Do you want to quit smoking, but don’t know the right direction? Are you feeling lost and desperate? Well, quitting is hard for both occasional and chain smokers. Even though you know the health risks, that does not make it any easier to stop. But if you try to follow tips and instructions to quit without understanding why it’s so hard to quit and where to start, you’ll be stuck. Also, you need to know the health risks you are getting into. So, read on…
Cigarette-smoking: Why it is so hard to quit?
It is both a physical addiction as well as a psychological practice. Nicotine provides a temporary sense of calm, which is highly addictive. When you eliminate the regular fix of nicotine, your body experiences physically-exhausting withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Remember, nicotine has a faux, ‘feel-good’ effect which to a smoker is a quick fix to boost confidence, relieve stress, and unwind from a stressful situation. Some people choose to smoke as a way to cope with anxiety, depression, and even boredom. All you need to do is to find a suitable, healthier way to cope with those detrimental feelings. Sometimes, smoking becomes an interim part of your daily routine like a cigarette with a cup of tea in the morning.
So, to be able to quit smoking you need to address routines, habits, and addiction all at the same time! It’s going to be tough, hence, here are a few pointers to make it a bit easier for you to quit the nicotine dependence:
Plan and set a date
You are going to quit something that you’ve been doing for years. Therefore, it’s better to plan ahead. Fix a date within the next few weeks and prepare yourself to stick to the motivation. In the meantime, get acquainted with the ill-effects of smoking tobacco:
- Smoking cigarettes elevate the chances of lung cancer in men and women by 25 times and 25.7 times respectively.
- Chance of getting a stroke is increased by 2 to 4 times
- Smokers suffer from coronary heart disease 2 to 4 times more than non-smokers
There are other ill-effects of tobacco smoking that you can learn about to keep your motivation to quit stronger than ever.
Be prepared to manage cravings
It is true that even though you could reduce your urge for a puff by avoiding certain triggers, you can’t avoid cravings entirely. The good news is, you have to hold on to your cravings for about 5 to 10 minutes. Even if you are tempted to light up, tell yourself that it will soon pass and distract yourself in whichever ways you can – work in the kitchen, start watching TV, call and chat with a friend, or engage in some activities that interest you.
Win over the withdrawal symptoms
Cigarette cravings are not the only withdrawal symptoms you’d find yourself in. Other symptoms that you may notice in you are:
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Anger, irritability, or frustration
- Increased coughing
- Unexplained fatigue
- Increased appetite
- Decreased heart rate
These are unpleasant symptoms but will go in a week’s time if you are persistent about your determination to quit tobacco smoking. As you start taking care of yourself, toxins are flushed from the body, thereby reducing the symptoms.
Try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
Take time to understand the type of smoker you are. If you smoke one or more packets of cigarettes a day, you are a heavy smoker. You could also be a social smoker or a person who craves a puff after every meal. In fact, you can also find yourself among people who reach for cigarettes when stressed or depressed.
Knowing yourself better will help you choose the type of nicotine substitute that would work for you— nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, nasal sprays, or inhalers. In NRT, substitutes help to relieve symptoms by delivering minimal, steady doses of nicotine into your body. However, the substitutes are sans tars and poisonous gases otherwise found in cigarette smoke. NRTs break your psychological addiction and make it easier to quit smoking.
Find an answer in alternative therapies
Apart from NRT or prescription medicines, there are a few other therapies that you could try for dealing with your tobacco smoking habits-
- Hypnosis: This therapy is known for providing desirable results in many struggling to quit smoking. In this therapy, you are taken to a deeply relaxed state where you abide by the suggestions given to you by the therapist regarding quitting tobacco-smoking. A therapist will also increase your negative feeling about cigarettes.
- Behavioral and motivational therapy: As discussed earlier, nicotine-smoking is related to habits and rituals. Behavioral therapies work on breaking those habits and rituals and getting a smoker into new coping skills and habits. Motivational therapists provide books and website links through which you can motivate yourself to quit tobacco-smoking. A therapist also helps by calculating the total amount of money you’d save on quitting.Remember, you may fail a few times and relapse. But, that’s not the end of the road for you. Learn from mistakes that led you to smoke one cigarette. It surely does not have to be a complete relapse. You could throw away the rest of the pack and get back on track. Best of luck!