You’re probably here reading because you are wondering how to stop smoking cigarettes. This is an excellent question that is asked by thousands of people each day. The decision to quit smoking is a difficult endeavor, but one that has a ton of benefits. Quitting smoking now can improve your overall health and reduces your risk of a heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other smoking-related illnesses.
Smoking – A Leading Cause of Death and Illness
Smoking is the number one cause of death in the United States, and a very high cause of diseases and disabilities that are easily prevented. so it’s easy to see the benefits of smoking cessation. Being a chronic smoker of cigarettes causes over 480,000 avoidable deaths in the United States each and every year.
Additionally, over 15 million people suffer from major diseases caused by being avid smokers of cigarettes. On top of that, 41,000 people die each year as a result of second hand smoking by first hand smokers in close proximity. These are the facts on smoking. With numbers this staggering, it’s easy to see why many people would want to see how to quit smoking cigarettes as soon as possible. Why don’t more people take those steps right away?
Smoking Cessation – Not An Easy Task
Cigarette smoke is a mix of over 7000 chemicals, and a lot of those chemicals are put there purposely to make them as addictive as possible. Additionally, nicotine withdrawal is a very powerful thing. Addiction from smoking is hard to escape. Once you smoke, nicotine goes to your brain, and once it’s there it can make you crave more and more nicotine. Effects of smoking are even scarier, and they can be smoker’s lungs, wheezing, gum disease, cancer, or even heart attack. In the short term, smoking can also cause nasty smelling breath, wrinkled, grayish skin, stained nails, yellow teeth, and a weakened immune system, And smoking reduces your time here on this earth.
Overall, each cigarette takes 11 minutes off of your life, and your average life expectancy decreases by 10 years time just by becoming a smoker. Something so dangerous should be easy to quit, but with the nicotine reaching your brain in less than 10 seconds, it makes it a very powerful positive reinforcement and stimulant. The more you have, the harder it is to resist more. The more frequently you smoke, the more frequently you want to. And what happens when you quit smoking? What happens to your body when you quit smoking? Your body immediately craves nicotine, and the longer you go without nicotine, the more your body feels like it needs it. Obviously this is a spiral pattern, and it’s difficult to find a place to end the cycle, and learn how to stop smoking.
A Comprehensive Guide To Quitting Smoking
The benefits of quitting smoking have hopefully at this point become quite obvious, but the act of quitting smoking cigarettes is sometimes easier said than done. You may be wondering some tips to quit smoking, or where to start on this seemingly monumental task. The first step in quitting cigarettes is to develop a quit plan. Preparation can be the most important key to a successful smoking cessation. It is recommended that you make a quit plan, which entails choosing a quit date, building your support network, removing triggers, identifying your reasons to quit smoking, developing coping strategies, and having places you can turn to for help, as well as reading through all of the smoking cessation guidelines.
The quit date should be at least 2 weeks out, so it gives you time to prepare and set up your network of support. Your support network should include friends, family, coworkers, and anyone who is onboard with the idea of you leading a healthier lifestyle. You should take lots of quiet time and identify your triggers. You should identify things you gain by ceasing smoking. This may be things like more spending money, increased lung capacity, less fights with your significant other, a healthier child, more productivity at work, or less stress in your life. Be creative, and comprehensive so that you can see how much smoking is truly costing you.
Finally, you should develop coping strategies and a backup plan so that should you feel the urge to pick up a cigarette, you can do the things in the places with the people who will help you avoid those cravings, and instead do something else that’s healthier and more productive.
You may find it helpful to journal your cravings, cigarette smoking patterns, food and drink and stress patterns. You can do this on paper, a tablet, a computer at work, or a smart phone— anything that is easy and with you all of the time. Keep track of cravings by time and location, and understand your patterns so that you can cut those triggers out of your life for good.
The method of just stopping smoking all-together is called “cold-turkey” and is the route that a majority of the people who try to stop smoking cigarettes take. It’s an obvious choice for trying to quit smoking naturally, and the majority of people who try to quit smoking try this method at first without the use of any aids, medications, or therapies. It is a cost-effective method as it’s free, but it’s very challenging as it requires a lot of willpower and mind over matter techniques. It’s such a challenging method, in fact, less than 5% of people who decide that quitting smoking cold-turkey is the best method for smoking cessation will find success over a long period of time.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy – Patches, Gum, Lozenges, Inhaler, Nasal Spray
While the method of quitting smoking cigarettes cold turkey is free, another thing you can do to quit smoking with longer term success is to use nicotine replacement therapy, or NRT, which is the most commonly used family of quit smoking medications, and very important aids to quit smoking. It may even be argued as the best way to quit smoking. NRT reduces withdrawal feelings by giving a small controlled amount of nicotine, so that the cravings are met, but without all of the other dangerous cancer causing chemicals found in cigarettes.
