The health problems associated with smoking are very widely known. Unfortunately, smoking is still a very common addiction in the United States. Over 34 million American adults smoke regularly and some people smoke more than a pack a day.
You might feel hopelessly addicted to cigarettes. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to make your smoking cessation plan a reality.
Here are some tips to quit smoking for good. They work even if you are a heavy smoker. Almost 60% of smokers end up quitting, so the odds are good that you can do the same if you follow these tips.
Set A Target Date To Give Up Smoking
You are going to need tremendous willpower to successfully quit smoking. The struggle is going to be a lot harder if you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for the challenges that you are going to face.
Most people can’t commit to giving up cigarettes overnight. You are going to have an easier time quitting smoking if you can plan in advance and get in the right frame of mind.
The National Cancer Institute emphasizes the importance of setting a quit date. Ideally, you should select a date within the next week or two. You should consider the challenges that you need to prepare for when choosing this date. You don’t want to try quitting smoking in the midst of a major event, such as a wedding or the middle of a major presentation at work. You might find the best time to quit smoking is on a Friday before an uneventful weekend, so you can endure your cravings without additional stress.
Consider The Benefits Of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Over Quitting Cold Turkey
Some people have successfully quit smoking with the cold turkey approach. Unfortunately, the cravings can be very intense, especially for people that are used to smoking over a pack a day. One smoker that was interviewed by Harvard Medical School admitted that they relapsed and were smoking over a pack a day again within five months.
You might have an easier time weaning yourself off of cigarettes with alternative sources of nicotine. Research has shown that nicotine lozenges, gum, patches and smokeless tobacco from Black Buffalo can help curb nicotine cravings. People that use these alternative sources of nicotine are 50-60% more likely to quit for good. If you are a heavy smoker, then you might want to look into these options rather than trying to give up smoking overnight.
Be Realistic About Your Triggers
As strong as the physical addiction of nicotine is, the psychological addiction can be even stronger. You are going to be more vulnerable to your cravings when you are struggling with stress, grief, depression or other strong emotional feelings.
You need to be cognizant of the psychological triggers that tempt you to smoke a cigarette. These triggers can include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Being exposed to toxic coworkers, friends or family
- Having fights with your significant other
- Participating in stressful discussions online
- Commuting to work during rush hour
Some triggers can be removed from your life a lot more easily than others. If you aren’t also struggling with alcohol dependence, then you might be able to cut back on drinking until you have overcome your smoking addiction. Some stressful relationships can be cut out of your life, but others might be unavoidable.
If you can’t get rid of a trigger altogether, then you need to find ways to work around it. Depending on the strength of these triggers, this might be the single most important thing that you need to do to successfully give up cigarettes.
Make Sure You Have A Strong Support System In Place
There are going to be times when nicotine cravings will be absolutely unbearable. They will be especially strong if you are trying to come back from smoking over a pack a day.
You can’t expect to quit smoking on your own. You will need a strong support network to overcome your addiction. You should talk to your friends and family about your decision to quit smoking. They should be understanding of the following:
- You might be more irritable than normal. They should try to be reasonably understandable of this.
- They should try to be supportive by not offering you cigarettes.
- They should be aware of your triggers and try to avoid them if possible. If you have told them that you are trying to cut back on drinking alcohol to get over your tobacco cravings, then they should try to avoid offering you a drink.
Of course, you can’t make unrealistic demands. However, people in your support network will probably try to be as supportive as possible. It is your responsibility to educate them about your challenges as you try to quit smoking.