If you’re like many smokers and other tobacco users, you recognize the need to quit but are unsure how to do so. Alternatively, you may have attempted to smoking cessation.
Developing a quit-smoking strategy can significantly increase your chances of successfully quitting smoking. A plan enables you to set goals, secure the necessary support, anticipate cravings, identify and practice coping skills, and maintain motivation.
What is Smoking Cessation?
Smoking cessation has been shown to accelerate the progression of atherosclerotic disease and identify as a significant risk factor for peripheral artery disease. It is associated with a lower success rate for vascular surgical interventions, a higher amputation rate, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Smoking is also associated with a lower survival rate for heart attack and stroke victims.
It demonstrates that quitting smoking slows the progression of the atherosclerotic process. All smokers are advice to stop according to current guidelines. If you are unable to quit smoking, you may be referred to a specialist by your physician. A specialist may suggest educational materials, counseling for behavior modification, medication, and follow-up care. Cessation interventions may also include support groups or individual counseling, the acquisition of new coping skills, a prescribed number of sessions with a specialist, and/or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
Explain why you’re doing smoking cessation.
You alone are responsible for determining when you are ready to stop smoking. As a result, you must be crystal clear about why you are quitting and what will motivate you to do so.
Make a list of your motivations for quitting — this list will serve as the foundation for your quit-smoking strategy. The following are possible reasons for leaving:
- Enhancement of health
- Efforts to mitigate future disease risk
- Avoiding secondhand smoke exposure to family or friend
Choose a day to quit.
Commit to quit smoking on a specific day within the next month. If your quit date is too distant in the future, you may have difficulty following through, but you must allow yourself time to prepare. You could choose a random date, a less stressful day, or a day that has special significance for you, such as a birthday or holiday. Make a note of the date in your calendar.
While many smokers believe they would prefer to quit gradually, recent research indicates that abrupt quitting — setting a quit date and sticking to it — results in long-term success.
Prepare for the day you will quit.
Combining medical treatment and behavioral counseling has been shown to increase the likelihood of successfully quitting.
These interventions require time and forethought. Additionally, you will need time to consider and prepare additional support, tools, and strategies. Among your preparations are the following:
Consult your physician regarding medications.
Nicotine replacement skin patches, lozenges, gum, inhalers, or nasal sprays all work to alleviate cravings. These treatments begin on the day you decide to quit. Other non-nicotine medications can help relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms by simulating the way nicotine works in the body. These medications, such as varenicline (Chantix), should be started one to two weeks before your quit date.
Locate a support group.
Counseling, whether individual, group or telephone, can provide needed support and assist you in developing coping skills. Your physician may refer you to available resources or support groups in your area.
Create a list of your smoking triggers and behaviors.
Make a list of your typical smoking triggers or daily smoking habits. When you’re stressed, do you smoke? Are you a constant smoker following a meal? Do you smoke during your lunch hour? Identifying patterns can assist you in determining when you will most likely require assistance or a distraction.
Notify family, friends, and coworkers of your intention to quit. Assemble them as allies. They may be able to provide moral support. You can ask them to check in with you, assist you in planning activities to divert your attention away from smoking and be patient with your mood swings. Solicit from friends who smoke that they refrain from smoking in your presence or offer you a cigarette.
Maintain a tidy residence.
Remove all smoking supplies from your home, car, office, and other locations, including cigarettes, lighters, matches, and ashtrays. Coats and other clothing items that may have lingering tobacco odors should wash.
Prepare a supply of substitutes.
Keep items on hand that uses in place of the cigarette you’re used to, such as sugarless gum, hard candy, straws, cinnamon sticks, or carrot sticks. Additionally, you can find items for occupying your hands, such as a squeeze ball. Maintain these substitutes in the exact location as you would usually keep your cigarettes or ashtray.
Make an appointment for a dental cleaning.
Cleaning your teeth to remove nicotine stains is a good idea. The new start on your teeth may serve as a deterrent to smoking.
If you’ve attempted to quit smoking previously but relapsed, consider the obstacles you encountered and why you retreated. What was effective and what was ineffective? Consider what you might be able to do differently this time.
Making it through your quit day can be emotionally and physically taxing, especially if you experience intense tobacco cravings. Consider the following tips to assist you in managing your quit day:
- Avoid smoking, even “just one.”
- If you’ve chosen nicotine replacement therapy, adhere to it.
- If you continue to experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms despite medication use, speak with your doctor about modifying your medication regimen to control these symptoms better.
- Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to quit smoking.
- Consume copious amounts of water or juice.
- Maintain physical activity.
- Avoid situations and people that make you crave a cigarette.
- Attend a support group, counseling session, or class to help you quit smoking.
- Utilize stress-reduction and relaxation techniques.
- Maintain your hands occupied with your cigarette substitutes or a hobby such as writing or knitting.
- When necessary, divert your attention with a book or crossword puzzle.
With a quit-smoking plan to guide you, you’ll have resources at your disposal when it’s time to quit. The more resources you have — support groups, nicotine replacement therapy, medications, coaching, and medical advice — the more likely you will quit smoking successfully.