How to Put the Butt Out for Good – 6 Ways to Quit Smoking
Whether you smoke a few a week or a pack a day, cigarettes are extremely harmful to your health. Quitting this hazardous habit is the single most important step you can take to enhance the length and quality of your life. But smoking is more than just a habit, it’s a full-fledged addiction for many people. Nicotine is not easy to give up. Here are six ways you can quit smoking for good and vastly improve your physical and mental wellbeing.
- Properly Prepare for Quit Day
Once you have officially decided to quit smoking for good, you need to set a quitting date. Select a day that isn’t too far out in the future (so you don’t have the chance to change your mind) but one that also gives you enough time to properly prepare.
You need to choose if you’re going to quit abruptly and quit smoking all cigarettes on your quit date or quit gradually, weaning yourself off cigarettes slowly until your quitting day and then stopping.
Some ways to prepare for your quit date include:
- Confide in your family and friends about your quit date and have them hold you accountable.
- Throw away all of your remaining cigarette packs and ashtrays.
- If you plan on joining a stop-smoking group, signing up now.
- Stocking up on oral substitutes, such as toothpicks, straws, sugarless gum, and hard candy.
- Setting up a support system.
On your designated quit date, stay busy, don’t smoke at all, drink lots of water, avoid alcohol, and avoid friends that smoke.
- Consider Vaping
If quitting cold turkey hasn’t worked for you in the past or doesn’t sound appealing, consider vaping. E-cigarettes are less addictive than real ones and e-juices come in a wide variety of flavours and can satisfy your need to smoke while helping you kick your nicotine craving. In fact, some of the best e juice picks of the year include yummy flavours like strawberry, pancake, and cinnamon.
- Find Behavioral Support
Giving up an unhealthy habit can be tough without the right support network. The physical and emotional dependence you have on smoking makes it a challenge to stay away from cigarettes all day, every day. To quit nicotine for good, you need to tackle this dependence head on. One technique is to enroll in counseling services, support groups, or self-help materials. Behavioral support can include written information from books or webpages as well as group therapy or individual counseling sessions.
- Prepare to Deal with Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms
Once you quit smoking, you’ll need to confront some rationalizations. You may come up with reasons to light up that wouldn’t typically make any sense to you except at this point, when you’re in the midst of a powerful nicotine craving. Thoughts such as “I can’t deal with this today. I’ll just smoke one” and “I’ll smoke just this once to get me through this rough patch” will continuously crop up. Here’s how to ignore them:
- Find ways to deal with your nicotine cravings. Meditate, drink water, go for a run, or keep your mind busy by doing a crossword puzzle.
- Avoid situations that trigger the desire to smoke, such as going to a bar that allows smoking.
- Call a friend or family member.
- Eat healthy foods, such as lean proteins and lots of veggies.
- Use Patches, Gum, or Lozenges
Only six percent of people who try to quit cold turkey are successful. That’s how powerful a nicotine addiction is. When you decide to quit smoking, consider using medication, skin patches, or gum that can reduce the nicotine cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. These items are designed to gradually wean your body off of cigarettes and supply you with a controlled dose of nicotine while sparing you from exposure to the other damaging chemicals found in cigarettes.
- Get Moving
Exercise is not only good for you, but it has a way of making you feel good as well. Sign up for a spinning class, take your dog for a long walk, or participate in a team sport. Not only will you be keeping your mind off the topic of smoking, but you’ll be doing something nice for your boy.
Quitting smoking is tough, but with the right techniques in places and a strong support system, you can kick this nasty habit for good. We quit in 2015 and haven’t looked back. You can read more of my health-related posts here.