Tip #1: Choose a strong, personal reason to quit
“Because it’s bad for you” isn’t good enough. To have the will power to quit and stay quit you need a powerful and personal reason to quit. Maybe you have small children and don’t want to expose them to second hand smoke. Perhaps you have a family history of cancer and are deathly afraid. Come to a conclusion of what is the best reason for you to quit. Something that is mightier than the urge to light up.
Tip #2: Don’t Just Go Cold Turkey
We’ve all heard of people going “cold turkey”. It sound tempting to just throw out your cigarettes but going cold turkey is very difficult to do and I don’t recommend it. Over 90% over people who quit smoking without the help of therapy or medication end up relapsing and go right back to smoking. This is because nicotine is very addictive. Your brain is used to having nicotine and it likes it, it craves it. When nicotine becomes absent, intense symptoms of nicotine withdrawal occur.
Tip #3: Use Nicotine-Replacement Therapy (NRT)
When you stop smoking the craving for “just one more drag” on a cigarette will be overwhelming. When you quit smoking you will experience intense withdrawal symptoms. You feel irritable, restless, frustrated and depressed. But nicotine-replacement therapy can reduce and control these feelings. Nicotine patches, lozenges and gum will help double your chances of quitting successfully. It is generally not recommended to use these medications while smoking.
Tip #4: Ask your Doctor about nicotine prescription pills
The probability of successful quitting is much higher when NRT medication is used. The use of nicotine-containing medication is a transition step to not having to use any medication eventually after you have successfully quit and taken back your life from nicotine addiction/withdrawal. Medication delivered by mouth or through a patch is not like smoking. Developing a dependency on these medications is uncommon. Some examples of prescription Nicotine-Replacement Therapy pills are: Bupropion (Generic: Zyban, Wellbutrin SR), and Varenicline (Generic: Chantix) you would start these medications 1-2 weeks before your quit date and continue to use them for 2-6 months. A nicotine inhaler or nasal spray (Nicotrol) is another means of withdrawal control your doctor may order for you. These pills and sprays will help reduce and control your cravings to smoke. They affect chemicals in the brain. If you were to smoke a cigarette while on these medications it would be far less satisfying. Your physician may also order other medications to relieve feelings of depression and/or the inability to concentrate. Let your doctor help you stop smoking.
Tip #5: Don’t Quit Alone/Pick a Quit Date and tell everyone
Tell everyone you know that you are quitting smoking. Tell your family and all of your friends and co-workers that you are quitting. The encouragement you receive will make all the difference on the most difficult days when you are tempted to pick up a cigarette. They will be more supportive of you and understanding of your irritability (everyone has some) if they know what you are undertaking. Ask your doctor to recommend a support group or a counselor to speak with as well. Combining medications with counseling will increase the probability of your quitting.
Tip #6: Manage Your Stress/Reward yourself
Most people will tell you that they smoke because the nicotine helps them relax. While and after quitting you’ll need other ways to handle daily stress. When ever you think of smoking, take a walk. Physical activity always helps to decrease stress and it magically gives you a positive outlook. Listen to your favorite music and get a massage every two weeks as a reward for quitting. If at all possible try to avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks of quitting. This is why it is crucial to communicate with people in your life to let them know that you are quitting smoking. As you enjoy all your new found health benefits you will realize you have more money in your pocket. One huge benefit of quitting smoking is all the money you will save. Spend this money on yourself as your reward for quitting. Invest in a new hobby or buy a gym membership. When you quit smoking your life will change in many ways you never imagined. New habits will come to you. Invest in yourself and build a better life.
Tip #7: Avoid Triggers
Certain habits or activities will increase the temptation to smoke. Drinking alcohol is one of the most common triggers. Because almost all smokers must have a cigarette lit when they are drinking. You need to make some new habits. When you do drink socially, chew on a straw or swizzle stick in place of a cigarette. If coffee is a trigger switch to tea or again use a swizzle stick instead. And if you usually smoke after meals, you must find something new to do instead. Try brushing your teeth or popping some gum in your mouth in place of a cigarette. Your mouth will appreciate it!
Tip #8: Clean House of all traces of cigarettes
As soon as you finish smoking your last cigarette, get rid of all your lighters and ashtrays. Clean your carpets, curtains and furniture. Spray everything with a fresh fragrance and wash the last of your smoke-smelling clothes. You don’t need to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.
Tip #9: Move Your Body!
Exercise always makes your mind and body feel more alive and clear. It will help reduce nicotine cravings and ease many withdrawal symptoms. Keep your mind and your body busy. Haven’t you always wanted to have a garden? Well, now’s the perfect time to plant one! You’ll be busy pulling weeds before you know it and enjoying all your delicious vegetables. When you feel yourself wanting to smoke, go for a walk with your dog instead or head to the gym where you can really get away from it all! The extra calories you burn will also ward off any weight you may gain as you are well on your way to quitting smoking.