Tobacco smoking cessation, or quitting smoking, is one of the most important things a person can do for their health. Smoking is a leading cause of death and disease in the United States, but quitting smoking can be difficult. However, there are many ways for a person to successfully quit smoking.
The following tips on how to quit smoking can help you through this transition:
1. Make A List
A great way to motivate yourself at the beginning of your journey, as well as stay motivated when things get tough, is by making a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. These could be things like saving money, reducing your health risks, getting your nicotine cravings under control, or reducing how much secondhand smoke your loved ones inhale.
Whatever your reasons, writing them down and keeping them handy can help you remember why you’re doing this when you get the urge to smoke.
2. Set A Quit Date
Quitting smoking cigarettes cold turkey can be tough, so it’s often helpful to set a date that you will officially quit smoking. This gives you time to mentally and emotionally prepare for the change, as well as start reducing how many cigarettes you smoke per day. This way, when you do quit smoking, you’ll already be used to smoking fewer cigarettes.
3. Avoid Temptation
As your quit date nears, work on getting rid of any leftover cigarettes or tobacco products, as well as ashtrays, lighters, and other smoking paraphernalia. It can also be helpful to avoid places where you normally smoke, such as bars or restaurants. If you have friends who smoke, let them know about your plans to quit so they can support you.
4. Identify Your Triggers
If you want to stop smoking for good, you'll need to know your smoking triggers. Nicotine addiction can be powerful, and you might feel the urge to smoke if you're stressed out, around other smokers, out at a bar, or even just drinking your morning coffee.
Identifying your triggers is the first step to avoiding them. Once you know what sets off your urge to smoke, you can develop a plan to avoid those triggers or deal with them in a healthy way.
5. Consider Nicotine Replacement Therapy
One of the best ways to stop smoking cigarettes, or stop using other tobacco products, is with nicotine replacement. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) provides your body with nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. This can help you avoid common nicotine withdrawal symptoms like irritability, trouble focusing, and anxiety.
However, know that switching to e-cigarettes or vapes is not the answer. According to the American Lung Association, e-cigarettes still produce a number of dangerous chemicals, many of which can cause lung disease, heart disease, COPD, and lung cancer.
There are many different types of FDA-approved NRT available, including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, lozenges, and nasal sprays. Talk to your Prima CARE doctor about which NRT product is right for you.
6. Find Something New
For some people, choosing a healthy alternative that will keep their mouth busy can make all the difference. Adding something like hard candy or sugar-free gum to your quit plan, for instance, can give you something else to turn to when you get the urge to smoke.
7. Drink Lots Of Water
When you quit smoking, it's important to drink lots of water. By staying hydrated, you'll give your body the tools it needs to flush the nicotine and other toxins out of your system. Moreover, drinking water can also help reduce certain withdrawal symptoms like headaches and constipation.
Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day, and avoid sugary drinks or alcohol, which can actually increase your cravings for cigarettes.
8. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is another great way to reduce withdrawal symptoms and help your body recover from nicotine addiction. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and alleviate stress. Also, because smoking acts as an appetite suppressant, exercising as you quit can help you avoid potential weight gain.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, even if it's just a brisk walk around your neighborhood or some yoga at home.
9. Take Time To Relax
As mentioned earlier, stress is a common smoking trigger, and unfortunately, quitting smoking can be pretty stressful. To help offset this, make sure to take some time each day to relax and relieve stress. That might mean reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk, or listening to calming music. Regardless of how you go about it, take time to care for your mental health during this process.
10. Get Support
At Prima CARE, one of our core focuses is chronic disease prevention. Since tobacco smoke is known to cause many chronic conditions, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Moreover, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a critical entity in public health, delivering guidelines for preventive care based on rigorous examination of scientific evidence. Its recommendations have significant health benefits, aiding healthcare providers and patients in making informed decisions about preventive measures to combat diseases, including smoking. The task force’s work underscores the importance of preventive healthcare in improving overall health outcomes and quality of life.
If you're having trouble quitting, schedule an appointment with us. Our doctors can provide you with the resources, support, and prescription medications you need to quit smoking for good!
Ready to stop smoking? The experts at Prima CARE are ready to help! Schedule an appointment online today and get started on your journey to better health.