Quitting smoking is a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. If you want to achieve this goal, you need strong will and deep commitment. There are various strategies to achieve this, but no single method is effective for overcoming smoking addiction. In addition, the chances of success for everyone are not the same. While quitting smoking won't happen instantly, you can try to make it easier by developing a plan and working it out using a variety of methods to curb your cravings.
Part 1 of 3: Quit Smoking
Step 1. Quit smoking immediately (cold turkey)
Quitting smoking this way is the most common, and seems the easiest because it doesn't require outside help. You just need to quit smoking and commit yourself to sticking with it. People who quit smoking immediately are more successful than those who quit gradually, but this method usually doesn't work without nicotine replacement therapy (NRT for short). In fact, only 3-5% of those who quit smoking immediately can comply. If you decide not to use NRT, your chances of success will depend on your willpower.
- It is possible that people who manage to quit smoking immediately have a genetic advantage. About 20% of people may have a genetic advantage that reduces the pleasurable effects of nicotine.
- If you want to have a greater chance of success in quitting smoking immediately, you can use other activities instead of smoking (especially activities that will occupy your hands or mouth, such as knitting or chewing sugar-free gum); avoid situations and people who remind you of smoking; call a friend or hotline 0800-177-6565; set goals and reward yourself.
- It might be a good idea to have a backup strategy in case you can't quit smoking right away.
- Quitting smoking immediately is the easiest strategy to implement, but the most difficult to do successfully.
Step 2. Try nicotine replacement therapy
NRT has a success rate of 20%, making it one of the most effective methods of tackling smoking addiction. You can chew gum, suck on pastilles, or use a nicotine patch so your body can satisfy its nicotine needs while slowly reducing the dose until you finally get rid of this substance. This process will also make you stop the addictive behavior and adopt healthier habits.
- If you stop smoking immediately and start using NRT, your chances of success are greater than if you stopped smoking gradually while on NRT. According to research, 22% of people who quit smoking suddenly managed to maintain abstinence after 6 months, while only 15.5% of people who quit smoking gradually over 2 weeks managed to maintain abstinence after the same period of time.
- You can buy chewing gum, patches, nicotine pastilles at pharmacies or drug stores without a prescription.
- Keep in mind that, for this strategy you have to spend money to buy gum, patches, or pastilles.
- If your metabolism tends to process nicotine quickly, the NRT method will not produce satisfactory results. Consult a doctor to find out your metabolic condition and nicotine replacement therapy.
Step 3. Take medication to help you quit smoking
You can ask your doctor to prescribe medications such as bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin) and varenicline (Chantix), which are designed to help with addiction. Ask your doctor about the side effects of this medication and how effective it is in your case.
- Bupropion has been shown to have a significant impact on the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs in people with rapid nicotine metabolism.
- Ask the insurance company if your plan to use these drugs will be covered.
Step 4. Get into counseling or therapy
You can consult a counselor or therapist to address the emotional problems that cause smoking. This way, you can identify the emotional or situational triggers that drive you to smoke. In addition, a mental health professional can help you develop a long-term plan for dealing with addiction.
Ask the insurance company if the cost of counseling includes any benefits that will be covered
Step 5. Try an alternative method
You can use many alternative ways to help you quit smoking. These options range from herbal and mineral supplements to hypnosis and practices such as meditation. Some people have been successful in quitting smoking using these methods, but there is not much scientific evidence to support them.
- Many smokers claim that consuming candy and pastilles containing vitamin C helps them control cravings.
- You can also benefit from practicing meditation to take your mind off the urge to smoke.
Step 6. Use a combination of strategies
While one strategy may be enough to help you quit smoking, you may need several strategies to reach your goal. For example, the initial strategy you chose may not be sustainable and for that reason you may need a backup strategy or it may be easier for you to control your addiction with two methods at once.
- To make sure you're not combining medications in an unhealthy way, talk to your doctor first.
- Consider using alternative methods with more established strategies.
Part 2 of 3: Maintaining the Determination to Quit Smoking
Step 1. Get rid of all smoking-related equipment
Throw away anything related to smoking, including the cigarette itself, cigars, pipes, hookahs, or other smoking devices, either at home or at work. Your personal space should be free from temptations that could interfere with your goals.
- Stay away from places that can trigger the urge to smoke, such as bars, or places that allow smoking.
- Spend time with people who don't smoke.
