With the information available today, most people know that smoking is bad for both their own health and that of those around them. Many know that they should quit, though they recognize it is a difficult process. Making the commitment to quitting is a big part of it, and there are a few important steps you can take to make sure you’re able to follow through and stick with it. Here are some areas to consider.
Choosing the Right Plan
There are several different ways to quit smoking, and some are more effective than others. The best plan for you? Simple: the one you are most likely to stick to. Here are a few of your options:
- •Cold turkey: About 90 percent of people who attempt to quit smoking do so cold turkey, or with no outside help at all. This means no aids, therapy or medicine. This is not a particularly effective method, however—it’s only successful in about 4 to 7 percent of cases.
- •Behavioral therapy: This involves working with a counselor to identify smoking triggers and create a plan to get through cravings.
- •Nicotine replacement therapy: Found in various forms, including gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and lozenges, nicotine therapy provides nicotine without the harmful tobacco. This will make you more likely to quit, especially when combined with behavioral therapy and support from friends and family. Always remember, though, that the final goal is to end your addiction to nicotine itself, not just tobacco.
- •Medication: Prescription medications like bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- •Combination: A combination of these treatments might increase the chances of successfully quitting.
Regardless of which option you choose, build your plan in a way that works for you. Pick a quit date that gives you time to prepare, and involve friends and family in your decision. Get rid of smoking triggers or reminders, such as cigarettes or ashtrays from common areas
Some days may be easy and others may be harder while you are trying to quit. There will be times when you want to give in to your cravings. Here are some tips for staying strong:
- •Know your triggers and avoid them: Write them down if needed, and avoid situations that might normally make you want to smoke—especially early in the process (first three months or so).
- •Prepare for the first few days: Know that the first few days will likely be the toughest. You may feel negative symptoms like irritability, depression, and tiredness, particularly if you’re quitting cold turkey. Have a support group available, whether a friend or a family member.
- •Take steps to avoid cravings: Every time you manage to avoid smoking during a craving, your chances of successfully quitting go up. Try changing habits, including redirecting your oral fixation.
- •Try new hobbies: To keep your hands active and reduce stress, try new activities.
- •Reward yourself: You’re undergoing a difficult process, and you deserve a reward for success every now and then. Give yourself a treat when you hit milestones.
How Difficult Will It Be?
This answer is different for everyone. How difficult quitting will be may depend on how many cigarettes you smoke every day, whether your friends and family members smoke, and what your reasons are for smoking.
Try to focus on what the benefits of smoking will be. Within just hours, your body will start to be healthier—everything from blood pressure and heart rate to breathing will be improved.
What About Relapses?
Relapses, or instances of smoking again while trying to quit, happen to plenty of people during the process of quitting. Smoking is a strong addiction. If you do relapse, try to smoke as little as you can until you’re ready to quit again. The entire process may take some time.
For more advice or specific recommendations for quitting smoking, speak to your doctor.
“How to Quit Smoking.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quit-smoking#1
“How to Quit Smoking.” American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/how-to-quit-smoking.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/