Smoking is among the most harmful habits we can have from almost every point of view. In fact, the CDC reports that smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths annually in the United States. Such deaths are not only from lung cancer but also cardiovascular disease and other problems triggered or made worse by smoking for many years.
So, if you are trying to quit smoking, you need to give it serious thought to find your motivation and have a clear goal. The good news is that there are hundreds of methods to quit, and in this post, we will share some of the best tips to achieve your goal of stopping smoking. Remember that it is also a good idea to talk about this topic with your healthcare provider.
What causes people to smoke?
There are many reasons why people smoke. These reasons include stress, anxiety, peer pressure, and habit. It is essential to know what causes you to smoke because that way, you will be able to predict your own impulses and will be ready to act upon them. So, consider these causes in yourself and try to find alternative solutions that do not involve smoking:
- Stress and anxiety: Stress can cause people to smoke because cigarette smoke releases endorphins in the brain and allows for relaxation. Alternative ways to relieve stress are exercise, going out with friends, doing something you like, or drinking a soothing tea.
- Peer Pressure and habit: Peer pressure can cause people to smoke, especially young men and women who want to fit in. After a while, it can simply be a habit. For example, it becomes a habit to smoke during your breaks at work. You can always find alternative things to do and share with your friends.
Practical tips to quit smoking
- Make a plan: Quitting is a long-term goal, so you must have a concrete plan. Identify when you would like to quit smoking. For example, it could be next week, next month, or even next year. Next, set some short-term goals to help you prepare for the long-term goal. For example, you may want to start by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.
- Keep yourself busy: When you are smoking, you are often sitting on the couch watching TV or reading a book. If you are quitting, make an effort not to pick up these habits that make you crave a cigarette. Instead, try to stay busy with other activities. For example, you could volunteer or join a gym.
- Reduce your stress levels: Stress is another major trigger for smoking, so taking the necessary steps to reduce or cope with stress is important. For example, you could cope with stress by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and meditating.
- Get social support: Ask your friends and family to help you quit by offering support and advice. Additionally, you may want to join a support group with others who are going through the same thing.
- Get medical support: It is also essential to find a doctor to help you counter the withdrawal symptoms you will feel after quitting smoking. These doctors can give you medication to reduce your heart rate, improve your body’s response to the craving for nicotine, and reduce the sensation of anxiety that comes when you’re trying to quit.
- Try nicotine replacement therapy: NRT is a doctor-prescribed medication designed to decrease the cravings you may experience when you try to quit. You should talk to your doctor about different NRT options, including nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal sprays.
- Avoid triggers: If you know that a particular activity or situation will cause you to smoke, remove it from your life or change it for an alternative activity. For example, if you smoke every time you go out with friends, plan to do an activity like watching a movie instead.