We all know smoking is bad for one’s health. If you’re a smoker and you’ve vowed to make 2013 the year to become a non-smoker, your odds of quitting are significantly higher if you’re equipped with the right tools and a good support system.
The first step in quitting smoking is coming up with a game plan:
Determine what type of a smoker you are.
- Determine which tools, aids you want to utilize: There are many nicotine aids, medications and support groups available– find which ones you want to utilize.
- Tell others of your plans: Research shows that when you tell others of your goals, you hold yourself more accountable for your actions, because humans typically have a biological need to please others.
- Set a quit day: Some people chose to quit smoking gradually, a tapering-down method. If you’ve tried this before and it didn’t work, it may be best to stop all in one day.
- Recognize your triggers: If you know what triggers your urge to smoke, try to avoid your triggers or try to replace the habit by snacking on carrot sticks, popping in a nicotine lozenge or gum, drink a glass of cold water, take deep breaths, eat pistachios or call a friend or support person.
- Write a list of all the reasons you want to stop and keep them visible. You can even add pictures or graphics for more inspiration.
- “Swing by the health food store for some Avena sativa (oat) extract. One study found that, taken at 1 milliliters four times daily, it helped habitual tobacco smokers significantly decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked,” reported Reader’s Digest.
- Write a list of rewards. Make small, daily ones you can follow through with. For example, if you don’t smoke for a day, you treat yourself to a small treat.
Nicotine Replacement Aids:
Lozenges and Gum: Lozenges can be purchased over the counter. They come in many different flavors and dosages. Lozenges and gum can be used when you’re craving has reached its peak.
Prescription Medications: nicotine inhaler, nasal spray and bupropion SR (Zyban®) have been proven helpful, especially when combined with nicotine replacement aids and support.
Support and Therapy:
According to the CDC:
The majority of cigarette smokers quit without using evidence-based cessation treatments.1However, the following treatments are proven effective for smokers who want help to quit:
- Brief clinical interventions (i.e., when a doctor takes 10 minutes or less to deliver advice and assistance about quitting)
- Counseling (e.g., individual, group, or telephone counseling)
- Behavioral cessation therapies (e.g., training in problem solving)
- Treatments with more person-to-person contact and intensity (e.g., more time with counselors)
The combination of medication and counseling is more effective for smoking cessation than either medication or counseling alone.
According to the CDC:
1-800-QUIT-NOW is a free telephone support service that can help individuals who want to stop smoking or using tobacco. Callers have access to several types of cessation information and services, including:
- Free support and advice from experienced counselors
- A personalized quit plan
- Self-help materials
- Social support and coping strategies
- The latest information about cessation medications
- Over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications for eligible participants (in more than half of U.S. states)
Have you quit smoking or resolved to quit smoking? Share you story and tips with us.