In this post I will briefly cover some of the top ways to quit smoking. Some will be common sense, while others will be with the aid of medication or a device. At any rate there are many ways and many good reasons to quit smoking today.
Desire and Willpower
I decided to write about this point first. Why? Because there is no getting around having to have the desire and willpower necessary to kick the smoking habit.
First off, if you don’t whole-heartedly, 100% want to quit smoking, you will never succeed. Like achieving anything hard and worthwhile, there first has to be a passionate desire to accomplish the goal. Otherwise, at the first hint of hardship you will give in.
Willpower virtually goes hand in hand with desire when it comes to smoking cessation. Even if you have the passionate desire and commitment, there will come times when you feel like giving in. Why? Because smoking is a habit, not just a nicotine addiction. You need willpower to fight against those urges to relent and light up.
But let’s remember one important point: Willpower only feels difficult when you are going against your will. If you are truly committed to quitting smoking, then you will find your willpower will be very strong. If you are only half-hearted about it, then your willpower will be decidedly weaker.
Change Your Habits and Routine
As smoking is a habit as much as it is an addiction, in order to successfully beat the habit, it is important to change some of your daily habits and routines – at least for a short while.
Many cigarettes are smoked by association with other activities or certain times of the day. Perhaps your favourite cigarette is that one in the morning when you have your first coffee, or the one directly after dinner. Many smokers love to smoke when they drink alcohol, or while driving or chatting on the phone.
If you have been a smoker for many years, then the habit is going to be ingrained with many of your daily routines. That’s why it’s vital to change things around a bit for a while, until the habit is out of your system.
Avoid alcohol for a few weeks. Have that morning coffee somewhere where smoking is banned. Keep your hands and mouth busy. Chewing gum helps greatly with this, as does holding onto something with your fingers, such as a pen.
You see, when you quit, the body gets over the nicotine addiction within a matter of days, a couple of weeks at the most. But ex-smokers can be plagued by the desire to light up well after the addiction phase is done and dusted. That’s because smoking has subconsciously become an ingrained habit, and that’s the part you really have to recognise and work on to remain a non-smoker.
Smoke Free Zones
Hang around smoke free zones as much as possible during those first few critical days and weeks. These days there are so many places where you are not allowed to smoke that there are plenty of options. If you are constantly in an environment where you know you can’t smoke, then the desire to light up won’t be anywhere near as strong.
While it’s virtually impossible to be in smoke free places all the time, try and put yourself in those spots as much as you possibly can.
Stay Away From Other Smokers
This one is pretty obvious, unless you are into inflicting torture on yourself.
Hanging around other people who are smoking is just asking for trouble, not to mention an extreme test of your willpower and commitment. At the risk of being anti-social to friends or relatives who might happen to be smokers, it is really a must during those first couple of weeks after you’ve quit.
Do yourself a favour and distance yourself from other smokers until you are confident you can control any cravings you might have.
This is vitally important. Keep both your body and your mind busy; as busy as possible.
One of the best things to do during those first few weeks (all the time, really) is to get out there and exercise. For starters, you’ll be feeling better both physically and mentally for not smoking, and that’s a fact that will just get emphasised if you’re exercising.
It might be the perfect time to join the gym, or take up a social sport. Buy a new bike, go for long walks, go for a morning jog. Live life and take in the fresh air.
Possibly it’s even more important to keep your mind occupied. After all, smoking is more of a mental habit than a physical one. The more busy your mind is, the less you will think about cigarettes, and the less likely you are going to miss them.
Make A Quit Smoking Plan
Before the day comes when you quit smoking, first make a plan to do so. Set a date and write it down. Also write down ways you can change your routine during that opening phase of quitting, and anything you can think of that will help you to succeed.
Include some form of exercise in that plan, as well as places you can hang out in your spare time where smoking is not allowed. Make a note to go somewhere where the air is fresh and clean and take the time to enjoy it.
With just about anything in life, those who make a firm decision about something and then create a plan and write it down, are more often successful than those who don’t.
So make a plan, write it down, keep adding to it, then carry it out with confidence.
