Quit Smoking Guide

Struggling to give up cigarettes? This guide should help you put them down forever!
 

Smoking causes around 390,000 premature deaths in the United States every year. Additionally, 16 million people suffer from diseases caused by smoking.

It is estimated that about 41,000 people die every year from diseases as the result of Secondhand Smoke. Second hand smoke contains many dangerous chemicals, and is harmful to anyone who inhales it. 
 

It's never easy for anyone to quit smoking. It's a very strong chemical addiction, as well as a mental addiction. Breaking the habit is hard in more than one way. However, it is the best choice any smoker could make to improve their quality of life.

 

Effects of Smoking

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Short Term
Effects from smoking can be observed as soon as you finish a cigarette. Your fingers will start to turn yellow, your clothes, hair and breath will smell like smoke, and your teeth will begin to stain. You might also get a cough and notice symptoms of allergies, like a fever, itchiness, runny nose, and mucous.

Even if those effects don't scare you, that is only the beginning. Eventually, you will begin to notice your lung capacity is decreasing and physical activity is becoming harder. Also, you will notice increased blood pressure and an irritated throat. 

Long Term
Eventually, all of the noted symptoms will become much worse.

Your hands and teeth will become terribly stained. You may notice tremors in your hand when you're craving a cigarette. The longer you go without a cigarette, the more intense the cravings will become. Simply being near someone who's smoking or smelling smoke can cause strong cravings. Something that was once an enjoyable habit will become a necessity.

You'll note your breathing is becoming more rough. That means your lungs & throat are building up scar tissue. The scar tissue is a huge cancer risk. Lung & throat cancer is very aggressive. 

List of Reasons

To aid in your adventure to a cigarette-free life, every little thing helps. Making a list of reasons to quit smoking can be a great motivation. A very easy and effective technique is to write a list and keep it with you. If you ever feel weak to the cravings, review the reasons you've listed.

How Hard Is It To Quit?

There is about 1-2 milligrams of nicotine in one cigarette. It activates the nicotine receptor in the brain which causes it to release dopamine. That, in turn, increases endorphin levels. 
Dopamine is part of the brain's reward system. It is released while eating or having sex, to let us know those things are pleasurable. The body goes into withdrawal once tobacco intake stops, and nicotine receptors are not being activated.

Withdrawal symptoms commonly include depression, restlessness, irritability, headaches, increased appetite and insomnia . These symptoms will intensify until finally reaching a peak, and then dwindle off. There are different ways to deal with withdrawal like, nicotine replacement therapy or prescription non-nicotine medication.

How To Quit

Electronic Cigarettes

Many people have found success in quitting by using electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes. Vape juice comes in many different strengths of nicotine. This is handy for slowly lowering your nicotine intake. 
Vaping avoids the 7000+ chemicals that cigerettes have. Vapes work by using a coil that heats up to vaporize the e-liquid. A bonus of using a vape over other ways to quit is that it directly mimics the act and sensation of smoking. The daily cost of using a vape is also cheaper than smoking cigarettes. 
Once you have bought your starter kit, the only ongoing cost is replacing the coil and buying new e-liquid. You will notice extra money building up in no time!

 

Cold Turkey

This is probably the most common method of quitting. About 90% of smokers who try to quit attempt to do it without help from medications, vapes or nicotine replacement therapy. Cold turkey is also the least effective method. It is a very difficult method which requires a lot of mental strength, but is also the quickest. Therefore, it is usually the route to go for people to need to urgently quit due to medical problems. 
 

Drugs & Medications

Nicotine replacement therapies (or NRTs) are made to aid people dealing with nicotine addiction a more safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. NRTs come in forms of patches, inhalers, gum, and nasal sprays. Prescription medications can be used to help quit smoking. To increase the chances of your success, a few can even be used alongside NRTs. These medications contain no nicotine, do not form habits, and are found to have a somewhat higher success rate than NRTs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This method is a short therapy that works on specific issues in your life. It may help to quit smoking by changing the thought patterns that make the user feel cigarette cravings and teaching new, constructive ways to deal with stress or anxiety. It has been proven to increase the odds of success, especially when combined with smoking cessation medication. However, proper specialists are hard to come by and can be pricey. 

Avoiding Triggers

Before you quit, try to figure out exactly what your triggers are. Then, you slowly should start trying to change those situations to not be triggers. For example, many smokers love to have a cigarette with a cup of coffee. To start, after having you coffee, wait a few extra minutes before having a cigarette. Every day following, increase the time between coffee and cigarette. After time, your association of cigarette to coffee will be gone. The same goes for smoking after meals, or any other specific time of the day. If you regularly smoke on the way to work, try lighting up when you actually arrive. The following day, wait until you leave the car. Keep on extending the time gap until you don't even smoke before work.
There can be many triggers and there's no way to eliminate all of them. At some point, you will encounter a trigger that you didn't know existed, or will have to deal with one that is not avoidable, like stress. When this happens, just make sure you have a plan to resist the urge.

10 Tips To Quit

 

10. Clean Your House: As soon as you start to quit smoking, clean your home. Wash your clothes, clean the carpet, and steam the furniture. Even the smell of old stale tobacco smoke is enough to trigger your cravings. Getting rid of the smell is a great way to minimize your craving triggers. A clean home also sets a nice environment for you during your withdrawals. 
 

9. Throw Away Your Smoking Items: It's best to throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Keeping them may mean you are not fully comitted to quitting. It can be a tough thing to do, but it will leave less reminders around your house and perhaps reduce the amount of cravings you get. 
 

8. Start An Exercise Routine: Take on a new exercise plan like yoga or running. Strong exercise can cause the brain to release dopamine, which will replace the dopamine smoking used to give you. 
 

7. Start Up a New Hobby: Look into taking up a new hobby like drawing, music or creative writing to distract yourself from smoking. Having a new interest can help keep your mind off cigarettes.
 

6. Find A Healthy Snack: Your appetite increases when you quit smoking. Something like carrots & hummus, or celery is a good snack to keep on you at all times. If you feel a craving start, nibble on your snack slowly. It will help occupy your hands and mouth, and the familiar movement will make it easier to relax and gather yourself.
 

5. Get a Stress Ball: When trying to quit, it’s important to find new ways to relax and calm yourself down without nicotine – as well as keep your hands busy. Buying a stress relief ball, silly putty or another simple toy can go a long way towards developing new healthy habits for dealing with stress.
 

4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake: Nicotine weakens the effects of caffeine, so once you quit, coffee will affect you more. Try cutting back your caffeine consumption.
 

3. Meditate: Meditation can be a great way to deal with some of the rough effects of nicotine withdrawal. Some easy methods can help you understand your mind more, and help you see why you are getting the cravings. 
 

2. Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking water can help speed up the body's detox process. It also helps with coughing. Your body will need to cough more than usual to get rid of the mucus buildup. Water is also a good way to fight the increased appetite you'll likely have. 
 

1. Take Deep Breaths: When you feel a craving hit, take a slow, deep breath in, an let it out. One of the strongest triggers for nicotine cravings is stress, and this will help you manage that.