8 ways to kick your cigarette habit

Cigarette smoking harms every part of your body. The notion that only your lungs are harmed is only a myth.

Smoking habits lead to a significant reduction in a person’s lifespan. Studies show that it can reduce the lifespan of a male by 12 years and that of a female by 11. What’s most interesting is that the associated health complications are mostly life-threatening, like stroke, lung cancer, heart diseases, and so on.

Tobacco is estimated to contain about 4,000 different harmful chemicals – all of which have no health benefits to the human body. Unfortunately, cigarettes are the most common substance of abuse. Many people who abuse cocaine and heroin began with cigarettes as teens, due to how easy they were to get hold of.

However, if you’re already addicted to smoking, you might have tried kicking the habit and failed. If so, there is no need to sink into despair. Quitting any addiction generally takes a great deal of discipline, preparation, willpower and the right methods. Here are some strategies you can use to kick your cigarette habit:

1. Pick a date: Pick a date to quit. This can be a significant day in your life or any particular date you like. Visualise and prepare your mind for it. The date you should pick should not be too close, so that you have enough time to prepare yourself, a routine and your feeding methods before you start quitting.

The date should not be too far in the future either – so as you don’t change your mind or procrastinate. You need to internalise this date and focus on what it means to you. Mark the date on your calendar so that it gives you a sense of structure (which is important).

2. Recognise your triggers: triggers contribute to why most cessation attempts fail. It’s easier to stay on track on a very good day, but certain triggers can make quitting seem impossible. Some common triggers include peers, work pressure, relationship troubles, financial stress, anxiety, fear and confusion.

Once you’re able to recognise these triggers and work around them, you will be able to mitigate the threat they pose to quitting.

3. Ask for help: attempting to quit smoking by yourself is a very noble thing to do. When achieved, this will restore confidence and boost your sense of self worth. However, most cessation attempts don’t play out that way. Dependency on nicotine is strong; therefore, you should seek behavioural support, which ranges from self-help books, support groups, phone and online counselling to individual counseling sessions. This will significantly increase the chances of quitting in the long-term.

4. Replacement therapy: this is also a clever way to quit smoking, but it works best as a supplement for other options. Nicotine replacement therapy involves using tools that offer nicotine without tobacco.

This method works most effectively for the withdrawal phase that will come after quitting.  This includes:

  • Nicotine gum and patch: these are the most popular methods of replacing nicotine. You should try both to see which works best for you. For the gum, slowly chew about nine pieces every day. One patch should be applied each day and should be worn on the skin, anywhere between the neck and waist.
  • E-cigarettes: studies have shown that these are less addictive than cigarettes and their presence has led to the decision of many people to quit cigarettes and duly helped in the process. They are pen-like devices that heat up liquids which generate vapour to stimulate the feeling of smoking tobacco. License to Vape features reviews of different vaping pens to help determine the perfect fit for you and has even reviewed the best online vape stores.
  • Inhaler: this is known as a ‘nicotrol inhaler’ and reduces your urge to smoke.

5. Medications: there are approved drugs to assist cigarette cessation. A therapist can choose between bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) for you. Bupropion will be recommended for heavy smokers. It acts on the neurochemicals in the smoker’s brain that encourage nicotine cravings and also relieves the symptom characteristic of smoking withdrawal. Your healthcare provider will most likely recommend it be taken about a week before your quit date.

Veranicline should also be used by heavy smokers. It targets nicotine receptors in the brain to reduce the pleasure one derives from smoking and also helps aid withdrawal symptoms. Even after successfully quitting, it’s advised that you continue to take it for another 12 weeks to decrease the chances of relapse.

6. Inform others: one method that seems insignificant is informing friends and family about out your attempts at quitting. However, if you’re aiming to quit long-term, this method will help immensely. Having family, friends and colleagues  around you that smoke makes it more difficult to give up.

However, having them go through the same journey as you will improve your chances of quitting. They can particularly help with your triggers by not introducing them into your personal space (whether unintentional or otherwise) or helping you work through the triggers without relapsing.

7. Changing smoking habits: most smokers work some habits around smoking; subsequently, quitting these habits will significantly improve their chances of quitting smoking. The most common of these habits is ingesting alcoholic drinks whilst smoking.

However, replacing alcohol with water or a nonalcoholic beverage will shift the alcohol-tobacco routine and reduce the intensity of addiction. The same goes for timing. Some people smoke immediately after dinner or during lunch breaks. Switching your smoking time will lessen the addiction and should be part of your preparation before your quit date.

8. Making a deal: this works in many ways. You can choose to reward yourself anytime you reach a milestone in your quit plan. Some people choose to quit little by little.

Another way to go about this is to make a deal with another smoker who is also trying to quit. Each of you agree to pay a fine to the other, anytime you smoke. The thrill of the competition and the need to quit smoking will encourage you to resist.

See www.batsonchirowellness.com for more help and information.