There has never been a better time to quit smoking. Health is on everyone’s minds right now thanks to the pandemic, and many are trying to boost their immune systems by making sure they are as healthy as possible. Undoubtedly, one of the worst things we can do for our health, and for our respiratory system in particular, is smoking.
However, quitting smoking is certainly easier said than done. An addiction to nicotine is very powerful and it’s not as simple as just throwing away that pack of cigarettes. It is possible, though, with the right approach. Here are seven tips to help you to quit smoking.
Decide Whether to go Cold Turkey
There are essentially two options when it comes to quitting smoking. You can go “cold turkey,” that is stop smoking completely overnight. Alternatively, you can plan to gradually reduce your cigarette intake until you eventually are not smoking at all.
There is much debate about which of these approaches is best. Many people believe that going cold turkey is too difficult, as the nicotine addiction will cause you to quickly start smoking again if you quit suddenly. However, one study found that participants who quit suddenly were more successful in quitting compared to those who gradually cut back. It should be noted that both groups in the study were offered counselling as well as nicotine replacements such as patches.
Ultimately, this is a personal choice and you need to decide which approach you think will work best for you. The key is to having as much support as possible, as we will explore further in the points below.
Look into Nicotine Replacements
In the study mentioned above, as well as countless others, nicotine replacement was key to the success of former smokers who successfully quit. Nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, involves using nicotine substitutes to help you stay away from cigarettes, and gradually step down your nicotine addiction.
This is important because nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs there is. Once you have a nicotine addiction, if you stop using nicotine you will very soon experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms. NRTs like patches and chewing gum help you to manage that.
Although you would like to quit ASAP, it is also important to be prepared rather than rushing to quit too fast. Being well-prepared to quit smoking will greatly improve the chances that you will stick to it. If you plan to go cold turkey, pick a date that is not too far away and plan to either stop smoking completely on that day. If you are going to gradually scale down your intake, plan how fast you will step this down and determine your final quit date.
You should also decide whether you are going to use nicotine replacement products such as patches or gums, and have these ready to go. Peer support is incredibly important: consider signing up to smoking cessation classes, as well as telling your friends and family that you are trying to quit smoking. This will let them support you and understand if you are behaving a little differently.
Investigate Alternative Therapies
Scientific research has found that people who use the support of nicotine replacement therapies are more successful in quitting smoking and less likely to return to the habit. There are also some alternative therapies that may be helpful in kicking the powerful nicotine addiction, so it is worth investigating these and considering if they may be right for you.
In particular, CBD products have been found to help to treat addiction. Various studies have found that CBD, derived from cannabis but without the chemicals which produce a “high,” can interrupt addictive tendencies and therefore help to stop dependency on certain substances. There is also evidence that taking CBD makes cigarettes less appealing to smokers.
Try Behavioral and Motivational Therapies
Other therapies which may be helpful when quitting smoking include behavioural and motivational therapies. Behavioural therapy helps to address the habitual nature of a smoking addiction. Dependency on cigarettes is linked not only to the chemical effects of nicotine (which is bad enough on its own) but also the habits and rituals that come with smoking and that can be very difficult to break. Behavioural therapy helps to break these habits and replace them with alternatives.
Motivational therapy is another powerful tool because it helps you to focus on the reasons you want to quit smoking. There are many great reasons to quit, from your health and the health of your loved ones, to the financial incentive – this is a very expensive habit after all! Motivational therapy is often something that can be self-directed, with the help of self-help books and websites. For example, one exercise you can do is to calculate how much you’ll save by quitting and planning what you want to spend that money on.
This post may contain affiliate links