Quit Smoking for Good — A Quit Smoking Guide
This convenient Quit Smoking Guide will provide you with all the information you need to make that process as easy and effective as possible.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States, according to Drugabuse.org. According to the CDC, smoking cigarettes causes approximately 480,000 premature deaths in the U.S. each and every year. An additional 16 million people suffer from debilitating diseases caused by smoking cigarettes.
An estimated additional 41,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases as the result of Secondhand Smoke. The chemicals released from secondhand smoke pose a very real danger to those in the close proximity of a smoker.
Quitting smoking can be overwhelming. It’s not only about breaking a powerful physical dependence on an incredibly addictive substance but also about significantly changing one’s lifestyle, habits and coping strategies. It is, however, undeniably the single most important step that smokers can take to improve the length and quality of their lives.
Why Quit Smoking?
The knowledge that cigarettes are harmful is rarely motivation enough to quit. Smoking is a powerful addiction, and breaking that addiction requires amazing willpower. These techniques and articles will help provide you with motivation and inspire you to follow through with your decision.
The Effects of Smoking
Contrary to popular belief, smoking doesn’t only harm the lungs of a smoker, and cancer isn’t the only threat to a smoker’s health. Inhaling tobacco smoke can cause damage to most of the body’s organs and systems. Understanding exactly how much harm smoking causes you can be the impetus you need to quit. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
To begin looking for motivation to quit smoking, visit The Effects of Smoking.
List of Reasons
It stands to reason that the first step toward leading a tobacco-free lifestyle is finding reasons to go through the difficult process of quitting. A good way to find motivation is to make a list of all the reasons for quitting smoking that resonate with you on a personal level. A simple yet effective technique that’s used in most quitting programs is to write these reasons down on a piece of paper and use that list to reassure oneself in one’s commitment to quitting for good.
An example of such a list can be found at My Reasons to Quit.
Rewards of Quitting
Some smokers may rationalize their addiction by saying that the damage to their health is already done and quitting won’t make a difference. They couldn’t be more wrong. Quitting has a beneficial effect at any age and stage of addiction.
To read about how quitting can improve your life, visit The Effects of Quitting.
How to Quit
The quest to quit smoking has proven to be a test of willpower for many. The exercising of willpower does not always mean that one must deprive themselves of external tools. In fact, sometimes willpower means doing what it takes to achieve a task and accomplish one’s goals.
The cold turkey method is the most commonly used technique. Approximately 90% of all smokers who attempt to quit endeavor to do so without the aid of nicotine replacement therapy or other medication. It is also the least effective method. It is a challenging method that requires a lot of willpower, but it is also the fastest method and is therefore recommended for people who need to quit urgently due to serious medical issues.
To learn more about quitting smoking cold turkey, visit our Cold Turkey Guide.
Drugs and Medications
Nicotine replacement therapies are designed to provide individuals suffering from nicotine addiction a safer alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, thereby easing the quitting process. Nicotine replacement therapies can take the form of gum, patches, inhalers or nasal sprays.
The use of NRT can increase the success rate of quitting by 50% to 70%. After one year, the success rate for NRT is between 6% and 16%, with nicotine patches proving to be marginally more effective than nicotine gum. The side effects caused by the use of NRT include dizziness, upset stomach, blurred vision, skin irritation (from patches) and headaches.
Non-nicotine Smoking Cessation Medication – Certain prescription medications can be used to aid in quitting smoking. Some of them can even be used along with NRT in order to boost the chances of success. These medications do not contain nicotine, are non-habit-forming and are found to have a slightly higher success rate than NRT. The most popular ones on the market are Bupropion (known by the brand names of Zyban® or Wellbutrin®) and Varenicline (Chantix®).
- Bupropion is an antidepressant that can reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal. It should be taken for 7 to 12 weeks, starting 2 weeks before the planned quit date. The most common side effects of Bupropion include headaches, insomnia, fatigue, agitation, irritability, indigestion, and dry mouth.
- Varenicline is a medication that interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain. It can make smoking less pleasurable and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. The side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, unusual dreams, and gas.
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Some people use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking in a similar fashion to nicotine replacement therapy. Several brands offer e-liquids of varying nicotine content that can be useful in gradually decreasing your nicotine intake. This avoids the 7,000 chemicals that analogue cigarettes produce. Instead, e-cigarettes simply utilize a heating coil to gently vaporize the e-liquid.
An added benefit of e-cigarettes over other forms of NRT is that they directly address the habit of smoking itself.
