We all know that smoking is bad for us. It can cause a range of severe health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and numerous types of lung disease. Unfortunately, however, just knowing that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to kick the habit! The good news is that there are a whole wealth of products out there to give you a helping hand, plus plenty of tips and tricks to try alongside them.
So if you’ve decided to quit smoking, congratulations – you’ve already taken the first step! Now here are some suggestions to help you make sure you succeed in your goal.
1. Work out your triggers and how to avoid them
In order to stand the best chance of success, it’s important to understand your current smoking habits. Ask yourself not only how much you smoke but also where and when. For example, are there certain times of day that you always reach for a cigarette? Perhaps there are specific places or activities that you associate with smoking or even people you always smoke with. Alternatively, it may be that you smoke as a response to certain emotional triggers such as stress or depression or that you always smoke when having certain foods or alcohol.
All of these can be triggers for nicotine cravings, so it’s crucial to be aware of them. Once you’ve identified the most likely things to make you want to smoke, you can figure out ways to avoid them – or at least try and break the association they have with smoking. It will also help you to understand when you will be most vulnerable to cigarette cravings and need a little extra support.
2. Use a nicotine replacement
Our will power is one of the best tools we have when trying to stop smoking. Luckily, however, it’s not the only thing we have to rely on. These days, you can buy loads of products to help you on the path to quitting cigarettes. For example, instead of cutting out nicotine altogether, you could try and slowly reduce the amount you ingest. This could be through the use of nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gum, both of which are healthier alternatives to smoking.
One of the most common methods people use is vaping or e-cigarettes. These are battery-powered electronic devices that enable you to inhale nicotine as vapor rather than as smoke. They don’t use any tobacco and so don’t produce the same damaging elements such as tar and carbon monoxide. Not only that, but you can enjoy a wide range of different flavors, so it’s easy to see why the popularity of vaping is only increasing!
3. Get support
Quitting smoking is difficult; there’s no getting around that, so you’re going to want to get as much help as possible if you’re going to succeed. Support from products like e-cigarettes is one thing, but don’t overlook the importance of social support. Let your family and friends know that you’re planning on quitting smoking so that they can help you out. This could simply be by sympathizing when you’re irritable as a result of nicotine withdrawal or by knowing not to smoke around you if they are smokers themselves. You could even try and find someone to quit with you for extra motivation or see if there’s a local group you could join. There are also plenty of online forums and apps to get support from if you prefer.
4. Distract yourself
This can be a surprisingly powerful method. If you find yourself with a craving for a smoke, try distracting your brain by doing something else. For example, you could go for a walk or do some exercise, as getting your body moving has been shown to reduce cravings. Another great trick is to do something with your hands, for example, a craft hobby, as this satisfies the need for tactile stimulation. Likewise, chewing gum, eating something healthy, or even brushing your teeth can be a great substitute for putting a cigarette in your mouth. Alternatively, you could try doing a puzzle or playing a game to keep your mind busy. Experiment with a few things to find what works best for you.
5. Remember why you’re doing this
On the days when quitting seems the hardest, this is key. Make a list of the reasons you’re quitting – whether it’s to be healthier, save money, or it’s for your children and spouse – and look at it whenever you feel your willpower start to waver. It could just be the extra motivation you need to get through the day!