How to quit smoking

How to quit smoking?

How to quit smokingWhether you have just started smoking or have been smoking your entire life, quitting can be tough. In order to make sure that you do not start smoking again it is important to learn about your options of quitting smoking. Learning about what ways are best for you will make the process easier. With the right plan, you can break the addiction and get out of your habit of smoking.

Why is quitting so hard?

For most people smoking cigarettes or tobacco is not only a physical addition but has also become a psychological habit. It is commonly known that nicotine in tobacco provides a temporary high. Once your body has been exposed to nicotine for a longer period of time, it causes your body to crave nicotine. Once you eliminate the regular intake of nicotine, your body experiences both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Since smoking is also a psychological addiction, most people excuse their smoking habit by stating that it is a way of coping with boredom, stress and anxiety. Due to both the physical and psychological addition smoking is often ingrained as a daily ritual. It becomes normal to have a cigarette while drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, while waiting for the bus or when taking  a break from work or school. In some cases, smokers are surrounded with friends and family members who smoke as well. In this way it becomes part of the way you relate to your environment. In order to successfully quit smoking it is important to address both the habits and the addition of smoking. The next paragraph will outline one of the many approaches currently in place to address smoking addictions.


While some people quit smoking without any trouble, most people need a plan. A plan does not only give them direction but it also keeps them on track with regards to their progress. A good and efficient plan addresses both the long-term challenge of preventing relapse as well as the short-term challenge of quitting smoking. It is also important that a plan is adapted to the needs and habits of each specific individual. This means there is not one detailed plan, but one should adapt the plan according to their own needs. One of the approaches to quitting smoking is called the START-approach. This paragraph will go through each of the single steps of this approach.

S: Set a quit date
Set a date within the near future, preferable within the next two to three weeks, when you want to stop smoking. The date should not be too close to the present moment. This is in order for you not to lose motivation and you have time to mentally prepare yourself for the change.

T: Tell family, friends and colleagues about your plan to quit smoking
It is important to tell friends and family about your plan to quit smoking. In this way they will be able to support and encourage you to stop smoking. What often helps is to look for a quit buddy. By finding yourself a quit buddy you will be able to get each other through the hard times.

A: Anticipate the challenges you will face while quitting
In the process of quitting smoking there will be a few tough challenges you will have to overcome. One of the most common challenged is falling back into your old smoking routine. Most people who start smoking again do this within the first couple of months. In order to prevent falling back in a situation like this, you can prepare yourself ahead for these challenges.
R: Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your environment.
It is important to distance yourself from tobacco products. This means that you should remove cigarettes from your home, car and workplace. Moreover, make sure your clothes and car do not smell like cigarettes since these are often the places where the cigarette smell is the strongest.
T: Talk to your doctor about your plan to quit smoking
When you want to quit smoking you will most likely be dealing with withdrawal symptoms. It is therefore important to approach your doctor and talk to him about your plan. Your doctor can prescribe you medication that help with the withdrawal symptoms. If you are not able to see a doctor, there is also a lot of products available at pharmacies that do not need a prescription. For example, nicotine gum, nicotine patches and nicotine lozenges.

Reflect on your behavior

In order to make sure your plan of quitting smoking is effective and adapted to your needs, it is beneficial to reflect on your smoking behavior. By reflecting on your own behavior you will be able to identify therapies, techniques and tips which are most beneficial for you. Some of the questions that you could ask to identify what kind of smoker you are, are to be found below:
- Are you addicted to smoking cigarettes, or do you just smoke a cigarette once in a while?
- Are you a social smoker  (someone who smokes when other people around him/her smoke)?
- Do you feel the need to smoke a cigarette after every meal?
- Do you consider cigarettes as a way of distressing?
- Is smoking cigarettes related to another addiction, for example gambling of drinking alcohol?
- Are there specific places, people or activities you associate with smoking?
- Are you able to talk openly about your smoking addiction with a counselor?
- Are you interested in doing a fitness program that would be able to help you quit smoking?

Withdrawal symptoms

It is very common that you will face withdrawal symptoms. As unpleasant as they might be, withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. Once the toxins have been flushed from your body after a couple of weeks, you will notice that the withdrawal symptoms will disappear. In the meantime you should inform your friends and family about your plan to quit smoking and the fact that you might not be yourself completely. In this way they will be able to understand your situation and provide you with the necessary support.  The most common withdrawal symptoms are:
- Insomnia
- Cigarette cravings
- Increased coughing
- Fatigue
- Irritability, frustration and anger
- Anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Headaches
- Upset stomach or constipation
- Decreased heart rate

Cigarette cravings

Cigarette cravings is one of the most common withdrawal symptoms in the process of quitting smoking. One way to help you reduce the urge to smoke is to avoid smoking triggers. While cigarette cravings cannot be avoided completely, it is possible  to prepare yourself for a situation in case you do have a cigarette craving. Having a plan to cope with cravings will make it easier to not give in. In case you have a craving it might help to distract yourself. For example, you could do the dishes, take a shower or call a friend. It does not have to be one of the abovementioned activities, as long as you do something that keeps your mind of smoking. Another way not to give in to the cravings is to go back to your list of arguments why you want to quit smoking. You will not only be healthier, but you will also be saving money as well as improving your physical appearance. Moreover, it is also important to reward yourself for your victories. If you have not given in to the cravings, give yourself a reward to stay motivated.

In the process of quitting smoking, many people miss having something to keep their hands or mouth busy. It is therefore recommended to find a substitute for these craving. For example, find a squeeze ball, paper clips or a pencil to satisfy the need for tactile stimulation. As an oral substitute a good choice could be carrot sticks, chewing gum, mints, hard candy or sunflower seeds. While quitting smoking it is also recommended to drink a lot of water. Drinking a cold glass of water will not only help with the craving but it will also minimize the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to get active. Start a new sport, go for a run around the block or try some yoga exercises. Doing sports will not only help you feel more energetic but it is also a way of distracting yourself from the cigarette cravings.

Therapy and medication

Every individual has its own way of quitting smoking. Most people try out one specific therapy or method. However, if they feel that the therapy does not help they often fall back into their old smoking habit and give up on quitting. It is for this reason that it is important to reflect on your smoking behavior and thereby find a suitable therapy or method. Some people systematically decrease the number of cigarettes they smoke, others attend nicotine support groups and some people try hypnosis, acupuncture or counseling.

There are also smoking cessation medications that can help reduce the cigarette craving and the withdrawal symptoms. The use of these medications are most effective when you are being monitored by your physician since some medications might have side-effects. A commonly known therapy is the nicotine replacement therapy. This involves that cigarettes are replaced with another nicotine substitute. This could include nicotine gum or nicotine patches. The nicotine substitutes work by releasing small doses of nicotine in the body to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, these substitutes do not contain the tars and poisonous ingredients present in cigarettes. This treatment does not only help smokers to concentrate on learning new coping skills but it also helps them focus on breaking their psychological addiction.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 1697x
Added: 05-06-2016 17:00
Last modified: 08-06-2016 00:24

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