These devices are also cheaper than purchasing a pack of traditional cigarettes every day. After purchasing a starter kit for an average of $40, which is cheaper than a standard carton of cigarettes, the only cost is replacing the cartomizer and e-liquid. The average cost for a pack of cartomizers is about $5 for a pack of five. Each cartomizer will last about a week.
The standard cost of e-liquid is about $15 for a 15ml bottle. This will last around two weeks. This puts the total weekly cost at about $8.25, as opposed to $42 per week for traditional cigarettes.
Learn more about electronic cigarettes in our Guide to the Best E-Cigarettes.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a short-term therapy that focuses on specific problems in your life. It can be used to help quit smoking by changing the maladjusted thought patterns that make the smoker experience cigarette cravings and teaching new, constructive ways to deal with stress or anxiety. It has been proven to increase the odds of success, especially when combined with smoking cessation medication. However, qualified, competent specialists can be hard to come by and expensive.
To learn more about behavioral therapy, please visit: How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help You to Quit Smoking.
Everyone is different, and the best method for you depends on your personality, circumstances and even genetic makeup. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change methods if you feel one isn’t working for you. Chances are that what feels most natural to you will work best. In the end, it doesn’t matter so much which method you used, but how dedicated you were to making it work.
What Is the Most Effective Way to Quit Smoking?
While there are a number of ways to quit smoking, not all of them are equally successful. Here we will break down What Is the Most Effective Way to Quit Smoking that has been used with the most success by those who quit. Keep in mind that success rates will not be the same for everyone. In the end, quitting comes down to a personal decision, the amount of willpower you have and a variety of factors affecting your daily life. But if you want the best chance of success, then these are the methods you should be trying.
More people successfully quit smoking when they use some sort of nicotine therapy than by almost any other measure. This could involve applying a nicotine patch, using nicotine lozenges, or any other form of nicotine therapy.
What this does is, hopefully, reduce the amount of nicotine going into your body. Gradually, you decrease the amounts you are taking each day and finally get rid of the nicotine and nicotine replacement entirely. This weans your body off of smoking slowly without having to just cut back on cigarettes over time. You will still feel the effects of nicotine on your body, but you won’t be suffering from all the negative effects of smoking a cigarette. It’s not the safest way to quit smoking, but it works the best for the largest number of people.
For everyone who smokes, there are certain triggers that cause you to crave cigarettes more than you would in most situations. For some people, that trigger is a stressful situation. For others, they simply have a set time and place where they smoke, perhaps when they are on break from work or when they are talking on the phone.
As you quit smoking, these triggers will become even more powerful at creating cravings. If you want to stop yourself form giving in to the cravings, you need to ensure that the triggers never activate. So that means actively avoiding situations that make you feel like you need a cigarette. And if you are used to having a cigarette during something you do every day, then occupy yourself otherwise during those times.
If you would normally smoke while on the phone, then keep a pen and paper handy to just doodle and scribble while you talk. If you would smoke on your lunch break, then do something to keep yourself engaged and distracted from smoking during that time.
It may be hard to believe, but the majority of people who have successfully quit smoking have done so by quitting cold turkey. They decided that they would never take another cigarette and they followed through on that promise to themselves.
Now it may seem odd that more people could quit this way than any other, especially since most experts advise that you never try to quit cold turkey. But these statistics come straight from the American Cancer Society. More than 80% of those who have successfully quit smoking did so by the cold turkey method. Now you can’t just decide to stop smoking and have no plan beyond that and expect to be successful. Many of those who have quit cold turkey did so with a lot of support from other people.
The surrounded themselves with people who cared about them and their success and they made a detailed plan about how they were going to go about quitting. This involves lot of willpower, constant reminders why they were quitting and people who were looking out for their wellbeing.
Smoking Cessation Programs
There are numerous support groups and organizations out there for people who would like to quit smoking and who need some help doing so. It can be a struggle to quit smoking and fight the addiction, but it does not have to be one that anyone battles alone.
Every state in the US has a dedicated organization for smoking cessation. Also, many hospitals, churches, and charitable organizations have smoking cessation programs as well.
For those wanting specific organizations that operate nationwide, here is a list of some of the best ones.
Freedom from Smoking Online
A lot of the smoking cessation programs available use physical locations and phone lines to help people who are trying to quit. But Freedom from Smoking online is an online-dedicated organization that is geared toward reaching people solely through their electronic devices.
It contains a quit smoking program that helps smokers go through a series of steps to curb their habits. It also offers tons of support channels, such as a phone line, forums and one-on-one chat.
The Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic is one of the most respected hospitals in the world and it is renowned for its drug rehabilitation programs. These include a stop smoking program that takes 5-10 days and accepts walk-in patients.
The hospital has several locations around the United States, each of which is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable physicians. These are people who have helped numerous smokers quit their habits and overcome their addiction. For those wanting professional help, this is one of the best resources out there.
This is like Alcoholics Anonymous but for smokers. Here, people trying to quit can get together with like-minded people and hear stories about their struggles and find encouragement and be strengthened in their resolve.
For many people trying to quit smoking, it can feel like they are all alone and that no one really knows what they are going through or are offering them support. But at Nicotine Anonymous, people who smoke, vape, and chew can all find the support they are looking for. Rather than talking to a faceless someone over the phone or trying to carry on a conversation on an online forum, they can meet actual people and have real conversations about what they are going through.
Quit Smoking Journals
This isn’t an organization so much as it is a website that serves as a resource for people who are trying to stop smoking. There they can post what they are feeling and the struggles they are dealing with.
These journals allow them to vent their frustrations and celebrate their victories with other people. It also gives struggling quitters a chance to read what other people have done to help them quit and understand that they are not the only ones experiencing that particular problem.
Both the quit-line and the website are administered by the National Institutes of Health along with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.
Whether you call the quit-line or visit the website, you can get free advice and counseling from a tobacco cessation coach, free materials on how to quit smoking, get referred to free smoking cessation programs in your area and possibly receive free quit smoking products like patches and gum.
The QuitNet network of websites “is an Internet-based service designed to help individual tobacco users through the quitting process”. The QuitNet plan offers users (you have to sign up but there are no charges) access to a community of almost a million ex-smokers who provide peer-to-peer counseling, personalized quit plans and advice from tobacco control experts.
The ucanquit2.org website is a free smoking cessation program described by the Department of Defense as an “educational campaign for the US military” that “provides the opportunity to learn more about tobacco cessation, develop a personalized plan for quitting, and get live online help”.
Quit for Life
Depending on what state you live in, the American Cancer Society runs a Quit for Life smoking cessation program that offers “phone-based coaching and web-based learning support service to help smokers quit”.
The program is currently only offered in 26 states and is also available through your company’s health plan. If you are eligible and willing you will be offered telephone coaching calls, web-based support and information and help deciding which cessation medication is right for you.
Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center is entering its 14th year of providing technical assistance and resources to healthcare providers and other smoking cessation professionals to increase smoking cessation rates across the country.
The SCLC is an effort between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of California San Francisco and the Truth Initiative to assist in the treatment of mental health and tobacco cessation issues.
The SCLC seeks collaborative partnerships with different groups and institutions to create and put into effect successful tobacco cessation programs with an eye also to preventing tobacco use in the first place.
How to Stay Smoke-Free
After you quit smoking, most of the physical withdrawal symptoms will subside after 2 to 3 weeks. Making it through this time is undoubtedly a huge achievement. However, smoking causes drastic and largely irreversible changes to your brain chemistry. Cigarette cravings can occur months or even years after quitting smoking. That’s why it’s crucial to stay motivated, use the coping strategies developed in the first few weeks of quitting and to always keep your guard up.
There are plenty of small tips and tricks that can make quitting much easier with just a little bit of effort. They come from the collective experience of many quitters. Perhaps not all of them will work for you, but it’s always worth a try.
For some tips on how to make quitting easier, visit Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Quitting.
When you quit smoking, you must take it a day at a time. Every single day, make the conscious decision to not smoke. Finding motivation can be difficult after weeks or days. You need to stay motivated through the hard, long and tedious process of quitting.
Here’s a list of some useful techniques that will help you find the motivation to quit and find the strength to succeed:
How to Help a Quitter
If you’re looking for ways to help your friend, family member or somebody close to you quit smoking, you should start by educating yourself on the effects of tobacco, the nature of addiction, withdrawal symptoms and different quitting methods. This will help you better understand what they’re going through and provide better support for them.
You should also visit Support Your Quitter for additional information on how to help your loved one through withdrawal.
If you are concerned about the health of a loved one who smokes and refuses to quit, or just lacks a little bit of motivation to make that life-changing decision, visit our How to Inspire a Smoker to Quit guide. If quitting is not an option, consider making your house smoke-free, or at least establishing a single smoking area to minimize the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. To learn more about the dangers of secondhand smoke, visit Secondhand Smoke – Think Twice.