We all know smoking is harmful to health. It may cause breathing problems, stroke, cancer, and heart attack. Besides, secondhand smoke may result in respiratory problems and asthma. 

Fortunately, various aids can help you quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy, medications, and support groups.

No size fits all when it comes to quitting smoking. You can try various things and apply things that suit you. But you should be prepared physically and mentally.

If you are planning to quit, this article will help you get started.

What Is Smoking Cessation and Why Does It Happen?

Nicotine in tobacco is responsible for addiction. It causes the release of chemicals in the pleasure-producing areas of the brain, and your brain gets adapted to it. If you stop smoking, levels of nicotine reduce and your body starts craving it.

In the absence of nicotine, you may get withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to quit.

Besides, certain behavior can trigger your craving, such as being around smokers or being stressed. One of the key factors for quitting is thus identifying these triggers and trying to avoid them.

With the right support and quitting plan, you can kick this addiction.

Knowing withdrawal symptoms and ways to cope with them also increases the success rates.

Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Frustration, irritability, or anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased appetite
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Cigarette cravings
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Increased coughing
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However, it is essential to remember that these symptoms are temporary and will be settled soon once your body gets used to them. 

What to Do to Minimize It?

You can avoid smoking triggers, but you may crave it sometimes. It is not possible to altogether avoid these triggers.

The good news is that craving does not last long, usually not more than five to ten minutes. If you crave, just remind yourself that this is a phase, and it will pass soon. Also, remember why you quit in the first place.

During difficult times, the following strategies may help:

  • Distract yourself with activities you love like cooking or gardening
  • Get out of a stressful or tempting situation
  • Reward yourself for small victories

How to Deal with Other Side Effects Of Quitting

Various things can help you manage the withdrawal symptoms:

Nicotine Cravings

  • Take deep breaths
  • Chew apple, carrots, or a hard candy
  • Avoid tempting situations
  • Remember this craving will pass

Mood Changes

  • Exercise
  • Try meditation and other relaxations strategies
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Remember these feelings are temporary

Anxiety

  • Exercise
  • Try meditation and different relaxations strategies
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Remember it is temporary
  • Consult a doctor

Depression

  • Exercise
  • Do things you love
  • Seek support from family and friends
  • Consult a doctor if this feeling lasts for more than a month

Increase in appetite

  • Exercise
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Consult a nutritionist

You can read how these techniques help by opening the following link to our previous article How to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms Arising When Quitting Smoking?.

How to Stay Committed to Quitting Smoking?

Quitting smoking is not a one-time thing but a journey. It will improve your health and the quality of your life.

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To be successful, you need to alter your behavior and find ways to cope with mood changes.

With the right strategy, you will be able to kick the smoking habit.

Quit Day Plan

When you plan to quit, select a date for that. This date should not be too far as you may change your mood. But you should also have enough time to prepare.

You can decide to quit gradually or abruptly. Regardless of the date, here are a few things that will help you to stop on the date you pick:

  • Tell your loved ones about your quit day plan
  • Discard ashtrays and all cigarettes
  • Decide if you will be using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or go cold turkey
  • Make someone accountable for your plan
  • Keep oral substitutes ready, such as carrot sticks, hard candy, toothpicks, coffee stirrers, or straws
  • Inform your smoking buddies and request them not to smoke around you
  • Try and break the association between regular daily activities and smoking, such as having a cigarette with tea or passing stools after smoking

Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is curated to provide small doses of nicotine to your body so that you may not get intense withdrawal symptoms.

It is seen that NRT improves the success of quitting smoking. Some approved NRT sources include:

  • Chewing gum
  • Nasal spray
  • Skin patches
  • Lozenges
  • Inhaler

If you decide to take the support of NRT, always consult your physician before doing so.

Besides, consult your healthcare physician if you experience weakness, vomiting, mouth problems, dizziness, nausea, irregular or fast heartbeat while on these products

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Non-nicotine medications

There are two options available: Bupropion and Varenicline. They are non-nicotine medications that aid in reducing withdrawal symptoms and craving.

Talk to a healthcare physician if you would like to try either of the medicines as they are prescription medicines.

Bupropion works by influencing chemicals that are responsible for nicotine craving. It is available as a tablet to be taken for three months. (Read our article How Does Bupropion Help Control Smoking Cessation? for more information) You can further continue for three to six months to prevent the risk of starting to smoke.

On the other hand, Varenicline interferes with the nicotine receptors, decreasing nicotine withdrawal symptoms. You can use the medicine for three months and further continue for three months to prevent the risk of relapse.

Counseling

Your physical and emotional dependence on smoking may make it difficult for you to quit. Here, self-help materials, support services, and counseling can help. They improve the probability of long-term smoking cessation.

Besides, combining medicines or NRTs with counseling or behavioral support increases the chance of cessation by 25%.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies may help many trying to quit.

Some common options include:

  • Smoking deterrents
  • Filters
  • Tobacco sticks or strips
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Hypnosis
  • Magnet therapy
  • Herbs and supplements
  • Acupuncture
  • Cold laser therapy
  • E-cigarettes
  • Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation

Final Thoughts

Smoking cessation requires commitment and planning. Decide and curate a personal strategy and commit to it.

Weigh the pros and cons of all options and decide the best suitable option for you. A combination of two or more methods will increase the chance of quitting the habit.

All the best!

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