Smoking can be one of the worst addictions to have. It becomes so ingrained in your everyday life that you just can’t get rid of it, no matter how much you want to. Since the process is anything but simple, strategies to quit smoking become all the more important. Applying some proven strategies to quit smoking can end your dependence on tobacco once and for all. It is one of the best things that you can do for yourself; we’ve already highlighted the benefits of quitting smoking. However, we also realize that it can be difficult and that most smokers need several attempts to achieve it. So how can you quit, hopefully, forever? These proven strategies to quit smoking can help you achieve your goal of quitting smoking.
MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES TO QUIT SMOKING
WRITE DOWN WHY YOU WANT TO QUIT
List all the reasons why you want to quit smoking. Every time you take a cigarette or feel the need to do so, read the list to remember why you want to quit smoking. Store it in your phone, paste it somewhere on your workstation. Memorize the list so that you keep reminding yourself of your motivation to quit. These could include the following:
- Improve health
- Live longer for wife and children
- Reduce the risk of illness
- Do not expose your family or your friends to secondhand smoke
- Set a good example for your children
- Save money
- Get rid of the persistent smell of tobacco smoke.
GETTING DOWN TO IT
When beginning to work on strategies to quit smoking, one can fail miserably at first. But this should never discourage you. Trying to abruptly end the habit, just like that, will most likely fail. Instead, it is more convenient for you to start the process by gradually reducing tobacco consumption. There is recent evidence that shows that using the prescription drug varenicline (Chantix) and following a strict reduction program can reduce consumption.
Ways to reduce tobacco consumption progressively include delaying the first cigarette of the day. This is followed by gradually lengthening the time between cigarettes. For example, smoking only half of each cigarette and buying only one pack of cigarettes at a time.
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
Treatments that can reduce the compulsion to smoke include nicotine replacement therapies, which can be given through skin patches, lozenges, chewing gum, inhalers or nasal sprays. These treatments begin the day you quit smoking. There are other medications without nicotine that can relieve withdrawal symptoms, since they mimic the effect of nicotine on the body. Treatment with these medications, such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix), should begin one to two weeks before the day you will quit smoking.
LOOK FOR THERAPY
Individual, group or telephone therapy can provide you with the necessary support and help to develop the ability to face a difficult situation. Combining medication therapy is the most effective way to succeed when you want to quit smoking. The doctor can refer you to local resources or support groups. Look for people in the family or your friends circle who have quit the habit. Talk to them and ask for their counselling.
The benefits include the following:
- Mutual support among people trying to quit
- Ability to face a difficult situation to address stressors and other triggers
- Strategies to deal with mood changes
- Share tips on what are the most beneficial behaviors and strategies
- Education about the benefits of quitting smoking
TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Tell your family, your friends and your co-workers that you are going to quit smoking. Let them know how they can support you better. For example, you might consider the following ideas:
- Tell them what day you will quit smoking.
- Ask them to help you monitor your progress.
- Plan activities or trips with them to avoid thinking about smoking.
- Expect them to be patient with your mood swings.
- Ask them not to judge you or criticize you if you have a relapse.
- Ask your smoking friends not to smoke near you or offer you a cigarette.
RUN FROM YOUR INSTIGATORS
Recognize and avoid places and situations that make you want to smoke.
- Spend time with people who do not smoke or who also want to stop.
- Avoid designated smoking areas outside buildings.
- Stay busy at times when boredom may tempt you to smoke.
- Create new routines that are not related to the action of smoking, such as taking a new road to work or chewing gum while driving.
- Get up from the table immediately after finishing eating.
- Drink water or tea instead of coffee or alcohol.
- Practice saying, “No thanks, I don’t smoke.”
STRESS CONTROL IS KEY
Stress and anxiety can increase your desire to smoke and deviate from your efforts to stop. Consider the following strategies to manage stress:
- Prioritize your tasks.
- Rest when you need it.
- Practice relaxation exercises, deep breathing or meditation.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Exercise regularly.
- Find a creative activity, such as art, music, crafts or dance.
CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Did you spend the day without a cigarette? Give yourself a special taste. Did you spend the week Calculate how much you saved by not buying cigarettes. Use the money you saved to give yourself a special taste or invest for the future.
Reward your effort by doing something you like every day, such as spending more time with your children or grandchildren, going to a game of a sport you like, going for a walk, taking a dip or watching a movie. All your little achievements can help you achieve your goal of quitting smoking forever.