It makes perfect sense why you should quit smoking and we’re all the first to nod, agree, and sing Hallelujah when someone brings up the idea.
Of course, actually quitting and losing the desire to smoke is a much harder struggle. Because it’s not merely a physical addiction, which in case you haven’t heard, is hard enough to kick—but it’s a mental addiction.
You spend so many years puffing your anxiety away and you’re not going to just quit cold turkey without going slightly bonkers.
Here’s what you need:
A four-point strategy on how to quit and how to react to the jitters that are sure to come when you throw away your last pack of cigarettes.
1. Address the body’s physical needs
You cannot just quit smoking cold turkey without your body bitching about it.
Quitting on your own willpower, while physically possible, is going to be a miserable experience for you. You want to feel as comfortable as possible and not keep stacking obstacle after obstacle on yourself. The reason most smokers fail is because they have no plan on how to address the body’s dependency on nicotine. The first step is understanding the chemical dependency.
Nicotine is not the same thing as tobacco. Nicotine is an alkaloid, which is the active principle of the tobacco plant. Prepared tobacco in cigarettes has the most harmful irritants, whereas nicotine has only minimal health risks. One of the first things a doctor will tell you when you explain your resolve to kick the habit is to try nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. This may seem like a good idea, until you realize the desire to smoke is still strong inside you, regardless of nicotine.
2. Use an E-Cigarette or Personal Vaporizer
This new age invention simulates the taste, feeling and presence of smoking—so much, that many smokers have successfully stopped smoking and taken up vaporizers as a better lifestyle alternative.
Before you assume that candy cigarettes do the same thing, remember that personal vaporizers are nicotine-based products without the carcinogens and toxins of cigarettes. That means it will feel like you’re really smoking and will address the chemical dependency.
You then have a choice.
You can either continue smoking e-cigarettes, using them as permanent replacement for tobacco products, or you can gradually wean yourself off of nicotine altogether, by reducing the amount of nicotine in the vaporizer week by week. You get total control over this product rather than letting the tobacco urge control you.
3. Create a system of recording
So often in life we coast. We don’t think about what we’re doing nor do we see the value in keeping a system of measuring and recording.
However, when you are trying to change your behavior, it is vital to create a system of recording and measuring. This will help you to see clearly your patterns of behavior, how much you smoke, how often you have a relapse, and how much the habit costs you. Once you switch over to e-cigars or personal vaporizers you may even want to keep track of cost. You will see a dramatic drop in expenses.
You may even notice patterns of behavior that lead to relapses or the temptation to relapse.
For example, certain social situations can draw you into the smoking lifestyle. Do you avoid the moments that cause anxiety and the urge to smoke for a calm and centered feeling? Find these “triggers” and learn to avoid them completely. Keeping a journal of your mission to stop smoking will be an excellent motivational tool.
4. Bring your friends and family onboard
It’s easy to relapse when no one cares, no one knows the fight you’re enduring.
By announcing to family and friends that you’re switching to e-cigarettes and stopping the smoking habit, you will get a support system that can help you through the hurdles.
Your friends will stop smoking around you. Your family members may even check up on you, offering help in case you feel strong withdrawal symptoms. Lastly, your dedication to quit may inspire another friend to join you, and a team effort may be just what you need to make this permanent life change.
You can quit smoking and choose a higher quality of lifestyle whenever you want, so as long as you strategize and prepare yourself for the smoke-free journey ahead.