In recent years, the negative impact of smoking and second-hand smoke on people’s health has prompted new public service campaigns to raise awareness, along with legislation to ban smoking in many public places. This has inspired many smokers to attempt to quit smoking. However, wanting to quit smoking and actually succeeding at it are at opposite ends of the human capability spectrum. In fact, health experts say that nearly everyone’s first attempt to quit smoking will fail.
As difficult as it may seem, there are ways to quit smoking if you can make the commitment. There are many different methods, and very much like dieting, not all smoking cessation regimes work for every person. You will have to find the plan that works for you.
The first thing you must do is make the decision to quit smoking. You have to want to quit for yourself before you can hope to succeed. Once you have resolved to quit smoking, choose a date within the upcoming six weeks and mark it on your calendar. This allows you some mental preparation for the tough job ahead.
In the days leading up to your cessation date, pay close attention to your smoking habits. Try to notice if you smoke more at night or during the day or if you tend to smoke while on the phone or after a meal or only with coffee or alcohol. Identifying your smoking habits will help you quit smoking when the time comes, because you may be able to avoid the circumstances that trigger your smoking.
If you have attempted to quit smoking in the past but were unsuccessful, you might want to consider discussing your plans to quit with your doctor. There are many prescription smoking cessation aids available, and your doctor can help you choose the right one for your situation.
Over-the-counter smoking cessation aids are also available, including the nicotine patch and gum. Nicotine replacement therapy does not work for everyone. Quitting cold turkey is often easier than having gradually reduced amounts. Often, the method that works best depends largely on the amount you smoke each day.
When the date you choose to quit smoking arrives, take it one day at a time. Each day you are nicotine-free, you are one day closer to having quit for good. Help pass each urge to smoke by doing something else. Try exercising or going for a walk, or try brushing your teeth or chewing gum. Anything you can do to help your body disassociate its urge for nicotine can help you get through the craving.
Do not worry about gaining weight while trying to quit smoking. Many people replace the hand-to-mouth habit of smoking with eating. Be conscious of what you are putting to your mouth, and you will not gain as much weight as you might have feared. Try pretzel sticks or carrot or celery sticks, or simply chew on a plastic straw.
Reevaluate your attempt to quit smoking every three or four days. Try to identify your weakest moments and your strongest. Congratulate yourself on success each week.
Have at least one support person who you can talk to about the changes you experience while trying to quit smoking. It is also important to remember that if you break down and have a cigarette, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you have to recommit and start with a new day.
Quitting smoking might very well be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but the effects of smoking begin to leave your body even after the first 24 hours. When you quit smoking, you will begin to notice benefits such as easier breathing, less coughing, more energy, and a better lifestyle. It will get easier as you go, and eventually, you can be smoke free.