How to quit smoking & what to expect when you do
Every cigarette pack comes with a statutory warning in bold letters – Smoking is injurious to health. Not just injurious, in some cases smoking may even prove fatal. Smokers are more likely to develop serious lung or heart conditions than non-smokers. With tons of publicity via advertisements, TV campaigns, social documentaries etc. being given to smoking and its ill effects, it does encourage some people to quit smoking. But just planning to quit and actually quitting are two completely different things.
One main reason why smokers find it so difficult to give up smoking is because the nicotine in the cigarettes is highly addictive. The smoker finds it most difficult to give up the feelings that are generated by a nicotine high. But with enough willpower and discipline, giving up that cigarette is not impossible.
How can you quit smoking?
Not smoking will definitely help you lead a healthy lifestyle. So once you decide to give up smoking, the next step is to have a plan of action & then stick to it. Here are some tips to help you quit smoking.
• Chart out a plan that works for you
Different people will attempt to quit smoking in different ways. For some going cold turkey will work, for some nicotine fading is the best method or some might opt for a personalized plan to keep them on track to stop smoking. Some try to quit the cigarette with the help of support groups.
Identify the reason for smoking & the kind of smoker you are and set up a plan accordingly. Heavy smoker or only an occasional social smoker? Smoking for fun or smoking to relieve stress? Or just smoking to fit in with your friends?
Also, even if you have tried and not succeeded in quitting smoking previously, don’t let that become a mental block while trying again. You might avoid the mistakes that you made in the previous attempt, thereby brightening your chances to quit smoking this time.
• Set a date to quit smoking
Experts say that if you have decided to stop smoking, then it helps to formalize that step by setting an actual date. Try and schedule the date when you will be least stressed and mark it on a calendar. Seeing it circled on the calendar is more a mental reminder to stay focused and also a physical proof of your efforts to quit smoking.
• Vocalize your plan
When you make a plan to stay away from cigarettes, let you family, friends and co-workers know about it. The support and encouragement from these quarters will be an added boost to your efforts. In addition, if you can find someone who wants to quit smoking as well, encourage that person to give it a try along with you. A major effort such as quitting smoking requires help from any and all channels.
• Remove cigarettes from around you completely
Just throw away all your cigarettes from you home, office, car and any other places where you might keep them. And not just cigarettes, throw away the lighters, match boxes and ashtrays as well. Removing all reminders of cigarettes will mean that the temptation to ‘smoke just one cigarette’ is lesser.
• Use oral replacement products to manage cravings
Even though you have decided to quit smoking, that intense craving for a cigarette, at least in the initial time period, will hit you. When it happens try to distract yourself by engaging in some other activity such as watching TV, listening to music, going out with friends etc. Also, using oral substitutes for a cigarette such as raw carrots, mints, celery sticks, chewing gum etc. can be a distraction from those cigarette cravings.
• Identify your smoking triggers
A smoking trigger is anything that your brain identifies with smoking. It could be anything from work, your morning cup of tea, just the smell of cigarette, an ashtray, alcohol etc. It might help to keep a log of what sets off these triggers, how you felt during that period, how intense was the craving for a cigarette etc. A written log may help in better managing those triggers the next time you experience them. Many smokers take up the habit of smoking to get away from depression, loneliness, anxiety or stress. Meditation, breathing exercises or relaxation techniques help in alleviating these triggers.
• Cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms
The most difficult part of quitting smoking is managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine is extremely addictive and its sudden absence in your system may result in irritation, headaches, depression, fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety etc. But as difficult as these symptoms are they are not insurmountable. The withdrawal symptoms are at their highest intensity in the first 2 weeks after stopping smoking. Once you can get through this initial test the cravings lessen with time as the nicotine is flushed out from your system completely.
• Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRTs
Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRTs such as patches, chewing gums, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays are WHO-approved methods that help a smoker give up cigarettes. These NRTs provide low doses of nicotine in the smoker’s body, thus slowly helping the smoker overcome tobacco cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms, finally helping in quitting smoking totally. Used in combination with other stop smoking measures such as group therapy or support groups, NRTs are a successful method to stop smoking. Research says that up to 50%- 60% of people who use NRTs succeed in quitting smoking.
• Talk to your doctor
In addition to NRTs, talk to your doctor about prescribing medication that will help with withdrawal symptoms and reduce cigarette cravings.
To quit smoking, try out Nicotex by Cipla. It’s a nicotine chewing gum that uses the WHO-approved Nicotine Replacement Therapy principle to help reduce your dependency on nicotine. Available in 2 strengths, 2 mg and 4 mg, Nicotex, the No.1 doctor recommended brand in India, boosts your willpower, controls your urge to smoke and almost doubles your chances of quitting smoking compared to other substitutes. You can select from 6 flavours including mint plus, fruity mint, cinnamon, paan, classic fresh mint and teeth whitening.
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