The question for the ages: how to stop smoking? Quitting smoking is just like treating any other form of addiction: it is completely up to you. If you are serious about finding ways to quit smoking, then this list of unique approaches is sure to be helpful to you. If you don’t think you want to stop smoking, you may want to take some time to read up on the long-term health effects of tobacco products – not to mention addiction as a whole. If you do want to stop smoking, you have come to the right place. People have taken all kinds of approaches to smoking cessation. To give you an idea of some of the lesser-known options out there, we have this list of techniques for quitting smoking. Go ahead and see which approach works for you!
Maybe You Know How to Quit Smoking – But Why Should You?
You are most likely already very aware of the damaging effects of nicotine, cigarettes and other tobacco products. But some of the main points bear repeating. If for nothing else, these are the three main reasons that you should consider starting your path toward your quit date today:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking “harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.”
- The average one-pack-a-day smoker will spend $15,000 over the course of 10 years on cigarettes. By investing that instead, a non-smoker could have over $100,000 in 25 years.
- It’s not too late. Someone who quits smoking by age 30 reduces the health risks of tobacco use by 90%. Someone who quits by age 50 reduces the risks by 50%.
So, go ahead: make the decision to quit! Once you have, consider these five lesser-known techniques that people have used to successfully quit smoking once and for all.
#1: Plan Ahead Before Quitting
Some people try to quit cigarettes cold turkey. They will throw away all their cartons of cigarettes, and commit to never smoking a single cigarette ever again. Sometimes this works, but not very often. Most often people commit to quitting, without actually knowing how to stop smoking. Instead of simply quitting, many professionals recommend creating a plan. This involves some work, but it will be well worth the effort:
- Make a list of everything you like and dislike about smoking. When the ‘dislike’ column is longer, you are ready to quit.
- Set a quit date. As the date approaches, stop buying cigarettes and try smoking less often so that your supply lasts until the quit date comes around. This ‘quit smoking timeline’ will pay off.
- Keep track of when and how often you smoke in the week leading up to your quit date. This way you know when to expect cravings after giving up cigarettes altogether.
- Be creative. Make a list of specific activities you can jump into when a craving for tobacco hits.
Planning ahead is always a good idea, and it’s particularly helpful for anyone looking to quit cigarettes or any other form of tobacco products.
#2: Food is Your Friend – Use Healthier Rewards
When quitting smoking, many people find that they miss the habit of smoking a cigarette more than anything. Lighting up has turned into a kind of ritual over the years, and some people may want this habitual activity even more than the nicotine itself. Thankfully, you don’t have to fully deprive yourself of a habit – there are healthy habits, after all. Instead of smoking a cigarette, consider using sunflower seeds, lollipops, or even carrot sticks to satisfy the habit when you get a craving. Eating nuts in their shell can be particularly helpful in this area: taking them out of their shell with your hands and mouth create the same satisfying sensation as smoking. Brewing yourself some herbal tea can have the same satisfying effect. But don’t try to go on a diet when you’re first starting out on your smoke-free lifestyle! Most diets inherently call for deprivation, and you’re already depriving yourself of cigarettes. Instead of going on a strict diet, try keeping it simple. Introduce more fruits and vegetables into your life. Cook with whole grains and lean protein. This focuses on the wellness of your entire body – including your mind.
#3: Get Counseling for Your Smoking Habit
It may sound extreme at first, but one-on-one counseling has been proven extremely effective in helping people overcome their addictions. Sitting down with a therapist gives those looking for ways to quit smoking less of an opportunity for excuses and more accountability. More than that, a counselor that is experienced in addiction treatment can help individuals talk through the underlying causes of their nicotine use, the triggers that they face in their lives, and specific strategies for overcoming these triggers. If you aren’t quite ready for in-person counseling, 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a fantastic option for getting quitting advice and individual counseling. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline offers all of the following services:
- Brief advice about quitting
- Individual counseling
- Information on smoking cessation medications
- Free or discounted medications
- Self-help materials
- Referrals to other cessation resources
Even if it is up to you to quit smoking, one thing’s for sure: it’s a lot easier to recover from an addiction when you have help. Use these resources and get some good advice on quitting smoking.
#4: Start a New Routine With Regular Exercise
It comes as no surprise that exercise is good for you. But we can’t overstate how important staying active is to overcoming nicotine addiction – or any kind of addiction for that matter. Getting your heart rate up every day will help you feel better, have more energy, and stay motivated to be smoke free. There are no shortcuts! Not only will this help you quit smoking by avoiding cravings, it will also make you happier and healthier in the long run. There are two different ways that exercise can help you on your journey in quitting smoking once and for all.
- Create a Regular Exercise Routine: You may not need to diet to stay healthy, but regular exercise is a healthy choice for anyone and everyone. Cardio workouts and weight lifting not only keep your body fit, but they also keep your mind active and focused on becoming your better self.
- Get Moving When You Experience a Craving: It is also a good idea to get moving as soon as you experience a craving. Intense nicotine cravings typically last for only five to 10 minutes. Instead of sitting in one place, get up to get your mind on something else! Do push ups, go for a walk, or even do some jumping jacks. Any of this will simultaneously keep you distracted and keep you healthy.
#5: Use Technology to Learn How to Quit Smoking
Technology doesn’t have to be a timesuck. You’re reading this article, aren’t you? In recent years, smartphone apps have had a huge beneficial role in helping people of all ages quit smoking. For instance, one app called Text2Quit utilizes a trivia game to keep smokers distracted when they experience cravings. The app will also send reminder texts when the quit date is coming up. The most helpful apps also allow individuals to look up helpful information about quitting smoking, as well as a text-based quitline. There are many apps people use to stop smoking, so take your time to look for one that will work well for you. You can find more information on the government sponsored website SmokeFree.
You Have to Find What Works For You – and Don’t Give Up!
When it comes to how to quit smoking, we firmly believe that everyone’s addiction is different from everyone else’s. No one has the same exact experience with addiction, whether it’s with alcohol or with cigarettes. Because of this, it is important to take the time to find what strategy will work for you to become completely smoke free. As long as it works to help you quit smoking, that is all that matters. The other crucial element to overcoming the power of cigarettes is to try, try again. The majority of people trying to quit cigarettes (or any kind of drug) eventually take the habit back up again – at least for a little while. If you find yourself smoking a cigarette after several weeks or months of being smoke free, don’t let this be discouraging. Turn it into an opportunity to start anew! If you’d like some additional insight into treating addiction and smoking cessation, feel free to contact us today.