This convenient Quit Smoking Guide will provide you with all the information you need to make that process as easy and effective as possible.
According to the CDC, smoking causes approximately 390,000 premature deaths in the U.S. each and every year. An additional 16 million people suffer from debilitating diseases caused by smoking.
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.
Table of Contents:
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 to quit 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.
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 Hard Is to Quit Smoking Cigarettes?
The primary addictive substance found in cigarettes is nicotine, a stimulant drug. A single cigarette contains about 1-2 milligrams of nicotine. It stimulates the nicotine receptor in the brain and causes it to release of dopamine increases endorphin levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and a part of the brain’s reward system. It is released in order to let us know that activities, like eating or having sex, are pleasurable. If the intake of tobacco stops and the nicotine receptors are no longer being stimulated, the body goes into withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include irritability, restlessness, depression, headaches, insomnia and increased appetite. These effects will increase in intensity until eventually reaching a plateau and slowly disappearing. Some of the ways to manage the physical effects of withdrawal is nicotine replacement therapy or prescription non-nicotine medication.
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.
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. Non-nicotine Smoking Cessation Medication – Certain prescription medications can be used to help stop 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®).
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-cigs simply utilize a heating coil to gently vaporize the e-liquid. An added benefit of e-cigs 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.
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.
Can You Use LSD to Stop Smoking
Thus far studies conducted have demonstrated the efficacy of LSD in the treatment of addiction. A recent analysis using a total of 536 participants within 6 studies, revealed findings that by applying a single dose of LSD in combination with frequently employed alcohol treatment programs, alcohol abuse decreased more rapidly than by employing alcohol treatment programs solely. Further studies produced data demonstrating a strong correlation between LSD and smoking cessation. An online survey was conducted to establish a direct correlation between smoking cessation and naturalistic psychedelic use. The study was based on 358 individuals smoking an average of 14 cigarettes/day for 8 years, with five previous quit attempts. The details are as follows:
- 38% reported continuous smoking cessation after psychedelic use.
- 28% reported a reduction in smoking, from a mode of 300 cigarettes/month before, to a mode of 1 cigarette/month after the experience.
- 34% reported a temporary reduction in smoking during psychedelic use, only to return to their initial level afterward.
Avoiding Triggers When Quitting Smoking – Knowing What to Expect
One way to avoid triggers is to reduce the number of them. This can be done by figuring out what your triggers are before you try to quit, and by gradually making it so these situations, activities, or places are no longer triggers. For instance, some smokers enjoy lighting up while having a cup of coffee. This can be combated by drinking coffee, and then waiting a few minutes before lighting up. Each day, the time between having the coffee and following it up with a cigarette can extend. Eventually, the smoker will no longer associate coffee with smoking. The same is true for smoking with meals or during any other specific time of day. For instance, if you normally smoke on the way to work, try lighting up when you are almost at the office. Then, wait until you exit your car the next day. Keep extending the timeline until you are no longer smoking before work. There is no way to prevent all triggers. At some point, you will most likely encounter a trigger you didn’t realize was a smoking cue, or you will have to deal with triggers which cannot be avoided, such as stress. When these issues occur, make sure you have a plan for overcoming the urge to smoke.
10 Tips to Quit Smoking
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. 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. Here are techniques you can implement to lay the foundation for success in quitting. 10. Clean Your Home As soon as you’ve quit smoking, take the time to freshen up your home. Wash your clothes, steam the furniture and clean the carpet. The smell of tobacco smoke, even when stale, can be a trigger for your cravings, so ensuring that you won’t be smelling it all the time increases your chances of success. A more pleasant environment will also make it easier for you to deal with withdrawal. 9. Throw Away Your Smoking Paraphernalia Keeping all your old ashtrays and lighters around can mean that you’re not truly committed to the idea of quitting. It may be a hard thing to do, but eliminating those items will make you think of cigarettes less, and might even reduce your cravings. 8. Start Exercising Regularly Try taking up healthy exercise like running or cycling. Vigorous exercise can provide a dopamine release that can replace the one you used to get from cigarettes. 7. Take Up a New Hobby Consider finding yourself a new and interesting hobby such as painting, pottery or creative writing to take your mind off smoking. Use your newly-found interest to occupy your mind and body to help you deal with cravings. 6. Find Your Go-To Healthy Snack When you quit smoking, your appetite increases. Find a healthy snack you enjoy, like baby carrots or celery sticks, and carry it around with you at all times. When a craving strikes, put the carrot or celery in your mouth and slowly nibble on it. It will help occupy your hands and mouth, and the familiar movement will make it easier to relax and gather yourself. 5. Get a Stress Ball When trying to quit, it’s important to find new ways to relax and calm yourself down without nicotine – as well as keep your hands busy. Buying a stress relief ball, silly putty or another simple toy can go a long way towards developing new healthy habits for dealing with stress. 4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake Nicotine suppresses the effects of caffeine, so after you quit, coffee will have a stronger effect on you. Try cutting back your caffeine intake. 3. Meditate Meditation might sound exotic, but it’s a fantastic way to handle some of the psychological aspects of nicotine withdrawal. Some simple meditation techniques can help you become more aware of your thoughts, actions and feelings, thereby helping you to better understand what’s triggering your cravings. Once you know your triggers, you can learn to avoid them. 2. Drink Plenty of Water Water will speed up the nicotine detox. Water can also help ease your cough by making it easier for your lungs to clear out mucus, and it’s a good way to combat your increased appetite without changing your eating habits too much. 1. Take Deep Breaths Whenever you feel a craving, take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. Stress is one of the strongest triggers for nicotine cravings, and this simple exercise will help you relax and calm down.
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 cessation methods. This will help you better understand what they’re going through and provide better support for them.