To quit smoking, you need to not only change your behavior and deal with the withdrawal symptoms felt by cutting off nicotine, but also find other ways to control your moods.
So what’s the best way to quit?
Prepare for quit day
Once you’ve decided to stop smoking, you’re ready to set a deadline to stop. Choose a day that isn’t too far away in the future (so you won’t change your mind), which gives you enough time to prepare. Before date of quit. You can continue smoking until the date you quit, and then stop. Or you can slowly reduce your intake of cigarettes until the date you quit, and then stop.
After all, the American Cancer Society offers several tips to help you plan for the day before you quit:
- Tell your friends, family and colleagues about the day you quit
- Throw away all the ashtrays and cigarettes.
- Decide whether to go “cold turkey” or to use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medicine.
- If you are planning on joining a stop-smoking group sign up now.
- Oral alternatives such as hard candy, sugarless gum, carrot sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and toothpicks should be kept.
- Establish a support system, such as a family member who has successfully quit and is happy to assist you.
- Tell family and friends not to smoke near you.
- If you have already tried to quit, talk about what succeeded and what didn’t.
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 certainly feel the urge during your quit day to smoke a lot of times but it will pass. The following actions can help in fighting the urge to smoke:
- Delay the desire until it disappears. Sometimes, the temptation to smoke comes and goes within 3-5 minutes.
- Deep breathe. Breathe in at a count of three slowly through your nose and exhale for a count of three through your mouth Visualize fresh air filling up your lungs.
- Drink a sip of water to control the cravings.
- Try something else to get yourself distracted Perhaps go for a walk
Nicotine withdrawal can give you headaches when you stop smoking, affect your mood or sap your energy. The desire for “just one drag” is hard. Replacement therapy with nicotine can curb those impulses. Studies show that when you are also on a quit-smoking program, nicotine gum, lozenges and patches improve your chances of success.
Five types of NRT have been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- skin patches
- chewing gum
- nasal spray (prescription only)
- inhaler (prescription only)
Consider non-nicotine medications
Two non-nicotin based medications have been licensed by the FDA to help smokers quit. These are the varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban).
When you find you’d like to use one of these to help you stop smoking, talk to your healthcare provider, as you’ll need a prescription.
Risks associated with the use of these drugs include changes in behaviour, depressed mood, aggression, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Seek behavioral support
Although some people are self-successful, many have a hard time — and it often takes multiple attempts to quit for good. Request for support. There are many ways to get support, from one-on – one in person, to request support on the telephone, to mobile phone aps. Many counseling programs are free, and will even make nicotine patches available free of charge.
Apart from your doctor, here are a few places to start:
- smoking helpline: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)
- local and state quitlines: 1- 800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- LiveHelp online chat
- Smokefree website
- SmokefreeTXT text messaging service
Many alternate ways to help you quit smoking may include:
- Smoking deterrents
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
- Tobacco strips and sticks
- Nicotine drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms
- Magnet therapy
- Cold laser therapy
- Herbs and supplements
- Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation
The FDA does not approve electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as aids to help quit smoking. This is because research findings have been contradictory on vaping.
The long-term effects of use of e-cigarettes are still not known. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, are currently investigating an epidemic of lung disease and death in adults who have used some types of e-cigarette. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing. Some patients have reported nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or other problems with the stomach, as well as fever or fatigue. The CDC has recommended:
- Do not purchase them “off the highway” if you use e-cigarette or vape products and do not change anything or add anything to the products you buy.
- Try not using any e-cigarette or vape devices when you are worried about these health risks.
- If you are an adult who used nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or vaping products to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to cigarettes. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms see a health care provider immediately.
Quitting smoking requires effort and planning-not chance. Decide on a personal plan to stop the use of cigarettes, and stick to it.
(source: cancer.org, medicalnewstoday.com)