Quitting smoking: 5 ways to stop it

Deciding you’re ready to stop smoking now is just half the fight. Knowing where to get going on your journey to smoke-free will help you make the leap. We’ve put together some easy ways to prevent you from smoking today.

Quitting smoking
It can be difficult to stop smoking, but we have put together some measures that can support you along the way.

According to the American Lung Association, cigarette use and exposure to second-hand smoke was responsible for more than http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/ in the United States annually.

Many people are aware of the various health hazards associated with cigarette smoking and yet, in the U.S., “tobacco use appears to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease.”

Quitting smoking is not a single occurrence happening on one day; it is a journey. By leaving, you will boost the quality and length of your life and the lives of those around you.

Not only do you need to change your actions to deal with the withdrawal effects felt by cutting off nicotine, you do need to find new ways and control your moods and stop smoking.

You will break free from nicotine addiction with the right game plan, and kick the habit for good. Here are five ways to prevent the prevention of smoking.

Prepare for quit day

When you’ve agreed to stop smoking, you’re happy to set a date to leave. Select a day that isn’t too far out in the future (so you don’t change your mind), but that allows you ample time to plan.

Quitting smoking tips
Choose your quit date and prepare to stop smoking altogether on that day.

There are several ways to stop smoking, but ultimately, you need to decide whether you are going to:

  • quit abruptly, or continue smoking right up until your quit date and then stop
  • quit gradually, or reduce your cigarette intake slowly until your quit date and then stop

Studies that contrasted sudden quitting with smoking reduction showed that neither yielded higher quit rates over the other so choose the approach that suits you better.

Here are some tips the American Cancer Society offers to help you plan for the day you quit:

  • Tell friends, family, and co-workers about your quit date.
  • Throw away all cigarettes and ashtrays.
  • Decide whether you are going to go “cold turkey” or use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medicines.
  • If you plan to attend a stop-smoking group, sign up now.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes, such as hard candy, sugarless gum, carrot sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and toothpicks.
  • Set up a support system, such as a family member that has successfully quit and is happy to help you.
  • Ask friends and family who smoke to not smoke around you.
  • If you have tried to quit before, think about what worked and what did not.

Daily tasks-such as waking up in the morning, finishing a meal, and taking a coffee break-can also cause the desire to smoke a cigarette. But breaking the connection between the trigger and smoking is a good way to help fight the urge to smoke.

On your quit day:

  • Do not smoke at all.
  • Stay busy.
  • Begin use of your NRT if you have chosen to use one.
  • Attend a stop-smoking group or follow a self-help plan.
  • Drink more water and juice.
  • Drink less or no alcohol.
  • Avoid individuals who are smoking.
  • Avoid situations wherein you have a strong urge to smoke.

You will almost definitely have the urge during your quit day to smoke a couple of times but it will pass. The following acts will help in battling the temptation to smoke:

  • Delay until the craving passes. The urge to smoke often comes and goes within 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Deep breathe. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Visualize your lungs filling with fresh air.
  • Drink water sip by sip to beat the craving.
  • Do something else to distract yourself. Perhaps go for a walk.

Remembering the four Ds can often help you to move beyond your urge to light up.

Use NRTs

Going cold turkey, or stopping smoking without the aid of NRT, medicine, or therapy, is a common way to quit. Just around 6 percent of these attempts to leave are successful though. It is easy to underestimate how strong a dependency on nicotine really is.

NRTs can help you to fight the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.
NRTs can help you to fight the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

NRT may reduce your cravings and symptoms of withdrawal which can impede your attempt to quit smoking. NRTs are designed to extract your body from cigarettes, and provide you with a regulated dose of nicotine while preventing exposure to other tobacco chemicals.

Five forms of NRT have been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • skin patches
  • chewing gum
  • lozenges
  • nasal spray (prescription only)
  • inhaler (prescription only)

If you’ve wanted to go down the NRT path, speak with a health care provider about your dosage before you stop smoking. Note that while you are more likely to stop smoking using NRT, the aim is to fully end your addiction to nicotine, and not just stop tobacco.

