Tobacco smoking is the largest epidemic the world has ever faced. It kills more than 7 million people per year. Most smokers who know of the dangers of tobacco want to quit. By quitting, you not only improve your own health, but also the health of others around you.
If you’re planning to kick the smoking habit, that’s great. Know that it’s not going to be easy, but the benefits of smoking cessation are worth taking the trouble.
11 Ways To Help You Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking is a journey that will need you to have a good plan and your best motivation. This article has put up some tips that’ll help you quit smoking.
1. Prepare for your quit day.
Assuming that you have decided to quit smoking, you must now pick a date when you’re finally going to stop. Many of the ex-smokers have shared that choosing on a date far away from present will not be much of a help. You should decide to do it sooner than later.
Pick a date that is near enough to keep you motivated, but also far enough to give you time for preparations and mindset. A week or two from now could be a reasonable period. You can practice smoking fewer cigarettes per day during these two weeks, and then as the quit day comes, you can go on to have zero cigarettes.
Moreover, inform your friends and family of your decision and ask for their support.
2. Stop buying cartons of cigarettes.
Individuals who smoke usually have this habit of keeping a stock of cigarettes at home. As you decide to quit smoking, it is essential that you stop stocking cartons of cigarettes and get rid of that stock you already have (not through excessive smoking, of course).
It’ll be a good practice to start buying only enough cigarettes for a day or two. Do so at least one month before you quit. You’ll see that as the craving to smoke excess cigarettes dives in, you don’t have any extra cigarettes. That will help you wean down to fewer and shorter smoking episodes.
3. Quit smoking when you are in a good mood.
It’s understood that you have decided a quit date, and you might believe that if it’s not done on that day, you’ll never be able to do it. However, keep in mind that bad mood and smoking cessation are inversely related to each other.
When you are stressed and have a bad mood, there are higher chances of failure to quit smoking than otherwise. Make sure that you have your best mood and your stress is under control so that it’s easier to stick to the goal.
4. Look forward.
Engrave it in your mind that your decision to quit smoking is not going to deprive you of anything useful. You will have enormous benefits, but nothing to lose.
Think of the time when you’ll finally shift to the status of being a non-smoker and having achieved your goal. It is bound to keep you motivated.
When we have a vision in mind, it’s easier to work towards our goals. So, look forward.
5. List all the reasons that you want to quit smoking.
What is it that made you believe in smoking as a bad habit? You need to list all those things and reasons that make you want to quit smoking. This list will reinforce you to keep moving towards your goal.
Here’s a good list of reasons that one might want to quit smoking for.
- Cigarettes will no longer control your life.
- Your risks for catching deadly diseases, such as ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke, will significantly decrease.
- Your smoke will no longer be a health risk to others around you.
- You will feel satisfied and happier than before.
- You will be able to save lots of money. Check out your cost of smoking here.
- You will set a good example for your children and others in the community.
- You will have a brighter smile, a healthy looking skin, and a longer life expectancy.
- If you already have a lung or heart disease, you can prevent its progression by quitting today.
6. Paste a list of harmful effects of smoking in visible areas of your house.
Create a list of unhealthy effects of cigarettes and place it somewhere you can see it multiple times a day. To keep your list worthy of looking at, be a bit creative and artistic. You can also get some smoking campaign posters for your room. Not a great idea, but it will serve as a good reminder.
Here’s a list of risks associated with smoking:
- Increased risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure.
- Greater chances of stroke
- A higher susceptibility towards most forms of cancers, such as lung, mouth, pancreatic, esophageal, and blood cancers.
- Increased risk of depression
- Reduced fertility.
- An alteration in the sense of smell and taste.
- Premature births and low birth weight in the case of pregnant women who smoke.
- The child whose mother smoked during pregnancy has a high risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes later in his life.
7. Avoid triggers & prepare yourself to do stuff when craving hits.
There are so many situations where a person feels the urge to smoke. It’ll be great if you can keep a check on those situations and know your triggers. Initially, when you are not the strong enough to resist an urge, it’s best to avoid triggers because after all your efforts smoking relapse is one thing you want to avoid at all cost.
Note the times when you smoke. It could be at parties, during lunch breaks in office, at the time of stress, after dinner, while talking on the phone, or any other situation. You have to either avoid such situations or have alternative activities for these situations to make sure the smoking habit doesn’t come back.
If there are specific activities or a certain time of the day that makes you smoke more than usual, take note of that as well. You will need to tackle those times with more clever strategies.
Here’s an example of a smoking alternative.
