The decision to stop smoking must be warranted by the intrinsic need to remain healthy and to cleanse one’s body and mind from tobacco addiction.
It must not be forced out of peer or parental pressure. Understanding the consequences and ill-effects of smoking, will help smokers to stop smoking in a timely manner, besides providing courage to face nicotine withdrawal symptoms better.
In view of the large number of preventable deaths caused by usage of tobacco based products such as cigarettes, the decision to quit smoking must not be postponed.
However, to maintain consistency and to obtain lasting results, a preparatory phase must be planned for.
The preparatory phase to quit smoking today
Occasional smokers may find it easy to give up smoking, but when it comes to regular and heavy smokers, the journey is certainly not a cakewalk.
One needs to be prepared in various perspectives in order to claim an effective victory over the addiction.
The preparatory phase includes the following steps:
- Plan and time your cessation schedule in an effective manner. It is recommended to schedule quitting, when nothing exceedingly stressful is bound to be executed, like a tough and crucial job assignment, which is likely to increase anxiety levels. It makes sense to quit smoking when you are in a pleasant mood.
- Get your family involved in the process. Make them understand that the decision to quit smoking is of paramount importance to you. Negotiate with other smokers in the family to join in as well, since, having smokers around is not going to help in any way.
- Plan for taking sufficient time from regular schedule for various mental and physical activities that are to be performed on a daily basis.
- Education is a very important tool that will assist in quitting smoking at the earliest. General awareness on the adverse effects of smoking on health and wealth, and on the various techniques and therapies to work oneself out of nicotine addiction will expedite the stop-smoking process. Making a list of things to do when cravings occur is a prudent step. This list must be kept handy.
- Compile different comparative lists on pros and cons of smoking, myths and realities associated with nicotine addiction. List down challenges to be encountered and ways to overcome them. This list is to be read out, improvised and updated daily.
- Finally set a quit date, after going through all the above considerations. And the preparatory phase must be begin at least a week in advance.
Understand and avoid smoking triggers
Confidence and steadfastness are very important to stop smoking. Since the daily intake of nicotine intake is restricted, nicotine cravings are common when one stops smoking.
Smoking triggers can be resisted using tips that are listed below. Heavy smokers are sure to experience sharp withdrawal symptoms.
- Company of smokers: Hanging out or partying with a band of smokers around, fuels the need to start smoking again. It is better to avoid such situations and stay away from smoking crowd.
- As a sequel to the above step, spend more time with non-smokers and visit places where smoking is not allowed. Participate in stop-tobacco programs and become a role model for quitters in your vicinity.
- Placing no-smoking signs outside your house will remind both visitors and family members not to smoke and not to aggravate your subsiding nicotine addiction.
- Stop buying cigarettes and other tobacco based products, either for own use or for others’ use. If cartons of cigarettes bought previously are available, do not hesitate to dump them away along with all smoking paraphernalia like lighters, matches, ash-trays and cigarette holders.
- Each person may associate different things with smoking. Avoid things and activities associated with smoking. If you are used to smoking while returning home from the bus-stop, change the route or the routine.
Bring healthy changes in diet
Dietary changes will help directly in smoking cessation, by combating the ill-effects of nicotine addiction as well as in building a fitting response to triggers.
When one stops smoking, nicotine withdrawal may increase hunger and appetite, as food tastes better. Consuming healthy snacks will help in fighting nicotine cravings effectively.
The following dietary changes will help in weight management:
- Include vitamins, proteins and fibre by making vegetables and fresh fruits mandatory. Avoid fatty and carbohydrate rich food.
- Exclude sugary juices and carbonated beverages, that may lead to increase in calorie intake.
- Avoid coffee, tea and soda. In general reducing caffeine intake will stop people from feeling jittery and also help in decreasing caffeine toxicity, that will possibly add to the repercussions of nicotine addiction.
- Diet must include different variants that can be substituted in place of smoking a cigarette, especially when the urge to smoke is intense. Healthy snacks like freshly cut fruits, celery sticks, carrots, grape fruit extracts, sunflower seeds and salads must be included in diet. Importantly, for those who are on commute, these snacks must be instantly available. It is better to carry small quantities of these items in zip-lock packets.
- Chewable items to keep the mouth busy must be instantly available and must be stocked in all suitable places like work desks, cubicles, cars, handbags etc. These items include sugar free chewing gums, candy, nuts, sunflower seeds, to mention a few.
Never give in for “Just one more”
The most challenging moment for smokers, is the urge to reach out for one more cigarette, or take one more puff.
This usually happens when the smoker finds himself in the company of smokers and there is mild peer pressure, wherein the justification is, “One more puff is not going to hurt”.
The reality is that even one more puff can become dangerous and spoil all the goodness of milestones achieved so far.
In many cases, people who have successfully stopped smoking for more than a year have fallen prey to this small temptation.
Follow-up even after achieving 100 percent success
Taking help of professional websites for quitting smoking, one needs to be on alert even after quitting smoking.
Nicotine cravings are dangerous and may lead to a relapse. Psychologists recommend follow-up sessions, even after obtaining full results, so that smokers are reminded not to yield to temptation again.