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Whether you’re a started-when-you-were-a-teen smoker or one of those dedicated pack-a-day smokers, quitting can be very tough. The more you learn about your quitting options and prepare for the road ahead, the easier it can be to quit. With the right plan specially tailored to your needs, you can break the addiction, manage cravings and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good!
Why is quitting so hard?
Smoking is both a physical and psychological habit. The nicotine in cigarettes provides a temporary addictive high for the user. Eliminating that regular nicotine fix will cause the body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Nicotine also has a “feel good” effect on the brain which causes the smoker to become accustomed to smoking as a way of coping with stress, depression, anxiety and even boredom. At the same time, smoking has probably become a daily ritual for many people. It may be an automatic response to have one with your morning coffee, on your commute to work, or while taking a break from work or school. To successfully quit smoking, you’ll need to address both the addiction and the habits and routines that go hand in hand with it.
Your personal stop smoking plan.
We all know those smokeers - you know, the ones who are able to quit cold turkey...the one’s smokers are jealous of? Some people are just able to kick the habit and never look back. However, most people do better with a plan to help keep themselves motivated and on track. A good plan addresses both the short and long term challenges of quitting smoking and preventing relapse. Your quitting smoking plan should be tailored to your specific needs and smoking habits. Try asking yourself these questions to determine which kind of smoker you are and which moments of your life call for a cigarette and why:
- Do you need to smoke after every meal?
- Are you more of a social smoker?
- Is it a very bad addiction (more than a pack a day)?
- Would a simple nicotine patch be enough to get you through the quitting process?
- Do you reach for a cigarette when you’re feeling stressed or down?
- Are there certain activities, places or people you associate with smoking?
- Is your cigarette smoking linked to other addictions such as alcohol or gambling?
- Are you interested in getting into a fitness program?
Stop Smoking with START
S = Set a date to quit
Choose a date within the next two weeks so you have enough time to prepare yourself and build the motivation to quit. If you mainly smoke at work, try quitting on the weekend so you have a few days to adjust to the change.
T = Tell family and friends
Tell family, friends and co-workers that you plan to quit. Let everyone around you know about your quitting efforts, and tell them you’re going to need their help and support to totally kick the habit. Try looking for a quit buddy who wants to stop smoking, as well. That way you can help each other!
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting
Most of the people who begin smoking again do it within the first 3 months. You can help yourself make it through by preparing ahead for the common challenges, like nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car and work
Throw away all of your cigarettes (NO EMERGENCY PACK!), lighters, ashtrays and matches. Wash your clothes and freshen up anything that smells like cigarette smoke. Shampoo the car, clean the drapes, shampoo the carpet and steam the furniture – clean everywhere you smoke.
T = Talk to your doctor about getting any extra help you may need
Your doctor can prescribe medication to help you with withdrawal symptoms and suggest some other alternatives. If you are unable to see a doctor, you can get many products over the counter at your local pharmacy or even the grocery store, such as the nicotine patch, nicotine lozenges and nicotine gum.