Quit Smoking for the New Yearby Shawna Snyder, L.Ac., Dipl. OM on 02/11/16
Know Why You Want to Quit
So you want to quit smoking, but do you know why? “Because it’s bad for you” isn’t good enough. To get motivated, you need a powerful, personal reason to quit. Maybe the thought of lung cancer and emphysema frighten you. Did you know that cigarettes have 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds. Perhaps the increasing cost of cigarettes is making you broke. A pack-a-day smoker spends, on average, $250/month.
The good news is that quitting smoking at any time can greatly benefit you health. It can benefit your body even within a few minutes as your blood pressure normalizes and long-term benefits include a reduced risk for emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
Conventional stop smoking aids such as nicotine replacement therapy include the nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, sprays and inhalers. Non-Nicotine smoking aids such as Zyban and Chantix are available. They help by decreasing the urge for smoking and also the pleasure one gets from smoking is reduced.
Alternative options that have been found to help keep you motivated and significantly reduce nicotine cravings are hypnotherapy, meditation and acupuncture. Always talk to your doctor first if you choose to quit smoking so that you can both come up with a treatment strategy that is most appropriate for you.
Power to You!
Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you’re trying to quit. Their encouragement could make the difference. You may also want to join a support group or talk to a counselor. Avoid being in places that you used to smoke, and those activities that are psychologically linked to smoking.
One reason people smoke is that the nicotine helps them relax by managing your moods and feelings. Once you quit, you’ll need another way to cope with stress. Other options are to get regular massages, listen to relaxing music, or learn yoga. If possible, avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after you stop smoking-use this time to pamper yourself.
Physical activity can help reduce nicotine cravings and ease some withdrawal symptoms such as reducing your stress and help you relax. The extra calories you burn will also ward off weight gain as you quit smoking.
In addition to the tremendous health benefits, one of the perks of giving up cigarettes is all the money you will save. Reward yourself by spending part of it on something fun.
Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette, toss all of your ashtrays and lighters. Wash any clothes that smell like smoke and clean your carpets, draperies, and upholstery. Use air fresheners and open the windows to help rid your home of that familiar scent. You don’t want to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.
Food for Life
Certain activities and foods may boost your urge to smoke or aggravate the nicotine withdrawal symptoms so, avoid these triggers such as alcohol, coffee, junk food and sugar. Drink plenty of water-it’s known that dryness causes cravings. Alternatively, sip green tea throughout day during the detox period to keep the tissues flooded with elements that discourage nicotine cravings. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can help decrease cravings.
Try and Try Again
Many smokers try several times before giving up cigarettes for good. Examine the emotions and circumstances that lead to your relapse. Use it as an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to quitting. As a way to remain nicotine-free, once you‘ve successfully quit, choose a maintenance program help you stay on track and resist any urges to light up.