If you experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fast or erratic heartbeat, mouth discomfort or skin swelling when using these products, contact your healthcare provider.

Consider non-nicotine medications

Two non-nicotin containing drugs have been licensed by the FDA to help smokers quit. Which are the varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban).

Bupropion and varenicline are non-nicotine
Bupropion and varenicline are non-nicotine drugs which can help reduce the effects of cravings and withdrawal.

If you find you’d like to try one of these to help you quit smoking, talk to your healthcare provider, because you’ll need a prescription.

Bupropion works on chemicals in the brain that have a role to play in nicotine cravings and decreases nicotine withdrawal cravings and symptoms. Bupropion is used as a pill for 12 weeks but if you quit smoking successfully in that period, you can use it for another 3 to 6 months to reduce the risk of smoking relapse.

Varenicline interferes with the brain’s nicotine receptors, which increases the enjoyment you get from tobacco use, and decreases the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Varenicline has been used for 12 weeks but once again, if you kicked the cigarette successfully, you can use the drug for another 12 weeks to reduce the risk of smoking relapse.

Risks associated with the use of such medications include changes in personality, depressed mood, violence, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or acts.

Seek behavioral support

The mental and physical dependency on smoking makes it impossible to stay away from cigarettes until the day you leave. You have to address this dependency, to leave. Trying counseling services, materials for self-help, and support services can help you get through that time. When your physical symptoms change over the course of time, so do the mental ones.

Personal counseling or support groups will increase the chances of smoking cessation over the long term.
Personal counseling or support groups will increase the chances of smoking cessation over the long term.

Combining drugs – such as NRT, bupropion, and varenicline – with therapeutic intervention has been shown to increase the chances of reduction of long-term smoking by up to 25 percent.

Behavioral treatment may vary from written information and guidance to in-person, electronic, or online community therapy or individual counseling. Self-help resources are likely to raise leave rates relative to almost no assistance, but generally, individual therapy is the most effective form of behavioral treatment.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) offers assistance to those wishing to avoid smoking through its support services:

Support groups, such as Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), can prove useful too. NicA applies the 12-step process of Alcoholics Anonymous to tobacco addiction. You can find your nearest NicA group using their website or by calling 1-877-TRY-NICA (1-877-879-6422).

Try alternative therapies

Some people consider alternative treatments helpful to help them stop smoking, but there is currently no clear evidence that any of these can increase the chances of being smoke-free, and in some cases these approaches may potentially encourage the person to smoke more.

Some alternative approaches to help you quit smoking can include:

E-cigarettes have had some promising research results in helping with smoking cessation.
E-cigarettes have had some promising research results in helping with smoking cessation.
  • filters
  • smoking deterrents
  • electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
  • tobacco strips and sticks
  • nicotine drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms
  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • magnet therapy
  • cold laser therapy
  • herbs and supplements
  • yoga, mindfulness, and meditation

E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes should not be advertised as an help to stop smoking, but many people who smoke see them as a means of giving up the habit.

Currently E-cigarettes are a hot subject of science. Studies also found that e-cigarettes are less addictive than cigarettes, that the rise in e-cigarette usage was related to a substantial increase in cessation of smoking, and that current smokers who use e-cigarettes on a regular basis are more likely to stop smoking than those who have not tried e-cigarettes.

The benefits from the use of e-cigarettes may not be without risk. Studies have shown that e-cigarettes are potentially as dangerous in causing DNA damage as tobacco cigarettes, and are associated with increased arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Quitting smoking involves commitment and preparation – not chance. Decide on a personal plan to avoid the use of tobacco, and pledge to adhere to it.

Weigh up all of your choices and determine whether to attend a quit-smoking class, call a quitline, go to a support group, seek advice online or self-help, or use NRTs or drugs. A combination of two or more of these approaches will make you more likely to become smoke-free.

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