Quit Smoking this Year - For Good
7 Quick and easy steps to finally give up smoking for good.
Published: Monday 23 January 2017
We've all taken biology lessons, or those of us that can't remember them - we've seen the adverts. "Smoking kills!" alongside grotesque pictures of smoke-blackened, decaying lungs and tumorous airways.
Smoking is both an addition and psychological habit and the prospect of coping without cigarettes can be unnerving. Smoking may be engraved into your daily routine, used as a form of stress relief, or used as a way to fit in with society.
Tobacco contains nicotine, which is the addictive substance that makes you crave your next cigarette. It is suppressing these cravings that is the target of most smoking cessation medications and techniques, of which nicotine patches, gum and prescription tablets are just a few on the market these days. Stopping smoking entirely means you will have to find more healthier habits and change your outlook and behaviour in order to overcome the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some of the ways to help you quit smoking for good:
To quit, you need gargantuan willpower. Every time you want a cigarette, you need the self-discipline to say no. You will have to walk away from the shops, ignore the array of products behind the till on a milk run and find another anchor within your social group. You will have to remind yourself that smoking is harmful to your health and exercise self-control each time you are tempted.
There are two approaches -going cold turkey and throwing out the cigarettes and not looking back. But if this is not the approach for you, nicotine replacement therapy can control your urges.
- Do it for you
Make sure you are doing this for yourself and not your partner or your family. In order to succeed, you need 100% resolution and motivation. Remember why you decided to quit and make a list of all the reasons YOU want to stop smoking.
- Decide on a date
Pick a date sometime in the future - hopefully the near future - and stick to it.
- Go Smokeless
For some, quitting smoking is easier when you take it one step at a time. Step one, cut out the carcinogens from the smoke. You can do this by eliminating the smoke altogether with e-cigarettes (data is inconclusive on its carcinogenic effects as yet) or nicotine replacement therapy with patches or nicotine gum. Avoid situations which would trigger your craving to smoke and come with ways to deal with your triggers.
- Come off the nicotine
You could stop smoking abruptly, but the after-effects will not be pretty. The most realistic approach is replacing the nicotine with an ingredient that tricks your brain into feeling the same satisfaction but is less harmful and less addictive, while suppressing your cravings.
- Avoid Alcohol
Many people smoke when they drink but if you limit your alcohol intake or switch to non-alcoholic drinks and with a little bit of self-control when you are out, you might it easier to resist the temptation of having a cigarette. Just remember that the higher your alcohol consumption, the higher risk of relapsing.
- Get some support
Just like training for a marathon or implementing a gruelling, spartan diet, you need the support of friends and family to see you through the tough times. They can encourage you and keep you from lapsing.
Distract yourself from the cravings and negative habits with something you love, such as a new hobby or class. Physical activity can also supress the withdrawal symptoms you’ll feel once you quit and just 9 months after stopping smoking your lung capacity increases by 10% so you’ll be able to do more activities.
Ready? Your journey to cleaner air and a heavier wallet has begun. Good luck!
Authored by Iris Barbier
Born in France, Iris moved to the UK to study Biological Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Upon graduating, Iris moved up north, where she completed an MA in Science Journalism at the University of Lincoln.
As a qualified science journalist, Iris uses her expertise to write content for Pharmica’s online Health Centre. She ensures our patients get specialist knowledge on medical conditions and how to treat them.