How to Quit Smoking for Good
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is responsible for over 8 million deaths worldwide annually.
Direct consumption, for instance, by smoking, chewing, or sniffing tobacco is responsible for 7 million of these deaths. The other 1.2 million deaths are caused by secondhand inhalation from smokers.
Most smokers pick up the habit as teenagers by copying their parents or their friends who smoke. It soon becomes a habit because of the positive effects of nicotine, like alleviating stress and increasing one’s alertness. However, the reality is, the many adverse effects of cigarette smoking far outweigh any benefits.
The Negative Side of Cigarette Smoking
- Cigarette smoking has a negative effect on the health of the smoker. Research has shown that there are over 70 carcinogens in cigarettes that could lead to cancers of the lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas, bladder, and stomach, among others.
- The tar produced during smoking causes plaque to form on the walls of your blood vessels, making them narrower. This hinders blood flow, leading to high blood pressure and a faster heart rate.
- Smoking also affects your brain as the narrowed blood vessels increase your chances of getting a stroke.
- There is also a significant effect on your mental health. As mentioned, nicotine helps reduce stress, but only in the short term. If the underlying causes of the stress aren’t treated, it could develop into full-on depression.
- Just the same, smoking cigarettes alleviates anxiety momentarily after you light one up. This is, however, countered during withdrawal. The period during which one is craving for a smoke is characterized by a lot of anxiety.
- In the year 2018-2019, the global tobacco industry was valued at approximately $663 billion and is projected to get to $1,012 billion by 2026. These numbers show you the cost of smoking cigarettes to smokers since their purchasing habits strengthen the industry.
How to Quit Smoking
As you can see, smoking is harmful to your body, your mind, and your pockets, and you should stop the habit as soon as today. In practice, however, it is not as simple. This is not to say that it’s impossible.
Here are some tips that will help you get and stay off cigarettes:
- a) Find your Motivation for Quitting
Why do you want to quit? Before you quit, you need an answer to this question. Your motivation for quitting will keep you clean, especially when the cravings hit. You could quit in a bid to protect those around you from secondhand smoke, to reduce your chances of getting cancer, or to simply save some money. The motivation you choose should be stronger than your urge to smoke.
- b) Seek Support from Family Members, Colleagues, and Friends
Inform the people around you of your intention to get clean. They will be a source of support and will cheer you on as you make strides in your getting-clean journey. When you become tempted to smoke, they will be there to remind you why you quit in the first place.
- c) Identify and Avoid your Smoking Triggers
Smoking is as much a psychological habit as it is a physical addiction. Habits have triggers and are performed in loops. By observing your mental and emotional space before and after you smoke, you can identify what triggers the habit, which equips you to disrupt the loop. For instance, you could observe that your craving is triggered after you have your first cup of coffee in the morning. Instead of coffee, you could replace your breakfast beverage with tea and precede it with 10 minutes of meditation.
- d) Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Stop Smoking Medications
Only 6% of those who quit cold turkey stay clean, which is why NRTs have become popular in recent times. They are designed to wean your body off the cigarettes and come in different forms, such as nicotine patches, lozenges, and chewing gum. Nasal sprays and inhalers are also available on prescription. Stop smoking medication can also be used to quit smoking for good. These are designed to reduce cravings and the withdrawal symptoms when you quit and are available on prescription.
Smoking cigarettes is not good for you, and even though it is difficult, it is not impossible to quit. Finding your anchoring reason for quitting, getting support from your family members and friends, using smoking cessation medication and nicotine therapy, and identifying and avoiding your smoking triggers will help you quit for good.