How to Quit Smoking for Good
Did you know that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs out there?
In fact, doctors compare the addictiveness of nicotine to that of cocaine and methamphetamines.
And as a chief component of tobacco and cigarettes, nicotine is what makes smoking cigarettes one of the hardest addictions to quit.
Though smoking rates for Australians have dropped about 7% in recent years, 13% of all Australians still smoke on a daily basis.
But smoking is not as harmful as cocaine or meth, right?
While methamphetamines are considered to be more dangerous than cocaine and nicotine, nicotine and tobacco cigarettes are thought to be just as dangerous as cocaine when combining the damage to the user and potential harm to others.
But, how is that even possible?
Why is Nicotine So Dangerous?
Nicotine is a toxic, chemical byproduct of several plants – including tobacco.
It is so effective (and dangerous) because of its ability to move through the body quickly. So quickly, that it takes less than 20 seconds for nicotine to reach the brain after being inhaled!
Within a minute, a smoker starts to feel the effects of the drug.
This fast moving, highly addictive drug is also 10 times more powerful at producing addiction related behavioural and psychological effects. These effects include feelings of pleasure and feelings of increased self-control and awareness.
But while nicotine can make smokers feel that they are more focused, calmer, and happier; cigarette usage comes with a plethora of negative, harmful, and even deadly side effects.
Negative Effects of Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Australia.
And it kills its users by boosting the risks for at least 13 types of cancer and illness. Some of the ways it triggers illness and cancer are by:
– Causing ciliostasis: When the cilia, or little hairs lining your airways, die
– Weakening your immune system
– Affecting tooth and gum health, leading to tooth loss
– Causing inflammation through your body
The negative health effects of smoking are so intense and so prevalent that a recent study of more than 200,000 people found that about 67% of smokers died of a smoking-related illness!
How Do You Quit?
If you are a smoker, odds are you have tried to quit. In fact, an estimated 90% of adult smokers wish they never started.
On top of that, around 80% of smokers have tried to quit at some point.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done.
With about 75% of those attempting to quit smoking succumbing to relapse within the first year, the question is not really, “How to quit smoking?” It’s – “How to quit smoking for good?”
No one said quitting was easy – but it’s certainly possible. Try the items from this list to help set you up for smoke-free success and a healthier lifestyle.
1. Quit When You Are in a Good Mood
All things are easier to accomplish when you feel good about yourself and your environment. Smoking is no different.
Studies show that people who quit when they are depressed or severely stressed-out are more likely to relapse.
Choose a day that you are going to quit and start getting your life affairs in order to prepare for that day. Clean your house. Catch up on work. Have a spa day.
Make sure you treat Quitting Day like it’s a big deal – because it is a big deal! You should feel good about it.
2. Plan ahead
Once you’ve scheduled your Quitting Day, ensure you have an adequate plan in place to set yourself up for success. Consider whether you will quit cold turkey or gradually wean off cigarettes with the help of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Both options are viable and, according to research, neither option provides a greater success rate. So, do what makes most sense to you.
Some other ways you can plan ahead for success include:
- Telling friends and family about your plan to quit, and when you will quit
- Eliminate temptation by disposing of ashtrays and cigarettes
- Sign up for support groups if you think they may help you
- Find and stock up on substitutes. Try hard candy, carrot sticks, toothpicks or sugarless gum
- If you have friends or family who smoke, ask them not to smoke around you
- If you have attempted to quit in the past, consider what worked and didn’t work for you
Take care of yourself on your Quitting Day. Avoid ‘triggers’ such as coffee breaks, or hanging around people who smoke. Drink plenty of water and juice, avoid alcohol and always carry your substitutes with you. Try hard to distract yourself and keep busy.
If you are finding the process too difficult to manage, try attending a support group specifically designed for your needs. Also know that the intense urge to smoke will pass – and the whole thing will get easier over time.
3. Try Some Herbal Remedies
There are several natural aids that can help you beat nicotine addiction. Here are a few:
Licorice – Chewing on a small stick of licorice root can help kill the urge to smoke. It has a slightly sweet taste and can help relieve smoker’s cough. It is also effective at helping to increase energy levels.
Those trying to kick the smoking habit can also drink licorice root tea as a replacement for smoke breaks.
Cayenne Pepper – You probably already have cayenne pepper in your kitchen. Add a few pinches to a glass of water to help curb strong smoking cravings.
Cayenne pepper also has antioxidant properties and can help stabilise lung membranes and help the body rebuild from a smoking addiction.
Green Oats– Also known as avena sativa, green oats can be effective at helping ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and promote detoxification during the withdrawal process.
Green oats are normally found in capsules and should be readily available at most grocery markets.
Ginseng– Many people have heard of ginseng, but not many are aware of how it can be helpful to those who are quitting smoking. Ginseng can help you deal with the physical and emotional stress associated with quitting an addiction and life in general.
You can add the powder to your breakfast food or drink to help with cravings, sharpen concentration, improve your mood, and decrease your anxiety throughout the day.
It is important to note that herbal supplements may have adverse effects on other physical conditions or medications. Make sure to check with a doctor before starting any herbal remedy routine.
Try other alternative methods
These methods may not work for everyone, but you could find something that works wonders for you. Everyone is different. Consider:
- Cold laser therapy
- Yoga, meditation, exercise
- Using lip balms, lollipops, straws
- Tobacco strips/sticks
- Smoking deterrents
4) See an Acupuncturist
Evidence suggests that acupuncture is an effective way to curb cigarette cravings. Typically, acupuncturists use a specific technique called auricular acupuncture to target nicotine addiction.
This method requires pricking various points of the ear with a needle. These points are said to relieve cravings immediately, and acupuncture patients can even replicate the effects in times of need.
5) Keep Trying
Quitting smoking successfully can be difficult and frustrating. Keep trying. If you relapse, don’t give up – try again! Think of the life-long health and social benefits that come from being a non-smoker. You owe it to yourself!