Despite a lot of effort and public awareness created through various innovative marketing programs and advertising across different media for the last twenty years, the result unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired. Twenty five per cent of men and twenty per cent of women still continue to smoke and have not found it easy to give up this addiction.
Those who do not smoke find this figure quite odd and feel that for all the trouble as well as health hazards ascribed to smoking like disease of the heart, cancer, hypertension, risk of stroke and so on, smokers are still continuing this worthless deadly habit. They find it hard to comprehend that smokers can be oblivious to all this danger and continue smoking.
So why do so many people continue to smoke? One main reason is that the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive and smokers feel that they enjoy some psychological comfort levels. The other equally strong reason is that they find it difficult to quit smoking.
Researchers and those involved in various studies related to the smoking behavior however have a different view point. They feel that with the kind of assistance, tools and programs that are currently accessible to help people quit smoking, it should not be difficult at all and data every month throws up new facets on the harmful effects of smoking, which should actually deter smokers and encourage them to kick the habit.
Hence the next time you wish to smoke, think again and resolve to quit. You need to take the help of your doctor and decide on the best approach as there is no standard solution to fall back on.
You can also take help and guidance from the twenty five tips given below to quit this habit.
1. Write down things you enjoy and dislike about smoking
Take a piece of paper and make this list to find out how it impacts your life, health, family and occupation. According to Daniel Z Lieberman, the MD and director looking after the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center based at the George Washington University Medical Center says that this list is important for you to honestly understand the effects of this habit. He also suggests taking feedback from friends, family about this habit and if the negatives outnumber the positives, you should feel motivated to quit smoking.
2. Prepare a list detailing why it is difficult to quit smoking
It is necessary to be thorough and not bother about the length of the list as you will surely find a number of reasons. Make sure you also put down the options you can consider against each of the reason so that you are also thinking about the solution. For example, if you feel that one of the reasons is the addictive nature of nicotine, then under the options column mention that you could try out an alternative to nicotine. Similarly, if you feel that when you smoke, you feel distressed, then mention under options that you could try a brisk walk for about five minutes. In this manner, you will come up with reasons and their possible solutions in the form of options you can consider and that will make things easy for you to quit the habit. This exercise will prepare you mentally to anticipate the difficulties and since you have put down the possible options, you will not feel it is beyond you to finally quit smoking.
3. Decide on a date
Work out a date by which you wish to quit smoking and make sure you put it down in writing, sign it along with a witness who would be your support in this endeavor.
4. Mention the reasons you wish to quit smoking on an index card
Keep this card with you at all times and look at it when you feel the urge to smoke. The initial reasons can start with the names of your near and dear family members so that you feel emotionally bound to keep your intent and that will serve to help you resist the temptation to smoke.
5. Having decided to quit, do not purchase fresh stock of cigarettes
You can try buying only one pack and carry not more than two or three cigarettes with you just in case you feel like smoking. Carry them in an Altoids tin and as you exhaust them, you will find that over time you will get used to the fact that there are no more cigarettes to smoke. This is a good weaning process that will help you to ultimately kick the habit.
6. Maintain a list of what you were up to when you felt like smoking and the intensity of craving
Do this for a week to see if there is a pattern emerging. For instance, are there specific times in the day when the craving is the maximum or is there a specific activity you were engaged in which is triggering the urge to smoke and so on. Gaylene Mooney who chairs the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues feels that this will definitely help in determining trends and help you overcome them by seeking other diversionary activities during those times.
7. Make a list of other things to do when you get the craving to smoke
Some things recommended are a brisk walk, taking a glass of water, playing with your child, having sex, chewing gum, washing the face and brushing teeth, taking a power nap, drinking coffee or tea, taking in deep breaths and so on. Ensure you have copies of this list and refer to them whenever you get the urge to smoke so that you know you can take the help of so many diversionary tasks to help you overcome the craving at that time. Practise the reducing and replacing technique
8. As the date to quit nears, discard stuff that reminds you about this habit
This would consist of not only cigarettes but also lighters, cigarette holders, matches and even left over cigarette stubs.
9. Substitute the cigarette break with a solitaire game
This is an ideal alternative and can be as refreshing if not more without the danger of your health getting affected. You can also try taking a stroll, eating fruit or just making a phone call to divert your attention from that craving. Do make sure that you do not go to a place where smokers typically meet.
10. Try a cup of herbal tea when you get the urge to smoke
This can be at breakfast, just before lunch or even after you take your meals. The process of brewing tea and sipping it leisurely will give you the same destressing effect that nicotine normally does.
