HOW DO I QUIT SMOKING?
I get this question from many of my patients. This is probably one of the hardest habits to break and it not the patients fault…its the Nicotine: a component of tobacco, that is the primary reason smoking is so addictive. Nicotine addiction is similar to drug or alcohol addictions: the more you expose your body to the substance, the more your body needs in order to feel satisfaction or pleasure. The craving you experience in between cigarettes is actually your brain asking for more nicotine.
Every year, nearly 440,000 Americans die as a result of tobacco use. Cigarette smoking accounts for about 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States.
What should I do to quit?
1. Create a plan:
- Choose a specific day to stop smoking (within a couple weeks of your decision to quit), and mark it on your calendar.
- Get rid of all cigarette lighters and ashtrays in your home and workplace.
- Eliminate lingering tobacco odors by washing rugs, curtains, pillows anything that smells of cigarettes.
- Write down all your reasons for wanting to quit and keep the list with you at all times. If you’re quitting for important people in your life, carry their pictures with you, too.
- Make an honest assessment of your personal challenges to quitting and write them down. Then think about and write down the ways you’ll overcome those challenges.
- Ease your cravings with nicotine replacement therapy products, such as patches, lozenges and gum.
- Know the triggers that make you reach for a cigarette. Think about situations when you are most likely to want to smoke. Make a plan on how to deal with them.
- Put together a network of friends and family who support your decision to quit and call on them when you need some encouragement.
- Stay strong, stay positive. Quitting smoking can be done. Keep reminding yourself of the reasons why you want to quit!
2. Avoid situations, activities and places that serve as triggers for cravings. Here are some suggestions:
- Morning routine: Switch up the order of your morning tasks to take your mind off smoking.
- After meals: Rather than lighting up, get up and take a walk.
- Drinking Alcohol/Bars: If you’re going to drink, try a new drink that wasn’t part of your smoking habit.
- Drinking coffee: Try a new coffee flavor, one that you won’t associate with your smoking routine.
- Car: Give your car a thorough cleaning to remove all reminders of smoking.
- Evenings/Home/Downtime: Take your mind off smoking by starting a new project or an exercise program.
- Oral habits: You’re used to having a cigarette in your mouth; replace it with gum or a healthy snack.
What should you expect when you quit?
In addition to intense cravings, nicotine withdrawal can make you irritable, frustrated or angry. You may also be unable to concentrate and have an increased appetite. Cravings are strongest during the first week. To reduce cravings, try using a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.
What is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)?
Nicotine replacement therapy involves products that provide you with low doses of nicotine ONLY. It does not the other toxins found in cigarettes. The more you have smoked in the past, the higher the dosage of nicotine replacement you may need at the start of therapy. Dosage should slowly be decreased with time.
Why should I quit?
Quite simply, You will live longer! Once you quit, you’ll soon notice an overall improvement in your health and experience fewer illnesses, such as colds, flu and chronic lung diseases.
YOU CAN DO IT!