Smoking is an addictive and ruinous habit that generally deteriorates a smoker’s health, making them prone to many preventable diseases. For example, smoking causes more deaths in a year than alcohol, illegal drugs, and HIV-related cases.
This habit increases your chances of contracting cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes, COPD, and stroke. In addition, cigarette smoking increases the possibility of contracting various types of cancer, throat, esophageal, or mouth cancer.
Just like other bad habits, you can opt-out of smoking and never look back. Some of the ways to help you quit smoking are:
- Gradually decrease smoking over time
- Use stop smoking medication
- Keep a craving journal so that you can avoid triggers
- Try to find a healthier way to relax
Gradually decrease smoking over time
First and foremost, you need to set your quit date to know how to regulate yourself until that day. You can reduce your intake, say, a week or two weeks before the set date, or you can continue smoking at the same rate until the date arrives and you stop abruptly.
Your quit date should not remain a secret; tell your friends and family to get their support. Make sure you get rid of ashtrays and cigarettes, ask your friends or relatives that smoke not to do it around you or make a step and join a stop-smoking group.
Whenever you get the urge to smoke, try bypassing the desire by delaying, drinking water one sip after another, or take continuous slow deep breaths in and out.
Keep a craving journal so that you can avoid triggers
Keeping a record of your craving patterns in a craving journal can help reduce smoking triggers. You can prepare a journal for a week or two before your quit date. In the journal, you will record the times you craved a smoke.
Some of the details you can include are the time you felt the craving, how intense was it, rate from 1 to 10, who you were with and what you were doing. These records will help you prepare for your journey to stop the habit from your quit date.
Stop smoking medication
An easier way to stop smoking has to include some kind of medication. First, there is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and non-nicotine medication. NRT helps smokers acquire nicotine from other means instead of tobacco, increases the chances of quitting smoking by 55% and is undoubtedly likely to help in your journey.
Non-nicotine medication, bupropion and Varenicline, need a prescription from a qualified medic. Bupropion counters the brain chemicals responsible for nicotine cravings and tones down the withdrawal symptoms. In the other case, Varenicline acts on the nicotine brain receptors to decrease the pleasure of smoking tobacco. It also reduces the withdrawal symptoms from lacking nicotine. Both are used for 12 weeks, but additional medications can be prescribed for you by a doctor.
Try to find a healthier way to relax
To replace smoking, you can engage in healthier ways of relaxing. For example, you can go for Yoga classes, engage in sports activities, say volleyball or go to the gym for some aerobics or workouts. Exercising reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Including at least 30 minutes in your schedule for some exercising and giving it a priority will actually accelerate your quitting rate and improve your general health.
However hard it may be, put in all your effort and motivate yourself day by day as you struggle to give up smoking. Reward yourself when you beat your weekly or monthly targets. And make sure to plan your quitting journey and adhere to your rules moving forward.