Smoking tobacco has a variety of health risks attached to it, yet it doesn’t make it any easier to stop the habit. To successfully break the addiction, there’ll need to be a change in behaviour, coping mechanisms and strategies by the smoker.
There are several ways to stop smoking. Some people simply decide to go cold turkey or continue smoking until their quit date and then stop. With others, it’s about quitting gradually, reducing their cigarette intake slowly and following a strict plan to ensure they stay on track.
There is no ‘better’ method to quit, as long as you achieve your end goal to stop smoking. Whatever method you choose, here are some practical tips that can make it easier to quit smoking.
Let Everyone Know
Tell everyone from family to friends that you are starting on a new journey to quit smoking. They’ll be happy for you and also provide you with the much needed support.
One good advantage of your very own ‘quit-smoking support club’ is that you can be comfortable around your group when the side effects of nicotine withdrawal hit. They can understand your feelings of depression, anxiousness, irritability and aggravation – all symptoms that will eventually subside.
Therefore, surround yourself with people you trust, who won’t judge or criticise you. Also, keep the people and situations that do not support your decision to quit smoking at arms’ length.
Focus on Staying Healthy
Since you are leaving your former life as a smoker, you will need to learn how to live as a non-smoker. The transition process and the challenges that come with it become easier when you have a support system in place. Start eating healthy meals and working out. Meet friends who enjoy cooking healthy meals and ask them about their routines, grocery list and favourite recipes. Get more vitamins.
Working out is probably the healthiest thing you can use to replace a smoking habit. Exercise releases mood-boosting hormones, which can help deal with the frustrating feelings of depression and anxiety that come with withdrawal.
A workout buddy can help you reach your fitness goals and maintain accountability with your decision to quit smoking. Smoking can sometimes start out as a means to relieve stress. Exercise can minimise the intensity of the urge and the level of stress that leads to smoking.
For some people, quitting smoking is more successful when they go about it gradually. A nicotine replacement therapy is a good option in such cases. Nicotine gum, nasal sprays, inhalers or lozenges are some of the short-acting nicotine replacement therapies that can help you cope with intense cravings. They are generally safe to use in combination with non-nicotine medications or long-acting nicotine patches.
Another substitute to smoking traditional cigarettes is an electronic cigarette. Loto Labs offers a clean and precise vape product that can help you simulate the familiar motions you go through when you smoke, without actually taking in tobacco smoke. The effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation needs more research, but many people chose it for its convenience and versatility.
Wait Out Your Cravings
For a lot of tobacco users, the craving or urge to smoke can be intense, but you can wait them out and they will pass. According to the NHS, a cigarette craving usually lasts around five to 10 minutes. Therefore, have a list of things to do that will take your mind off smoking for those few minutes. Choose from any of the following actions to help you fight the urge to smoke:
- Have a healthy snack.
- Go for a walk.
- Use a nicotine replacement.
- Drink water, taking short refreshing sips to beat the craving.
- Play a game of Tetris.
- Take deep breaths, breathing slowly through your nose for a count of three and exhaling through your mouth for another count of three.
It is important to remember that whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco when the urge strikes, it will always pass. Each time you resist the temptation to smoke, you get a step closer to your goal of quitting the habit.
As strange as using mindfulness as a strategy to stop smoking sounds, some positive results have been achieved by this method. Practicing mindfulness goes beyond simply relaxing. It involves focusing on the body while carrying out simple activities like brushing teeth, laundry, vacuuming or even simply talking to a friend.
It takes practice to cultivate this ability, just like any ability worth developing. But the results are well worth the effort as the mind is protected from simply going on autopilot, which is where most smoking relapses occur.
It’s not easy to quit smoking, but it is certainly possible. Don’t be tempted to have ‘just one cigarette’ or you might find yourself right back where you started. Figure out what method of quitting suits your lifestyle, and make use of these tips to ease the process. Good luck!