Because of this, doctors and other medical experts think that NRT is one of the most effective ways to combat smoking. The downside to NRT is that some of the forms of NRT come along with side-effects. The therapy of nicotine replacement can be used in many forms, including the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, lozenge, inhaler, and nasal spray. Most of these are over-the counter medications, although the inhaler and nasal spray require a prescription from a physician. You should always talk to a doctor before taking these, to limit any drug interactions and potential side effects.
To use the Nicotine Replacement Therapies, you follow the instructions that come along with the method of disbursement, although most are very straightforward. The patch should be placed on your skin, and it gives a small and steady amount of nicotine as it’s worn throughout the day. The positives of this are that it’s very low maintenance and can be hidden under the clothes so that others don’t know you’re wearing it. The negatives are that it may pull hair, fall off, or lose sticky contact with the skin if you go swimming or take a shower. Nicotine gum, conversely, should be chewed to release the nicotine and then stored between the cheek and gums to allow the nicotine to soak in through the buccal lining of the cheek.
The upside of this is that you can use it whenever you feel like you need it, and the act of putting something in your mouth handles the oral fixation that many smokers say is a very important source of gratification while smoking. The downside of the gum is that it may be difficult to chew it a lot if you have a job that requires a lot of public speaking or telephone time. Similarly, the lozenge is oral, and sits in the mouth for a period of time.
The only differences between the gum and lozenge are that you do not have to chew the lozenge, and that the nicotine is dissolved in through the tongue instead of the cheek. Inhalers allow you to place the inhaler inside your mouth and inhale through the mouthpiece. This works just like an asthma treatment. It’s very quick and effective, but the downside is that it may be difficult for smokers who already have a decreased lung capacity. They may not be able to take full breaths.
Finally, the nasal spray is a pump bottle containing nicotine that you place into the nose and spray. This is convenient, and portable, but may be uncomfortable for folks who are not used to having the sensation of fluids going up their noses. Generally, the patch and gum are the most popular forms of Nicotine replacement therapy because of their accessibility and ease of use for those who are trying to quit smoking. “How long does it take to quit smoking?” This is a question we are asked often, and it may be days, weeks, or even years. It’s all up to the individual and the methods they try.
There are more uncommon forms of smoking cessation, or quitting cigarettes, and one of those is hypnosis. Hypnosis can be an effective way of getting rid of a smoking habit. Hypnosis is defined as an altered state of awareness in which you appear to be asleep or in a trance, and clinical hypnosis may be used to treat physical or psychological problems or to help patients control pain. It’s also used in weight loss and other addiction treatments.
Some people believe that it works because when you’re hypnotized you’re more relaxed and you tend to concentrate more, or are more willing to take suggestions.
During smoking cessation hypnosis, a patient is often asked to quit smoking, and is often asked to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking. For example, the hypnotherapist may suggest that smoking will leave the patient’s mouth feeling extremely parched. Spiegel’s method of hypnotherapy suggests to the patient that smoking poisons the body, and the patient needs the body to live, so the patient should respect the body and rid himself of the poison.
Truthfully a lot of this is no different than guided self affirmation, but some people may find the hypnotic state more effective, or it might just be in their mind that it’s more magical or has more drastic effects. Despite all of this, hypnosis does not work for everyone, and a staggering 25 percent of people cannot be hypnotized at all. There’s also little evidence to support that hypnosis is effective.
Acupuncture is an ancient medical procedure where needles are inserted into various parts of the body. It can work on pretty much any type of addiction but like everything else, quitting smoking has it’s own specific procedures designed to be the most effective. Auricular acupuncture is a technique used most commonly and it’s a process of inserting tiny needles into the ear through a variety of acupuncture or pressure points, which, when stimulated it can lead to reduced smoking cravings and the need to smoke less.
A specific point located on the inside of the arm from elbow to wrist is called the “Tim Mee” area – it’s a famous smoking pressure point used in acupuncture. There is another acupuncture point, located on the inside of the arm, specifically above the wrist crease, called the “Tim Mee” and is used to curb smoking. This point, when touched with the acupuncture needles, makes cigarettes taste disgusting and less appealing to the addicted smoker.
Finally, many people try alternative medicine. Yoga and exercise have been cited as useful tools for putting cigarettes behind you. Some people have even tried meditation, and found that it is very helpful with controlling the urges associated with wanting to smoke and quitting cold turkey. Essential oils are also an all natural way to quit smoking.
Black Pepper oil has which proven very effective in smoking cessation, and this was proven in several journal studies. Others make blends of different essential oils meant for relaxation, stress, depression, and cravings to make it work even more effectively.
Don’t Give Up!
Regardless of what method you use, whether it’s you trying to quit or if you’re trying to learn how to help someone quit smoking — the most important thing to remember through all of this is that quitting smoking is very difficult, and is different for everyone. Many people go through many different forms of treatment before they find one that works for them. Do not give up.
Try various tools until you find the ones that help you succeed. There are so many different methods listed in this article, you need to do yourself the service of trying each one before giving up. And you’ll have the ultimate prize — a better and healthier life for your efforts.