few changes.
For example, instead of lighting a cigarette, take a piece of fruit, a healthy dessert, a stick of gum, or a square of chocolate.
Delay feeding your cravings
As mentioned above, you shouldn’t stop smoking cold turkey—you should do it gradually. In the quitting process, you will have nicotine cravings, and when they come about, don’t rush to feed them.
The right thing to do is delay it for at least 10 minutes. This way, you train your body to get used to not getting the nicotine fix when it needs it, and this comes in handy at helping you achieve the goal of quitting smoking.
In most cases, cravings last for 5-10 minutes, so if you delay long enough, they will pass, and as a consequence, you smoke far much less than you used to, and this is a positive move.
Besides delaying feeding the cravings, there are plenty of other tricks you can use to deal with the cravings. Some of these tricks include:
Reminding yourself why you quit smoking: Quitting smoking comes with plenty of perks: you save money, you lead a healthier life; you look better, have enhanced self-esteem, and many others.
We all have different reasons for quitting to smoke, so remind yourself why you decided it in the first place, whenever the cravings kick in. If your “why” for stopping smoking is strong enough, you won’t light up.
Get out of the tempting situation: The tempting situation can be anything. Maybe you are at a party where people smoke, you feel bored and don’t have anything to do, and so on. Regardless of what it is, you should get out of the situation so that you can fight off the cravings.
Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself is an excellent way of reinforcing your victories, so whenever you have smoking urges and don’t light up a stick, reward yourself for the victory. For example, you can buy yourself a pair of socks or treat yourself to a meal whenever you successfully fight off the urges.
Studies show that exercises help the brain produce anti-craving chemicals that fight smoking urges. And the beauty is that you don’t have to engage in strenuous exercises to get the benefits—simple exercises such as running up and down the stairs, walking, or jogging are enough.
If you are in the office and can’t walk outside, try to do some squats, deep knee bends, pushups, and other exercises that will get your blood running.
If you are keen on leading a healthy lifestyle, consider joining a gym. The cool thing with joining the gym is that you will be producing a lot of anti-craving chemicals and be conscious of the health implications of smoking, which will speed up your quitting.
As much as quitting smoking is difficult due to its physical and psychological implications, it’s not impossible. Put the above tips into action, and you will be on your way to a healthy, cigarette-free lifestyle.
Whenever you experience smoking urges, remind yourself about the benefits that come with staying away from the stick: you feel better, get healthier, save money, and spare a loved one from secondhand smoke.