Go easy on yourself: whatever bad reasons led you to smoke in the first place, there are countless good reasons to quit, and many ways to go about it. Quitting smoking not only significantly reduces the likelihood of adverse health effects caused by smoking combustible tobacco products, but can also profoundly benefit your overall wellbeing, confidence, and your financial health.
Because every smoker is a unique individual, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to quitting smoking, and that’s actually a good thing, because where one method might fail, another may be the perfect fit for you and your lifestyle. We’ve compiled several tips that can help you create the best scenario for quitting smoothly, and successfully.
Establish Your Reason for Quitting
There are many great reasons to quit smoking, but what are yours? Reducing your chances of developing serious conditions such as heart disease and lung cancer are paramount for all smokers, but your personal motivations may be far broader and may feel more tangibly achievable in the short term.
You may wish to improve your performance in sports and physical activities; or to feel and look younger; save money; reduce stress or protect loved ones from secondhand smoke. Whatever the reason, identifying what motivates you can dramatically improve your chances of success.
Build a Support Network
We don’t need to tell you that quitting smoking is challenging, but you needn’t suffer alone. In fact, being open about your quit attempt with family and close friends helps establish a support network that can prove invaluable during low moments, and validating when you achieve certain milestones. Having cheerleaders applaud your achievements and distract you with pleasant company and activities when you need them the most can make all the difference.
Identify Your Triggers
For some smokers, it’s their morning coffee that triggers the need for their first cigarette of the day. For others, it can be a drink at their local bar or hangout that compels them to spark up. It could be finishing lunch or an evening meal that prompts an automatic urge to smoke. Over time, the act of smoking cigarettes becomes entwined with all sorts of activities and locations, so that it can become difficult to disconnect them from the act of smoking. It’s important to recognize your own triggers and avoid them during your early days going smoke-free or substituting them for healthier or equally rewarding alternatives.
Create a Smoke-Free Environment
It’s time to clean house. Smoking is a habit that creeps into far more facets of our environment than we might be aware of, from our home to our car, and even our workplace. When you put out your last cigarette, go through your pockets and drawers and dispose of your lighters and ashtrays, rolling papers, filter tips, or any other detritus you’ve accumulated that may remind you of smoking. Cleaning your clothes, curtains, carpets and upholstery removes the lingering tobacco smell that can too easily trigger cravings. Likewise, if you smoke in your car. Once you experience a life without the stink, stains, and debris of smoking, you won’t want to go back.
Consider Vaping as a safer Alternative to Tobacco
Vaping’s popularity as a significantly less harmful alternative to tobacco products has exploded over the last decade, with millions of smokers successfully transitioning away from cigarettes to devices that relieve nicotine cravings without burning harmful chemicals. Indeed, with vaping, there’s none of the grot and grime of a tobacco habit; just endless varieties of flavors across fruits, desserts, candy and beverages, and devices to fit just about every lifestyle and preference.
When you first discover vaping, the choices available can appear overwhelming, but take your time to establish the kind of flavors and vape kits you enjoy using, and you’ll find that quitting cigarettes can actually be a whole lot more fun than you imagined. To be sure, vaping does nothing to remedy your addiction to nicotine, but you can gently reduce your vape’s nicotine content over time until you have completely weaned yourself off.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Before there was vaping, there were a variety of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) that remain popular and effective tools in wide use today. These may include nicotine patches, nicotine gums or lozenges, nasal or oral sprays, or prescription medicine. All can help alleviate cravings that would otherwise have been relieved with cigarettes, which can dramatically improve your chances of keeping them at bay. Talk to your doctor or healthcare service to find a method that will best suit you.
Unlike vaping, NRT, or a traditional ‘cold turkey’ approach, Behavioral Therapies address the psychological and habitual components of your addiction to cigarettes, rather than the physical factors. These may include meditation or mindfulness practice, talk therapy with trained counsellors, or even iterations of some of the steps we’ve already discussed, such as cleaning your environment, recognizing triggers, and setting goals. When adopted in conjunction with other treatments like vaping or NRT, these can provide a powerful tool in your arsenal to combat cigarette addiction.
Reward Yourself as You Go
Finally, let’s remember that a major reason why quitting smoking can feel so daunting is the feeling that you have deprived yourself of something you had previously come to believe was a ‘reward.’ So don’t wait for arbitrary milestones such as days logged, or tasks accomplished to treat yourself. Rewarding yourself at any stage along your quit smoking journey as much as possible is distracting in all the best ways, and can even open up new, healthier pleasure centers, hobbies and activities that can eclipse any perceived pleasure you once thought you derived from smoking.
Above all, be kind to yourself as you begin the process of quitting your cigarette addiction. And be proud of yourself too: if you can square up to – and defeat – this most stubborn of habits, what else are you capable of?