In the last few decades, we have seen a revolution in the “smoking cessation” treatment. Psychotherapy pioneered it, and nicotine patches and nicotine gum are common nowadays. Today’s medication can take away nicotine craving without using nicotine in treatment. Overall, more than seventy percent of adult smokers have shown the desire to stop immediately. Now you have a better chance to succeed.
You won’t find a universal method which will work for everyone. Try each of them. If a method doesn’t work for you, you should try another.
Important steps to quit
You must take these steps to make sure you can quit effectively and won’t get a relapse. If you still experience a relapse, you may need to repeat these steps until you get an improvement.
1. Be prepared.
Set a definite quit date and try to make it special. Consider it as the day of your rebirth. Your birth date is obviously a good choice – you can celebrate your new self.
• Write a list why you want to quit.
• Boost your fitness, to better adapt you to changes.
• Avoid taking too much caffeine to prevent sleep problems.
• Use low-calorie beverages or snacks to satisfy your hunger.
• Relax yourself by meditating, taking a bath, or exercising.
• Use hard candy or cough drops to treat any cough.
2. Find support of loved ones and friends.
Let everyone know you have a plan to quit and immediately ask for support, especially by not smoking when you are around. Even better, you should ask them to accompany you in this program. Use group or individual counseling to guide you. You may need to talk to someone a few times a day when you are trying to quit. Contact the doctor or any healthcare provider for ideas and advices.
3. Use new skills to deal with new problems.
It is a good idea to find enjoyable distractions (like exercise, watching a good movie, play games or reading a good book) that may lessen a nearly overwhelming urge to smoke. Reduce and eventually stop activities that you often combine with smoking (for example, drinking coffee or alcoholic beverage, morning break, or resting too long after lunch). Change your routine to focus on the lifestyle changes. For example, try to do fast-paced walk for 15 minutes instead of lighting up.
These advices will make it easier for you to stop smoking:
• Switch to a low nicotine brand, preferably the one that you don’t like.
• Limit yourself to a progressively smaller number of cigarettes each week.
• After you can smoke seven cigarettes or less each day, set a definite quit date.
• Throw away the cigarette, after you smoke only half of it.
• Drink plenty of water or fruit juices.
4. Make use of the treatments that have been proven can help a person to quit smoking.
Ask your doctor about smoking cessation aids and nicotine replacement therapy.
5. Brace yourself for urges and possible relapses.
Everyone who wants to quit smoking may already try it more than once. Being easy on yourself if your plan doesn’t work is essential. A relapse may occur within the first three months. By following these advices, you can minimize your urge and avoid relapse:
• Alcohol may lessen your control, you should avoid drinking excessively.
• Avoid other smokers, even a whiff of smoke may spark off an overwhelming urge.
• If you gain weight, you shouldn’t return to smoke. There are other ways to lose weight.
• Don’t treat your anxiety, depression, or nervousness with a cigarette.
If you have a relapse, start the quitting process from the beginning. Understand situations that caused a relapse and so you can better avoid it next time.
There are two effective methods to quit smoking: smoking cessation aids and nicotine replacement therapy. You can get some OTC drugs, but those with serious nicotine addiction may need a doctor prescription.
They don’t contain nicotine but still can treat withdrawal symptoms. New medications seem to appear nearly each month.
Common examples are:
• Bupropion SR (Zyban), is a prescription drug and can disrupt the addictive influence of nicotine. By taking a dose of 150 mg twice each day, its effectiveness has been verified in large researches.
• Varenicline (Chantix) is a prescription drug that can diminish the high often felt by smokers and lessen withdrawal symptoms. A dose of 1 mg is taken twice a day.
• Nicotine vaccine is the latest treatment that stops nicotine from reaching our brain.
A common type of treatment where patients are given small doses of nicotine, which may lessen withdrawal symptoms. Those with high blood pressure may need to do a more controlled treatment to limit blood pressure. It comes in five forms of treatment:
• Nicotine gum, is an OTC medication, you can choose 2 or 4 mg doses. When you chew the gum, membranes in the mouth absorb the nicotine. You need to gradually reduce the dosage, until you completely stop taking the gum.
• Nicotine lozenge, is sold as tablets that dissolve and deliver nicotine through the mouth lining, you can get 2 or 4 mg doses.
• Nicotine patch, is available both by over-the-counter and prescription, release nicotine through the skin gradually. They usually come as tablets with 15 mg of nicotine. Those with adhesive allergies may find this method troublesome. Combining lozenges or gum with the patches isn’t always advisable as you may end up taking too much nicotine. You should combine treatments only based on doctor’s advice.
• Nicotine nasal spray, is prescribed by doctors. Sprays are useful if you continue to have urges to smoke. Those with a sinus condition may find nasal spray a nuisance.
• Nicotine inhaler, is prescribed by doctors and designed to send nicotine vapor into your mouth. Some people may experience irritation on throat and mouth.
With the help of the internet, you can access many resources easily in the comfort of your house.
These are you best chances of getting a good help:
• American Cancer Society. It publishes many pamphlets and has a useful Web site on quitting smoking and also a bibliography of tapes and books.
• American Lung Association. It has both information and smoking cessation clinics.
• American Heart Association. It offers useful information and smoking cessation programs in healthcare sites, schools, and workplaces.
• National Cancer Institute. It has researches on smoking cessation and promotes programs to minimize the impact of smoking. You can read materials online and ask for hard copy with advices on quitting and getting away from second-hand smoke.
• National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It has research on nicotine sources. They can give you useful fact sheets on drug abuse and nicotine addiction.
• Nicotine Anonymous has an excellent 12-step program.