The health risks of smoking have been widely publicized and you all know about them. Wanting to quit because "it's bad for you" is usually not enough for most people. You'll need something more powerful and personal to motivate you to quit. Perhaps your wife has just given birth and you want to protect your newborn child from second hand smoke. Perhaps the thought of developing lung cancer frightens you. Perhaps you are tired of the smell of smoke, of having yellow teeth etc. Look within yourself and find a reason that is strong enough for you to resist the urge to light up.
Why Quitting Can Be So Difficult
Throw away all your cigarettes and declare that you are now smoke-free! Simple right? For those who have tried, you'll know it's not as simple as it sounds. About 95% of those who go cold-turkey without therapy or help from their doctors, end up relapsing.
Face it, nicotine is addictive! It is both a psychological habit and a physical addiction! The act of lighting up at a particular time or place everyday is very much a part of your daily ritual - it is a habit. Furthermore, the nicotine contained in cigarettes provides an addictive "high". Suddenly stopping the brain's regular fix of nicotine will cause severe physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Ask yourself the following questions to help identify your smoking habits. They will also help you identify the techniques or therapies that are most likely to work for you.
• Are you more of a social smoker or are you a heavy smoker?
• If you are a social smoker, under what social settings do you most commonly light up? (eg. after a meal, when out with friends, at pubs)
• Is smoking for you linked to other addictions, such as gambling or alcohol?
• Have you attempted quitting before? If so, what was your experience like? What caused you to relapse?
• Do you often find the urge to light up when stressed?
• Are you open to talking to a therapist or counselor?
• Will you have support from family and friends if you should decide to quit smoking?
• Are you open to getting into a fitness program?
10 Tips To Successful Quitting
1. Manage Your Stress Levels - anxiety and stress are some of the more common reasons why people smoke. Nicotine in cigarettes helps them relax. Learning to manage stress levels (eg. by listening to relaxing music, taking up yoga/meditation, exercising or going for a massage or spa therapy) can help reduce the urge to smoke.
If you've successfully quit smoking, the feelings that prompted you to smoke in the past are likely to still be part of your life. So you'll have to learn healthier techniques for dealing with these stressful situations that would normally have you pick up that cigarette.
2. Managing Cravings Associated With Meals - if you have the habit of lighting up after every meal, try the following: replace the moment after the meal with something else, such as a piece of fruit, desert, coffee with chocolate etc. Turn this into your new ritual.
3. Alcohol & Smoking - many have the habit of smoking when drinking alcohol. Try sitting inside bars and restaurants where smoking is prohibited. Snack on some nuts or chew on a toothpick or straw instead.
4. Exercise - join an exercise program and keep physically active. When you feel the urge to pick up a cigarette, put on your jogging shoes or hop on your bicycle instead.
5. Keep your hands busy - replace the urge to hold a cigarette with a pen, "stress ball" etc.
6. Chew on mints, nuts, gum etc.
7. Don't Do It Alone - tell your family and friends that you intend to quit and get their support and encouragement. Speak to a counselor or join a smokers support group. You may also want to consider behavioural therapy or psychotherapy.
8. Speak to your doctor about Nicotine replacement products or medication which can help you quit.
9. Start afresh - once you've smoked your last stick, throw out all your lighters and ashtrays. Give your house, car and clothes a good clean to rid them of the smell of cigarette smoke. Use air fresheners to make your home/car smell nice and fresh. Go to the dentist and have your teeth (yellowed from the years of smoking) whitened.
10. Choose Your Reward - Use the money you've saved from not buying cigarettes to reward yourself.
The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.