It’s a well-known fact that once you begin smoking, it becomes incredibly difficult to break the habit. Not only do cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a very highly addictive substance, the physical habit of smoking can become very easy to get used to, especially if it is incorporated into a social routine, for example, taking a regular smoking break with colleagues at work.
Coupled with nasty nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and feeling more irritated than usual, it’s no surprise that it takes a lot of motivation, dedication and commitment to successfully quit the cigarettes for good. Many smokers quit successfully, only to find that they return to the habit at some point later – in fact, it’s totally normal for it to take several tries before you finally never touch a cigarette again. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. We’ve put together some top tips to help get you started with breaking the habit for good.
Tip #1. Find a Reason to Quit:
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to quit smoking for good is to find a really good reason to do it. Whilst there are many reasons to quit smoking that will be the same for everybody, for example, better health and more money, the best, most motivational reasons are always personal to you. For example, maybe you’ve been suffering from bad health recently, and quitting smoking could save your life. Or, perhaps you want to be a healthier parent to your children, and don’t want to set them a bad example. Maybe your reason is financial – perhaps you’ve worked out that by saving the money that you spend on cigarettes instead, you’ll be able to afford something that you’ve wanted for ages, or even treat yourself to a trip away. Choosing a personal reason will always give you more motivation to see things through, rather than just quitting because you know that you should.
Tip #2. Utilize Technology:
Today, many of us use our smartphones, tablets and other gadgets to help us with a wide range of things, from streaming Netflix anywhere in the world to improving our health and fitness. When it comes to quitting smoking, there are a range of ways that you can use your gadgets to help you stick to your decision to give up. For example, you can download apps to your smartphone or tablet that will tell you when you’ve reached certain milestones, such as not smoking one hundred cigarettes or being a non-smoker for a full week. This can be a really great way to monitor your progress, as you’ll be able to see exactly how well you’re doing which can be very motivational and inspiring for you.
In addition, many quit smoking apps can also tell you how your health is being improved, for example, how much your risk of certain diseases has lowered after a certain period of time being a non-smoker. You can even track how much money you are saving, and set savings goals for buying things that you want instead of cigarettes.
Tip #3. Switch to Vaping:
When it comes to quitting smoking, going completely ‘cold turkey’ and simply never touching a cigarette again takes a huge amount of dedication and strength; only a few people manage to do this! Thankfully, there are some alternatives that you can turn to, which are both safer and cheaper. In recent years, one of the most popular alternatives to smoking cigarettes is vaping. Rather than inhaling cigarette smoke, you will use an e-cigarette or vaporizer, which is filled with e-liquid, a safe substance made from vegetable glycerin, propylene glycerol, or both.
For those who are trying to use vaping to quit smoking, there’s the option to get e-liquid that contains nicotine.
This will allow you to quickly give up cigarettes without having to deal with the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that are the downfall of many smokers. Nicotine alone is not a harmful substance and rarely causes health problems; most of the health issues that we associate with smoking cigarettes are caused by the tar, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances contained in tobacco. When you vape, none of these harmful substances are present, making it a much safer and cleaner alternative. In addition, vaping is also much cheaper – once you’ve purchased an e-cigarette or vape, all you’ll need to regularly buy is e-liquid, which usually lasts a while and can be obtained at inexpensive prices.
Tip #4. Nicotine Replacement Therapy:
If switching to vaping isn’t for you, then there are many other nicotine replacement therapy options that you might like to consider. Most popular nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, and sprays are approved by medical professionals as an effective method of giving up smoking. Bear in mind that different methods work for different people, so don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere with your first choice – you might need to try a few before you find one that you like and gets you good results.
If you are struggling to find a nicotine replacement therapy option that works well for you, then it’s a good idea to ask your doctor or other health professional for advice. Your doctor may be able to give you something on prescription that can help you to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and make it easier for you to quit.
Tip #5. Get Support:
Quitting smoking is an immensely difficult process to go through, so getting as much support as you can is essential. Chances are, your family members and friends will be overjoyed to see you quit smoking; even if they are a smoker themselves, they’ll know the health risks associated with cigarettes and since they wouldn’t want any harm to come to you, will be more than happy to support your journey.
There are many ways in which your friends and relatives can support you as you give up smoking. For example, you could ask them to check in with you at regular intervals to see how you are doing and give encouragement, especially during the first few days when the nicotine withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst if you’re not using any nicotine replacement therapies. Another great idea is to arrange a trip or day out with a friend or relative; having something different to do can be a great way to take your mind off smoking.
Don’t rule out getting professional help, either – talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, can be a great way to help you change your habits and the way you think about smoking.
Tip #6. Take Time to De-Stress:
If you have decided that it’s time for you to give up smoking, then it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re going to be as relaxed as possible for the first few days whilst your body and mind gets used to the change. Don’t choose to quit smoking whilst you’re already going through a stressful situation, since this will only intensify your nicotine withdrawal symptoms and make it even more difficult for you to stick by your decision to give up.
One of the main reasons that people find it so hard to quit smoking is that the nicotine can help them to destress and relax. Thankfully, there are many alternatives that you could turn to, so that you don’t end up feeling like having a smoke is your only option. For example, you could listen to your favorite relaxing music, treat yourself to a luxurious massage, meet up with friends to watch the latest movie release, or even try meditation. Or, why not make time for a new hobby that you can use as a distraction from thinking about cigarettes!
Tip #7. Avoid Triggers:
Chances are, there are certain situations where you’ll feel the need to smoke more intensely than usual. For example, many smokers find that they crave cigarettes a lot more after drinking alcohol. Take a moment to make a list of the things that you do that usually trigger a cigarette craving, such as drinking coffee; if this is the case then you might want to switch to drinking tea or another beverage for a few weeks to help you avoid the need to smoke.
Many smokers will crave a cigarette after a large meal; if this sounds like you, then you could find other things to do instead, such as chewing gum or even taking a walk. If you only tend to crave a cigarette when you’re really full, eating smaller portions throughout the day rather than big meals may help. If you find that you need a cigarette more when you’re around other people smoking, it’s a good idea to try and avoid being around smokers altogether – don’t go to the smoking shelter on your work break, and if you live with somebody who smokes, ask them to help you out by smoking somewhere that you’re not going to be able to see or smell it.
Did these tips help? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.