Step 2. Get busy
Take your mind off the urge to smoke and addiction by keeping yourself busy. You can start a new hobby or spend more time with friends. Physical activity will reduce stress and control cravings.
- You can keep your hands busy by playing with small objects, such as coins, paper clips and blowing at straws, chewing gum, or eating healthy snacks, such as carrots, to keep your mouth busy.
- Look for activities you can do with people who don't smoke.
- Avoid activities that trigger the desire to smoke or stay away from places frequented by smokers.
Step 3. Reward yourself
Reward yourself with something you enjoy as an incentive for good behavior. Quitting smoking may make you sad, which in turn will increase your desire to smoke. Therefore, try activating the pleasure center of the brain with something you enjoy. For example, enjoy one of your favorite foods or take up a fun hobby.
- Be careful not to substitute one addictive behavior for another.
- Use the money you save by not smoking to give yourself a gift. You can buy something nice, watch a movie or dine at a fancy restaurant, or even save long term for a vacation.
Step 4. Maintain a positive attitude and don't be too hard on yourself
You must remember that quitting smoking is a difficult process and takes time. So take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself if you can't control the urge to smoke. Remember that you will experience setbacks when trying to quit smoking, but remember that you are part of the process.
- Try to focus on not smoking for a short period of time, such as a day or even a few hours. Thinking about quitting smoking on a long term basis (say, "I'll never smoke again") can cause you to feel anxious and actually trigger an urge to smoke.
- Practice mental awareness techniques, such as meditation, to help your mind focus on the present moment and on the success of the moment.
Step 5. Ask for help
It's much easier to quit smoking if you have the support of friends and family than it is to do it alone. If you're having trouble controlling your smoking addiction, talk to someone and tell them what you can do to help you focus on your goals. You should not bear the burden of quitting smoking alone.
When you are making plans to quit smoking, talk to friends and family. They can provide input that can help you develop a strategy
Part 3 of 3: Making a Quit Smoking Plan
Step 1. Consider a long-term approach
If your attempts to quit smoking quickly fail, it may be worth trying a long-term approach, which requires planning and patience. Planning can help you understand the obstacles associated with your goals and give you the opportunity to develop better strategies for overcoming them.
- Talk to your doctor about developing a plan to quit smoking.
- You can also get help developing a smoking cessation plan from various websites and “hotlines”.
Step 2. Decide that you will quit smoking
Think about your reasons for quitting smoking and what this means for you. Weigh the pros and cons, then ask yourself if you're ready to make this commitment. Discuss your decision with friends and family.
- What are the potential health risks you face if you continue to smoke?
- What is the impact of smoking addiction on your financial condition?
- What is the impact on family and friends?
- Make a list of all the reasons why you want to quit smoking so you can use it as a reference the next time you want to smoke.
Step 3. Set a date to quit smoking
Pick a date when you will quit smoking and stick to it. Pick a date far enough away that you have time to prepare, but not so far away that you lose interest. Try to give yourself two weeks. Having a deadline to quit smoking will help you mentally prepare and give you a more concrete schedule. In order to stick to the plan and overcome addiction, it's important that you follow strict rules of life.
Don't delay the set date. This will set a bad precedent and make it difficult for you to adhere to other dates
Step 4. Make a plan to quit smoking
Do some research on different strategies for quitting smoking and talk to your doctor about the best method for you. Consider the pros and cons of each strategy, as well as the impact on your life. Consider what methods you can realistically stick to.
Consider whether you want to quit smoking immediately, use drugs, or try therapy. Each of these strategies has pros and cons
Step 5. Prepare for a quit date
Get rid of all equipment that is related to smoking and can be a trigger for your addiction. Record smoking activity in the days leading up to your quit smoking date. This way, you can identify moments when you tend to smoke (e.g. after eating) and make sure you have NRT, medication or other strategies in place to anticipate those moments.
- Make sure you get enough sleep and avoid stressful situations if possible.
- It may sound like a good idea to start another healthy habit at the same time as quitting smoking, but it can cause additional stress and undermine your efforts to quit smoking. It's best to do one at a time.
Step 6. Prepare for stress
Quitting smoking involves major changes in your lifestyle and this can trigger anger, anxiety, depression, and frustration. Therefore, you must plan strategies that can help you overcome these difficulties, which, although undesirable, must be faced. Prepare the necessary supplies, such as medicines, NRT, telephone numbers, and so on). Call your doctor if these feelings don't go away after a month.