11. Replace cigarettes with nuts
Take at least four nuts instead of smoking a cigarette and that way you will be taking in nutrition that is healthy and be slowly kicking a habit that is known to be disastrous for your health.
12. Try out toothpicks coated with cinnamon flavor
You can suck on one when you get the urge to smoke.
13. Consult an acupuncturist
This form of medicine therapy has been found to be effective in reducing the craving for cigarettes. According to Ather Ali, who practices naturopathy and is currently about to finish his postdoctoral research fellowship that has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture can be practiced by just fixing some small beads or ‘seeds’ at the various acupuncture points. As and when there is a craving you find difficult to manage, you only need to squeeze these beads which act directly on the points and that would help reduce the craving. He is pursuing his fellowship in Derby, Connecticut at the Prevention Research Center.
14. Check the health food outlet for oat extract
Another study has revealed that oat extracts when taken in quantities of 1 milliliter at least four times in a day helps smokers addicted to this habit to slowly reduce the number of cigarettes they are smoking.
15. Motivate yourself by recollecting some of the difficult tasks you have done in the near past
Talk to people who have known you accomplish some difficult tasks and this will motivate you to keep trying, opines Dr.Lieberman. This recollection will encourage you to keep at it and not give up since you know you can succeed as you have in the past.
16. Alter your routine to minimize cravings
Sometimes it could be your daily routine that is creating that urge in you to smoke and this can be attributed to the force of habit developed over a period of time. You can try changing this routine by sitting at a different place or trying out a new route to your work place. If you are habituated to a small drink and smoke after you finish work, you can try taking a walk in its place. Similarly, if you always have a smoke as you sip your morning coffee, you can change to tea or even go to Starbucks which prohibits smoking in its premises. That will force you to stay away from smoking as you sip your coffee or tea.
17. Be expressive with your emotions
You should not be bottling up emotions. Be expressive about them with your family, friends, work colleagues and share your feelings with them. If you are irritated at something, then talk about it rather than try to curb it by smoking a cigarette. If you are feeling lost and bored, then do something that sparks activity in you rather than attempt to overcome such boredom by smoking a cigarette.
Strengthen your resolve
18. Pick up from where you left off
If you are not able to keep away from smoking and find yourself smoking again after a gap of some days do not get depressed. Do not think you have failed and give up. There have been people who have tried to quit smoking eight or more times before they could finally kick the habit. It is a question of your mental resolve to stop smoking and as long as you remain steadfast on that, you will succeed.
19. Accumulate the savings you are making by not smoking by putting them in a large size glass jar
This will give you the satisfaction of seeing positive results due to your non smoking attempt and will spur you to continue on that path. Utilize the saved money to buy something you have always wanted but did not find the time for it. For instance, you can book a first class ticket to go visiting an old friend.
20. Do not take caffeine when you are trying to stop smoking
Caffeine has been found to cause some problems and you can go off it during the time you are trying to reduce or totally stop smoking.
21. Convert your home, work place into a smoke-free zone
Do not permit anybody to smoke or use tobacco in any form in your house or when they sit next to you in your car, eatery or even at your work place. You can try putting up a ‘No Smoking’ sign and hang it in your house as well as car.
22. Carry a healthy snack with you
Your craving for smoking can be addressed by taking this snack at any time. That can be in the form of nuts, gum, celery sticks, and sunflower seeds and so on. Carrot and celery sticks are also good for weight reduction.
23. Either dream about or actually engage in an active sport
When y ou feel like smoking, either picture yourself playing an active sport like tennis or actually play the game so that your attention and energy is better utilized. Researchers have found that this is indeed very useful.
24. Attempt to kick the habit of smoking when your mood is elevated
Studies have indicated that those who have tried to quit smoking when under stress have not been able to successfully do it. It is thus better to attempt it when you are in a good mood.
25. Prepare a list of how smoking takes a negative toll on your health and paste it at a place that is prominently visible in your house so that you cannot miss it and that will motivate you to stay focused on quitting smoking.
- Smoking vastly increases the chances of cancer of the lungs, bladder, mouth, pancreas and can even bring about leukemia
- Minimizes the fertility levels
- Weakens the bones
- Impacts quick thinking and memory retention
- Decreases the level of folates which can then lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s, bring about depression and coronary disease.
- Can lead to sex related problems like impotence, frigidity
- Impacts the ability to taste as well as smell something
- Leads to the birth of babies that get born prematurely and with low body weight
- Leads to a feeling of depression particularly in teenagers
- Enhances the risk of getting a stroke through increase in the blood pressure.
- Enhances the possibility of getting afflicted with diabetes
- Impacts the growth of your child and enhances the risk of the child getting obese or getting afflicted with diabetes if you have been smoking when pregnant