We all know the health risks involved with smoking, but that doesn’t make it any easier to quit the habit. Whether you’re a teen smoker or a lifetime pack-a-day smoker, quitting can be really tough.
The nicotine in cigarettes offers a quick and reliable way to boost your outlook, relieve stress, and unwind. Tobacco cravings or urges to smoke can be powerful. But you’re not at the mercy of these cravings.
To successfully quit smoking, you’ll need to not only change your behavior and cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms but also find healthier ways to manage your moods.
With the right game plan, though, you can break the addiction and join the millions of people who’ve kicked the habit for good.
Your personal stop smoking plan to give up Smoking
While some smokers successfully quit by going cold turkey, most people do better with a plan to keep themselves on track.
A good plan addresses both the short-term challenge of quitting smoking and the long-term challenge of preventing relapse. It should also be tailored to your specific needs and smoking habits.
But you also need to ask yourself certain questions such as;
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Is it a very bad addiction (more than a pack a day)? Or are you more of a social smoker? Would a simple nicotine patch do the job?
Are there certain activities, places, or people you associate with smoking? Do you feel the need to smoke at every meal?
Do you reach for cigarettes when you’re feeling stressed or down? Or is your cigarette smoking linked to other addictions, such as alcohol or gambling?
Start your stop smoking plan with S.T.A.R.T
S = Set a quit date
Choose a date within the next two weeks, so you have enough time to prepare without losing your motivation to quit. If you mainly smoke at work, quit on the weekend, so you have a few days to adjust to the change.
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit
Let your friends and family in on your plan to quit smoking and tell them you need their support and encouragement to stop. Look for a quit buddy who wants to stop smoking as well. You can help each other get through the rough times.
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting
Most people who begin smoking again do so within the first three months. You can help yourself make it through by preparing ahead for common challenges, such as nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco-related products from your home, car, and work
Throw away all of your cigarettes (no emergency pack), lighters, ashtrays, and matches. Wash your clothes and freshen up anything that smells like smoke. Shampoo your car, clean your drapes and carpet, and steam your furniture.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit
Your doctor can prescribe medication to help with withdrawal and suggest other alternatives. If you can’t see a doctor, you can get many products over the counter at your local pharmacy or grocery store, including the nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges, and nicotine gum.
Here are 10 practical steps to quit smoking when a tobacco craving strikes
1. Try nicotine replacement therapy
Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. The options include:
- Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler
- Over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges
- Prescription non-nicotine stop-smoking medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix)
Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies — such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays or inhalers — can help you overcome intense cravings. These short-acting therapies are generally safe to use in combination with long-acting nicotine patches or one of the non-nicotine medications.
Electronic cigarettes have had a lot of attention recently as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
However, more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and the long-term safety of these devices.