Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. It most famously affects the lungs, but goes well beyond that to damage the heart, circulatory system, and virtually all functions in the body. But smokers can drop their risk of major health problems by quitting. And, as the years go by after having quit, those risks plummet further.
So, the question is: How to quit? Some researchers say that the best way is actually just to quit all of a sudden. Rather than planning ahead, spontaneity leads to the greatest chance for success. Planning is long-term and staying motivated is harder. But quitting spontaneously means a person can use some kind of event of tension that sparked it to stay motivated. Motivation is the key, in the end.
Here are some other top ways to try as well:
1. Prepare: Toss out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home, car, and workplace. Set a day you will quit. Don’t allow smoking in your house. Don’t allow yourself a relapse. Tell family and friends that you’re quitting and ask them not to smoke near you.
2. Adjust Behavior: At first, busy yourself with tasks to take your mind off smoking. Also, alter your daily routine. Eat or drink different things, go different places… anything to remove things that will remind you of smoking. Drink lots of water and juice. Reduce stress any way possible (e.g. reading, baths, yoga) so that smoking isn’t a temptation.
3. Seek advice: Contact local branches of the Lung Association for material on how to quit smoking. Their experts will lend you advice and direction. Also, area hospitals and health centers may have programs you can join to help ease the transition.
4. Prescription options: Bupropion is an antidepressant used by people to stop smoking. A nicotine patch is available over the counter as well. Two other options come in the form of a nicotine inhaler and a nicotine nasal spray. Talk to your doctor about what option is best for you.
5. Hypnotherapy: Studies have found that people under hypnosis abstain from smoking more often than others trying to quit. Try hypnotherapy from a therapist or practice self-hypnosis. Both involve power of suggestion while being in a sort of trance. It’s designed to change your behaviors.
6. Lobelia: This is the only known herbal remedy to help in dropping the habit. The flowering herb contains “lobeline,” which is used to prevent that smoking urge. It affects the nervous system in a way similar to nicotine, which in a way fulfills the cravings.
7. The patch: Of all smokeless tobacco products, this patch is far and away the safest and most effective smoking cessation tool. Again, talk to your doctor to see if you’re a good candidate for the patch.
8. Visualization: This therapy aims to change your mind’s behavior, central to smoking. It’s been proven that if smokers envision themselves quitting, they have a better chance of doing it for real. First visit a practitioner to learn guided imagery and breathing exercises.