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My last blogs were a series of articles about smoking. I talked about the dangers of smoking, secondhand smoke, and thirdhand smoke. If I was able to finally convince you to quit, thank you for listening to me. However, you may be feeling a bit lost on where to start. Picking up the habit is way easier than kicking it, after all. This is the reason why I came up with this how-to guide on how to quit smoking.
♤ 5 Ways to Quit Smoking ♤
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Smoking tobacco is a very addictive habit, both physically and psychologically, which makes quitting very difficult. But as long as you have the right mindset and support system, you can successfully accomplish this task. There are different ways to beat this habit, here are just 5 of them. I hope this list helps you live a healthier life.
1. Have a Plan
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When you want to quit smoking, it's important to have a plan. Going cold turkey may work on some people, but if you are like most people then you will need a detailed plan to help keep you on track. You can start with the START program.
S - Set a quit date.
T - Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
A- Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting.
R - Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
T - Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.
You also need to identify what kind of smoker you are and what your triggers are in order to successfully quit smoking.
2. Going Cold Turkey
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Quitting cold turkey means beating the habit without outside support, aids, therapies, or medicine. About 90% of smokers who want to quit use this method as their first attempt at quitting. However, only 5% or 7% of them are able to do it successfully, meaning it's not the most effective method.
3. Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy
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This therapy gives smokers their daily nicotine fix without smoking tobacco. There are several kinds which include nicotine patches, gums, sprays, inhalers, and lozenges. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) works best with behavioral therapy. Support from friends and family also help a lot, too. Some of these NRTs are prescription only. For your safety, it would be best to discuss the dosage with a professional healthcare practitioner before going down that road. This type of therapy helps you quit smoking tobacco initially, but its end goal is to help you quit your nicotine addiction.
4. Seek Behavioral Therapy
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A behavioral therapy involves working with a counselor in order to find effective ways to stop smoking. Your counselor will help you identify what triggers the habit so that both of you can come up with a plan to counter your cravings. Combining medication, such as bupropion, varenicline, and NRT, with behavioral therapy can increase your chances of long-term smoking cessation by as much as 25%.
5. Non-nicotine medications
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Bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) are FDA approved drugs that can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms and even curb your cravings. Unlike NRTs, these drugs do not contain nicotine. However, you should note that these are prescription only medicines. Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel that these drugs can help you quit smoking.
♤ How to Stay on Track ♤
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Quitting won't be easy. There will be days when the cravings are just so bad but don't give in. Hold steady-- you must remain steadfast in this endeavor and stick with your plan. Quitting will be the best thing you will ever do for your health. You can follow the steps below and enjoy a healthier smoke-free life.
- Identify your triggers and avoid them as much as you could.
- Don't give in to your cravings.
- Acknowledge that the first few days will be the most difficult.
- Start a new hobby with non-smoker friends.
- Reward yourself for every milestone achieved.
Listen to the story of this guy how he quit smoking and stayed smoke-free for the past 7 years.
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♤ Why is Quitting So Hard? ♤
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Many people smoke because nicotine has a "feel good" effect on them that helps them cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and even boredom. It also provides a temporary and addictive high. As such, it has become a physical addiction to smokers that's why people experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to eliminate their regular nicotine fix.
Aside from the physical addiction, smoking has also become a psychological habit that comes naturally to many people as part of their daily ritual such as smoking together with their morning coffee, after every meal, or while taking a break from work. Smoking may have also become a way for them to bond with friends and family who also smoke. So, aside from the physical withdrawal symptoms, smokers also have to deal with the psychological changes after quitting.
The most common nicotine withdrawal symptoms are:
- Cigarette cravings
- Mood swings (irritability, anger, or frustration)
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased appetite
- Increased coughing
- Upset stomach or constipation
- Decreased heart rate
These symptoms are certainly unpleasant. But, you also need to remember that they are only temporary. It will get better over time as the toxins are flushed out of your body and you will eventually get past this stage and live a healthier life. In the meantime, let your friends and family know what you are going through so they would understand if you're not yourself from time to time.
♤ Final Thoughts ♤
Aside from being a physical addiction, tobacco smoking is also a psychological habit that's why many find it hard to quit. The physical withdrawal symptoms can also be quite harsh that takes quite a toll on the body. To successfully quit smoking, you need to address the habit and the addiction. Even if you have tried and failed several times to quit, it is still possible with the right attitude, quit plan, and support.
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Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day ahead of you and keep smiling. :)
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