While the move to quit smoking is most welcome, stopping it cold turkey, that is, going in for an abrupt cessation in a single stroke, can prove effective only if proper safeguards and precautions are undertaken.
Usually quitting smoking cold turkey is preferred over other methods because of the following reasons:
- Stopping to smoke gradually means more exposure to withdrawal symptoms which may be difficult to cope with.
- It is better to do away with cigarettes, the moment you choose to do so. Stopping gradually will give room for dilemmas.
- The reason why people fear the cold turkey way is because it is clouded with myths that abrupt cessation is impossible and dangerous. Once these myths are debunked, smokers find it easy and faster to quit smoking cold turkey.
Following are some easy yet effective steps to quit smoking cold turkey, that will pave way for smokers to call it quits, without the fear of relapse or any other physical and mental consequences.
For a person who is fully conversant with this preventable cause of death and for one who does not want to go through a trying phase of gradual withdrawal, quitting to smoke all at once, works the best.
Mental preparedness to quit without any NRT aid
The most important pre-requisite to go in to stop smoking cold turkey is that the person needs to be one who is highly motivated and committed in his desire to abstain from cigarettes.
The desire has to be self-generated and people who decide to quit smoking under pressure or to please someone else will find it difficult to resort to abrupt cessation. In short, the smoker must:
- Understand and accept that he will go ahead and give up smoking altogether without the aid of various facilitating Nicotine Replacement Products like gums, lozenges or patches.
- Set a timing to close in on the ultimate decision. It is advisable to choose a date where the person is relatively free from stress and pre-occupations.
- Be mentally alert and prepared to face repercussions and most importantly, to stay firm on the decision.
- Work towards a relaxed frame of mind that is strong enough to make a daring move to pull the plug on a strong habitual indulgence of many years.
- Preparing a game plan, well in advance. Noting down details with pen and paper, on how your mind and body respond to the tough decision, will help. It is better to avoid places like parties or social outings that will feed the triggers to smoke.
Managing the temptation to take one more puff
The popular thought process that “one more will not hurt”, does not hold good when it comes to the cold turkey method. Reaching out for just one more pack of cigarettes will only give life to temptation and will amount to reintroduction.
This reintroduction has all chances of snow balling into a full-fledged relapse, which will become doubly tedious to reckon with. To ward-off temptation can be done by:
- Try to divert your mind to do something productive whenever you find idle time, since doing nothing will lead your mind wander back to craving.
- Avoiding company of smokers is recommended. Hanging out with smokaholics will build peer pressure to smoke.
- Resolve never to buy cigarettes again, even if it is for somebody else. As a facilitating step, avoid places that sell cigarettes.
- Manage your cravings by anticipating them and killing them at onset. One good thing about cravings is that they last only a while.
The above steps may become difficult when meetings and parties in offices become unavoidable and it is quite possible that there may be smokers. One can try his best to minimize such company, as and when possible and develop the ability to utter a respectable “NO” to cigarettes.
Become aware of increased intensity of nicotine withdrawal
It must be accepted that cold turkey quitters will be subjected to withdrawal symptoms in a degree that is more intense than with Nicotine Replacement Products.
One has to be prepared both on physical and mental fronts, to tackle the following:
- Obesity, to mention a few.
Awareness of these symptoms as well as the fact that they gradually subside are the best ways to gain self-control over them.
Draw a list of benefits of quitting and keep it for ready reference
In addition to mental motivation and fortitude, smokers must practice small and practical steps to complement the aforesaid. Jotting down the varied benefits of a smoke-free life, such as:
- Good breath
- Freedom from risk of lung cancer and mouth cancer
- Improved stamina and energy
- Improved cardiac health
- Enhanced sense of taste
Adding more points to the above, the list must be copied in multiple formats and must be available as and when needed, to keep oneself motivated.
Manage relapses sensibly
Relapses must not be allowed. However, it is ambitious to aspire that there will be no such instances. This applies to any method of smoking cessation. When a relapse has occurred, it is advisable to:
- Get over the lapse and not brood over it
- Refrain from allowing it to discourage the good progress made so far
- Analyze how, why and when the relapse has occurred and to avoid such situations in future.
- Become aware of subtle emotional cues that triggered the relapse and remaining on-guard in future.
Involve family and friends
Getting family and friends on board the smoking cessation journey will provide all the emotional and moral support needed to make a life-changing move that is set to repair strained relationships, open doors for new bonding.
Spending quality time with well-wishers, relatives and mentors will clear the desk for cold turkey.
Apart from the above, a number of online tools and apps are available to keep track of progress of smoking cessation and to make the most of calming techniques from leading hypnotherapists.