The positive health effects of quitting smoking are more immediate than you might think. In fact, they can begin within 20 minutes of finishing your last cigarette.
Unfortunately, quitting tobacco for good is more complicated than that. There’s no magic one-step method to do it successfully. When determining what the most effective ways to quit smoking are, it’s important to remember that this is not just a “one size fits all” process.
If you’re wondering, “What’s the best way to quit smoking?”, the answer is this: whatever works best for you as an individual. Once you figure that out, it all becomes easier.
Read on for some of our best tips on how to quit tobacco.
The Most Effective Ways to Quit Smoking
While there are many alternatives and steps out there, there are a few important things to remember.
First of all, you’re doing this for yourself. Although it may seem like you are going against what your body wants, that’s the addiction speaking. In reality, smoking is incredibly bad for your health and you’re doing your body a major favor when you quit.
Your journey towards quitting isn’t going to feature one simple solution. Sometimes the most effective ways to quit smoking involve a variety of methods and mantras that all work together to help you stop for good.
1. Find Your Reasons
Aside from health concerns, everyone has their own reasons to quit smoking for good. Find what yours are and use them to keep you on track during this process.
If you’re not sure, or if you think you don’t have any, think again. Consider what your loved ones think of your smoking habit. Maybe your significant other would rather you didn’t.
Aside from that, consider the way it makes you smell. Smoking dulls your personal sense of smell, but others around you can notice the stale tobacco odor on you and your belongings. It’s not a good look.
If nothing else, think about the money your smoking habit is costing you. By quitting, you can use your savings for new clothing, updating your home, going on a vacation, or whatever else you desire.
Take the time to consider these reasons as encouragement to quit smoking. Coming up with your own personal reasons is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking.
2. Remove Any Reminders
Once you’ve committed to quitting, start getting rid of anything that reminds you of smoking. That way, it won’t be easy to give up and go back to it.
If you have any cigarettes left, destroy them and throw them away. Flushing them can clog your toilet, so try to find an alternative way to remove them. Just be sure you won’t have the option to change your mind.
Once you’ve removed the cigarettes, toss any other reminders. Dispose of ashtrays, cigarette cases, lighters, and anything else you associate with your smoking habit.
Also, go around your house and wash or freshen anything that might smell like cigarettes. Do laundry, wash your sheets, and clean all of your outerwear. Be sure you won’t be able to smell any cigarette smoke as you are on your journey towards quitting.
3. Go Public with Your Decision to Quit
One of the most effective ways to quit smoking is by holding yourself publicly accountable for your decision.
Tell your family and friends that you have decided to quit smoking. If you wish, you can also post on social media and keep your followers up-to-date on your progress.
Start by setting a date for quitting. Then, keep track of how much time has passed since then. There are multiple helpful apps that you can download to help you track your progress and post on your public profiles if you choose.
When figuring out how to quit tobacco, accountability is key. By letting your social circle know of your plans, you become personally responsible for keeping them on track.
4. Figure out Your Triggers
There are obvious reasons why people smoke, and these can, unfortunately, lead to weaknesses when you’re trying to quit.
Behavior addiction and substance addiction are two different things. Both of them come to play when it comes to reasons why people smoke.
For instance, perhaps you really enjoyed the feeling of having a cigarette when you’re consuming alcohol. If this is the case, then it’s vital to be extra careful when you’re out drinking. If the temptation is especially high, you may want to reduce your drinking or avoid it altogether when you’re trying to quit smoking.
You may also want to avoid certain practices and people that you associate with smoking. Certain friend groups and routine get-togethers may be difficult to face until you’ve made a decent amount of progress when trying to quit.
Avoiding your triggers is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. Recognize the activities and people with whom you regularly smoke and occupy yourself in other ways during these peak times. Removing temptations keeps you in a headstrong mindset for success.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Stress is one of the major reasons why people smoke. When you’re quitting, it’s important to take it easy so you don’t relapse as a coping mechanism.
Quitting smoking is stressful enough. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms start within an hour of quitting and last around two weeks. It will be on your mind constantly when you begin, so it’s wise to do everything you can not to overwhelm yourself.
Avoid taking on big projects during this time and do your best to keep all your affairs in order. Keep your living space free of clutter and engage in activities that relax you.
6. Try Alternative Behaviors
Keeping yourself occupied is another one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. Find activities that you enjoy to help keep your mind off of cigarettes.
For example, start working on something creative, such as painting, writing, or playing music. By keeping your mind on your creative endeavors, you won’t be as tempted to pass the time by smoking.
Exercise is another healthy alternative to smoking. Now that you’re improving your overall health by quitting, focus your energy on running, jogging, or lifting weights at the gym. Or try taking regular walks around your neighborhood and enjoying the scenery.
There are a ton of healthy habits that you can take up to replace your smoking habit. Find what you enjoy and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits.
7. Test out Nicotine Replacements
Cigarettes contain a number of carcinogens and poisons that are incredibly damaging to your health. If you are looking for how to quit tobacco without necessarily quitting nicotine altogether, there are alternatives out there.
Vaping can provide a replacement for smoking that won’t do the damage to your lungs that cigarettes do. E-cigarettes such as JUUL pods offer an alternative if you aren’t willing to give up nicotine.
E-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors and won’t leave odors in your home, car, and clothing. For many, they can be a huge help when quitting tobacco.
8. Seek Support
When you’re trying to quit smoking, it’s important to seek the support of your friends and loved ones to stay on track.
Build a support network of the people closest to you. They will help you not only hold yourself accountable but provide you moral support as well.
Choose people you think will be the most helpful and supportive as you’re trying to quit. The right friends can provide a distraction and encouragement to quit smoking.
If you would rather seek support outside of your friend circle, you have many options for that as well. Look into programs offered by nonprofits such as the American Lung Association. Or you can check your local church or community center to see if they offer group programs.
9. Manage Your Setbacks
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. While you should always hold yourself to a high standard of progress, don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.
If you do give in to temptation and have a cigarette, view this as a small misstep in your journey of progress. You’re only human and you’re allowed to make mistakes.
The important thing to remember is this: don’t use your setbacks as a reason to give up entirely. It’s easy to denounce them as a total failure and go back to smoking, but you have to resist this type of thinking.
10. Stick with Your Decision
You won’t be able to quit smoking overnight. It’s a process. Like many things, it’s more of a journey than a specific destination.
Always remember your original reasons for quitting and keep in mind how far you’ve come. This will keep you going in the future.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Stick to the methods that make the most sense to you. Most importantly, don’t hold yourself up to anyone’s standards but your own.
The most effective ways to quit smoking are whatever works best for you. Stick with your original intent and don’t forget to celebrate your victories along the way.
For more ideas on how to improve your health, check out our blog.