Smoking is a difficult habit to quit. Research indicates that smoking is the leading cause of addiction-related diseases across the world. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking causes an estimated 480,000 cases of death in the United States alone every year. Also, another 16 million people suffer from diseases related to cigarette smoking.
About 42,000 people die every year from second-hand smoke. The chemicals that come from second-hand smoke are dangerous to those in proximity to a smoker.
Smoking is also incredibly addictive and quitting can be a daunting task. It involves constant breaking off an addictive substance and changing your lifestyle completely. But how do you shake the habit?
1. Set a date to quit
Before you begin the process of quitting the habit, you need to realize that you’re embarking on a natural method of quitting smoking, so you might need to continue smoking as usual until then.
To start, set a date and time to stop. It can be in one month even. Mark it on your calendar, tell your friends, prepare yourself with little rewards and activities to keep yourself busy. You can even redecorate your flat a little bit to make sure that you are prepared for that special occasion, the bigging of your new life.
To remain motivated, look for a powerful, personal reason to quit. It may be to lower the chance of getting heart diseases, lung cancer, or other conditions. They are well known, but sometimes digging into the topic may help. Watch a documentary or read a book about them, so your brain fully acknowledges the real risks. There can be some positive reasons, for example, to protect your family from second-hand smoke. Or to live a healthy life. Settle for something that keeps you inspired to stop the habit.
2. Avoid Alternatives: patches, gum, and lozenges
Keep off any form of substitutes. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) try to keep the addiction at bay by delivering a certain level of nicotine to curb your cigarette cravings. The various types of vapes do the same. These substances make the process difficult to stop since they prolong the illusion that you’re making a sacrifice to stop the habit. Today, NRT are available in different forms –patches, nasal sprays, gum, inhalators- and although they come out as a possible way to double the chance of quitting smoking, continuous exposure can lead to neuro-adaptation that may increase nicotine addiction.
Experts indicate that nicotine alone is less harmful than carbon monoxide and tar which are present in cigarettes. As a result, NRT present a much safer option for smokers. However, to avoid trading an addiction with another, it’s recommended to avoid using NRT for a long period.
3. Have the last cigarette and prepare a to-do list when craving hits
You are making a vow to quit smoking for good. Actually, your effort is to get rid of the habit. So, light your last cigarette and make a vow that no matter how high your cravings become or how low the situation may befall in future, you promise not to puff another cigarette or take any nicotine substance. For smokers, this is one of the key decisions you need to make because your future depends on it. Furthermore, it’s the right thing to do to shake off the habit.
Telling yourself, you won’t smoke again is just part of the process. You need to have a list of favorite things you want to do when craving hits. You can take a walk, play a game, get a cup of coffee or tea, drink a glass of water, play with your kids or pets, practice yoga, wash the car, etc. Prepare a list of things and keep it close so when the craving comes back, you can whip out the list and try to do something about it.
4. Avoid Alcohol and Related Triggers
To quit smoking, you need to ditch your cigarettes, alcohol, and other triggers. Alcohol can be a major trigger that causes people to relapse and returns to their old behaviours. Similarly, too much coffee and meals can trigger the victim to return to smoking.
Any time you drink, it becomes harder to stick to your no-smoking goal. So, try to avoid alcohol when you begin the process. Similarly, if you smoke after taking coffee, try to switch to tea for a couple of weeks. If you have a habit of smoking after meals, replace it with an activity like brushing your teeth, chewing gum, or talking to a friend. Find triggers and replace them with an activity to avoid breaking the chain to quit smoking.
5. Try Vaping as Alternative
Some people use electronic cigarettes as a way to quit smoking just like the nicotine replacement therapy. There are several best vape brands that offer e-liquids with varying nicotine content used in gradually reducing your nicotine intake. E-cigarettes use a heating coil to vaporize the e-liquid and prevent you from over 7,000 chemicals that ordinary cigarettes produce.
Since they are available in all sorts of shapes and flavors, it’s easy to understand why a large population is hooked to vapes. But the debate about their safety is still on.
The fact that they don’t contain the harmful substances in analog cigarettes make them a safer alternative for addicts. These devices are also cheaper than buying cigarettes every day. Although the best vape reviews indicate that vaping has been seen as a good alternative to help aid oral fixation that most smokers struggle with after quitting, there is lack of conclusive evidence on its side effects. So vape with caution.
6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
It is a short-term therapy to solve addiction problems for smokers. In this treatment, the smokers work with a counselor to look for triggers and ways to avoid smoking. The method changes the smokers thinking patterns that makes them crave for cigarettes. Plus, it provides educative ways to deal with stress and anxiety. When combined with smoking cessation medication, it has proven to be helpful for people who want to quit smoking.
7. Keep Trying Again and Again
Smokers try several times before they quit the habit. Of course, relapses are common that why methods like use of the best vape exist. If you return into your old habit of smoking, analyze the situation and find out the triggers that resulted to the relapse. Use the opportunity to define your commitment to quitting. Once you have decided to start over again, set a “quit date” and work on it.
Smoking causes drastic and irreversible changes to your brain system. The decision to quit can be a broad step that requires commitment and motivation. These strategies will help you get started with the process and keep your guard up. Don’t do it alone, look for informative guides and support groups designed to help addicts deal with their cravings. While no single programs is the best, some types will be appropriate. Find one that works for you and start your journey of becoming a non-smoker.