Tim had this habit to smoke while talking on a phone. When he decided to quit, he started using doodle art as an alternative to smoke.
Some more things that you can do to resist the urger are given below.
- Take a walk
- Chew on gums (Opt for sugarless variety. You don’t want to get cavities in your teeth.)
- Get a cup of herbal tea
- Eat something (choose healthy food)
- Play a game
- Clean your cupboard
- Wash the car
- Brush your teeth (It has worked wonders for some people.)
- Throw the ball for your dog
- Watch a movie
- Drink a glass of water
- Practice deep breathing
- Suck on a cinnamon-flavored toothpick.
- If nothing works, take a nap
8. Delay it.
Whenever you have this tobacco craving, tell yourself to wait for 15 minutes. During this time, you can distract yourself or get to a smoke-free zone. The idea is to trick your brain into thinking that you’re going to smoke, but you utilize this smoke-free time to beat the smoking urge.
9. Cope with stress without smoking.
Stress has a regular presence in life. Although some stress is essential to reach our goals, too much of it can cause trouble. Most smokers have this habit of smoking excessively during the periods of stress. Coping with stress is, therefore, an important aspect of quitting smoking.
Until now, you may have learned to cope with stress by way of smoking. Now, you have to learn it otherwise.
How to deal with stress?
Here are a few tips that you might find helpful. Some of these require time and practice while others are easy to adopt. Try them individually and in combinations to see what works best for you.
There are certain things that you can do to relax while stressed. The best one with instant results is this deep breathing exercise. Take a deep breath. Hold on for a few seconds and then exhale for around 8 seconds. Repeat this ten times. Right after the first round, you will start feeling better.
You can also try muscle relaxation, yoga, listening to music, or massage to relax.
Know your stress:
Look inside and see what is it that causes stress. Try to solve the unresolved issues that are the culprit.
Picture your happy moments; think of times when you were relaxed and comfortable.
Good stuff makes one happy. Do something nice for people around you, and it’ll have a positive impact on your stressful situation.
Exercise improves stress. It releases chemicals that improve your mood. Research has long established the relationship between exercise and a healthy body. The positive effects of exercise in reducing stress have gained wide popularity. We see many psychologists recommending exercise as a part of treatment regime to their patients.
It has been observed that people who are physically active tend to have less stress issues as compared to others. Regular exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of stress. Try whatever form of physical activity you like. It could be dancing, swimming, jogging, walking, running, etc.
Taking a short walk or a few jumps can go a long way in dealing with stress.
Certain situations in life cannot be modified. You need to accept them and move on. Stressing over the non-modifiable factors of your life will only result in you getting back to where you started all this quit-smoking-goal.
Talk to others:
There’s no reason for you to keep all the stuff to yourself. Share it with friends and family to help them support you through difficult times.
Focus: Pay attention to the present and avoid getting overwhelmed due to future worries.
10. Make use of apps.
There are many apps that are designed to help people reach their goals. Some of them are specifically created to be smoking free. We bring you best three that are free to use.
LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach:
Doctors have reviewed this app, and it acts as your coach to design an individualized quitting plan.You have the choice to quit cold turkey or do it slowly. The app helps you track your cravings and smoking. My Quit Coach also comes with the feature to help you communicate with other users in the social support section of the app. P.S. You also earn achievement badges as you progress.
Quit It Lite:
This app helps against temptations. It shares information on the amount of tar you have saved yourself from and other details that help you be on the track to quit smoking.
Quit Smoking Cessation Nation:
This app provides social support and keeps track of your health improvements and savings from not buying cigarettes. It also includes a game to keep you distracted from cravings. Similar to My Quit Coach, this app also gives awards in the form of badges.
11. Take inspiration from others.
Check out stories of other people who quit smoking, and take motivation from there. Andrea Morehead has been smoking free for 5 years. She shares her tips as:
I stayed away from smoking area or I was tempted. So I kept my hands and mind busy by doing word searches and crossword puzzles on breaks and after meals.
Here’s a good article: 10 Quit Stories from Successful Ex-Smokers.
You may feel a little depressed, there will be changes in sleep patterns, and some form of restlessness will be there during the withdrawal phase. However, keep in mind that the withdrawal symptoms last for a few days to weeks. You have to stay strong during this time.
Moreover, during your journey to quit smoking, you may come across times when you fail to achieve the goal ‘zero cigarettes per day.’ That’ll make you think it’s over. But it’s not. Remember, you’re not your slip-ups and mistakes. Start again. Never give up on the efforts to give up a bad habit.