Make A List
Write out a list of all the reasons why you should quit smoking and remain a non-smoker. This will give you something to refer to whenever you feel like giving into the cravings to light up. Also work out how much money you spend on cigarettes in a year, and the things you could buy with that money instead if you no longer smoked.
Get Rid Of Reminders
Remove all reminders of smoking from your home, your car, your office, or anywhere else where you regularly smoked. Definitely don’t have cigarettes laying around the house. Remove ashtrays, cigarette lighters, cigarette cases, any sort of smoking memorabilia. When you quit you plan it to be forever, so you will no longer need these items.
Clean the car and the home. Empty that car ashtray if you’ve used it. Make everything smell fresh and clean again. Never again will they smell of smoke.
Further commit yourself to the cause and your success by informing others of your plans to quit smoking. It doesn’t matter if they believe you will be successful or not, tell anyone and everyone. Obligate yourself to your own success. The more people you tell, the more you will feel the need to succeed and the more likely you will be successful.
If you are truly passionate about quitting, then there will be no reason to keep it a secret from anybody. Besides, having the support of others will go a long way towards you achieving your goal.
Many smokers smoke (or smoke more) under times of stress. This is natural. Nicotine and the act of smoking has a calming effect.
While it can be impossible to avoid stress altogether, you can try to avoid situations for a while that you know might be stressful. If you happen to find yourself feeling stressed out about something, then that’s a great time to do some exercise, or go somewhere you can chill out. Take deep breaths, think positive thoughts and calm the mind. Listen to some relaxing music after doing a workout. Avoid confrontations. Take some time out to smell the roses. Learn to meditate and clear the mind.
Your health will naturally be your greatest reward for quitting smoking, not to mention extra cash saved. Give yourself a reward or two for your efforts. Buy something you’ve always wanted with that extra money. Give yourself a huge pat on the back for successfully quitting the habit.
It’s a great thing you’ve done. You deserve a reward.
During the first few days to a week, nicotine patches can be an invaluable tool to get you over the worst part of the cravings. The downside to patches is that they tend to keep you addicted to nicotine. You are just administering it into your body through a different medium. Some people have stated that wearing patches makes them feel nauseous. If this happens it’s best to go onto a patch with a lower nicotine level, as it’s an overdose of nicotine that causes the nausea.
There are a wide variety of options available when it comes to patches; with different brands, nicotine levels and day’s worth of patches.
While nicotine patches do tend to prolong the physical cravings, they certainly can help you get over the habit part of smoking cigarettes.
Nicotine chewing gum works a little like the patches, only a smaller hit and for a much shorter space of time. The idea of the gum is to chew it when you have nicotine cravings, that way essentially replacing the cigarette you would have smoked with the gum.
On the downside nicotine chewing gum doesn’t taste that great, but it is effective and does work in the short term. It’s certainly worth having a few packs on hand when the time comes to quit smoking. The gum is not cheap, but then neither are cigarettes these days.
Electronic cigarettes – or ecigs – can be a good alternative to lighting up and smoking real tobacco cigarettes.
There are so many varieties on the market, and so many companies offering different flavours. You can buy ecig cartridges and juices that contain nicotine, or you can purchase cartridges that are nicotine-free.
Electronic cigarettes produce a harmless vapour that is inhaled just like you would do when smoking a cigarette. The vapours come in varying degrees of strength to satisfy even the heaviest of ‘smokers’.
While puffing on ecigs that contain nicotine doesn’t totally get you over the habit of smoking, if you replace tobacco cigarettes with electronic ones, then you are instantly cutting out all the tar, carbon monoxide and all of the other harmful chemicals contained in cigarette smoke. Plus, ecigs have no smell. There is no smoke. Your breath, face, fingers and clothes stay fresh, as does the air around you.
Other Useful Tips
- Brush your teeth regularly
- Drink plenty of water
- Take deep breaths
- Keep your hands and mouth occupied
- Suck on mints
- Try not to think about cigarettes
- Call a Quitline
- Don’t beat yourself up if you falter and have to start again
Always keep in mind that you weren’t born a smoker. There was a time when you didn’t smoke, and you can be free of the slavery of cigarettes again. Believe in yourself.