Tips to Quit Smoking
Smoking is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit that is difficult to stop. On this page you will find tips on how to quit smoking.
To listen to Dr. Gautham go to the “How to stop smoking” audio page
Many smokers become accustomed to smoking as a way of coping with stress, depression, anxiety, or even boredom. At the same time, the act of smoking is ingrained as a daily ritual with morning coffee, while taking a break from work or school, or during the commute home at the end of a long day.
Quitting smoking requires a plan. A good plan addresses both the short–term challenge of quitting smoking and the long–term challenge of preventing reumptoioon of smoking. the plan should also be tailored to the person’s specific needs and smoking habits. Here is one way to create a plan:
Choose a date within the next 2 weeks, so you have enough time to prepare to stop smoking without losing your motivation to do so. If you mainly smoke at work, stop smoking on the weekend. This will give you a few days to adjust to the change.
Prepare ahead for common challenges that occur when you stop smoking, such as cigarette cravings and the physical and mental symptoms as your body withdraws from nicotine. The mental symptoms include irritability, frustration, or anger, anxiety or nervousness, difficulty in concentrating, restlessness, increased appetite, and depression. The physical symptoms include insomnia, tremors, increased coughing, fatigue, constipation or upset stomach, inceased appetitie, headaches and decreased heart rate.
While thesw symptoms are unpleasant, they are only temporary. They will get better as the toxins are flushed from your body. Nicotine withdrawal begins quickly, usually starting within thirty minutes to an hour of the last cigarette and peaking about 2 to 3 days later. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks and differ from person to person. In the meantime, let your friends and family know that you won’t be your usual self and ask them to help you and bear with you.
Once you have prepared yourself to stop smoking throw away all of your cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and matches. Wash your clothes and freshen up anything that smells like smoke.
Whenever you feel the urge to smoke suck on a lozenge, or chew something such as peppermints, hard candy, carrot or bread sticks, gum, and sunflower or pumpking seeds. You can sip aerated soft drinks or tea. You can also use nicotine lozenges, or chew nicotine gum if it is available. when you feel like lighting a cigarette, light an incense stick (oodhuvathi)and meditate in its perfume. When you feel like picking up a cigarette squeeze a rubber ball till the feeling passes.
Exercising, meditating, relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises, taking hot baths, taking naps when you feel tired, reducing workload, avoiding stressful situations, drinking plenty of fluids can help you tide over the difficult withdrawal phase. It is best to avoid coffee. Avoid alcohol if you are used to smoking while or after drinking.
Maintain a craving journal. Spend some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally make you smoke. Find alternate ways to handle stressful situations without smoking, note them down in your journal, and use them. Reinforce your victories. Whenever you triumph over a craving, give yourself a reward to keep yourself motivated.
Today there are effective treatments for nicotine dependence available. Many medications, including nicotine replacement therapy and non-nicotine medications, have been approved as safe and effective in treating tobacco dependence. Any of these medications, or a combination of medicines, combined with behavioral changes, can help you quit smoking.