Smoking prevalence has always been an urgent public health concern. However, among 788,008 US adult smokers, only 63% attempted to quit cigarettes in 2020. According to the JAMA Network study, a lot of individuals resorted to smoking as a stress-related coping method. With the anxieties and burdens of everyday life, it can truly be difficult to shed the use of tobacco products and start your cessation journey. Fortunately, despite strong smoking urges, there are ways that you can stand up against your cigarette cravings.
In this article, we’ve provided five simple ways that can help you quit smoking:
1. Identify your triggers
People smoke for varying reasons. Some do so to avoid feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and stress. Cigarette smoking can also be considered as a normative social practice. Some workplaces have normalized smoke breaks in between working hours to meet and mingle with co-workers. Similarly, certain bars and restaurants have been seen to provide ashtrays and advertise their spaces as “smoking-friendly”. As such, it isn’t atypical to reach for a cigarette when you’re in a social setting like eating dinner out with friends or colleagues. While it’s difficult to avoid every social gathering you’re invited to, you should take note of these triggers. This way, you can be transparent about your quitting attempt so people can be more mindful about smoking around you.
2. Maintain your physical health
Aside from it being a healthy way to manage weight, as mentioned in our post ‘6 Easy Ways To Lose Weight That Actually Work’, exercise is also widely suggested as an intervention for smoking cessation. This is because maintaining great physical health through exercise can reduce cravings in smokers since exercise releases hormones that increase satisfaction. A 2022 analysis on Frontiers stated that yoga, in particular, can reduce stress that comes with smoking cessation attempts. Usually, a standard yoga session lasts an hour. But if you’re a beginner, you can search for short YouTube videos that you can follow during your spare time. Incorporating exercises like yoga in your daily routine is a small step you can take to boost your cessation efforts.
3. Use nicotine alternatives
The referenced JAMA Network study showed that 25% of US smokers view nicotine alternatives as effective cessation treatments. Nicotine alternatives such as nicotine gum and nicotine pouches are reliable in that they help ease the process for smokers who want to quit. The Nicotine pouches featured on Prilla showcase how these products are tobacco-free and come in different flavors and strengths. You can choose among the 2 mg, 4 mg, and 8 mg variants depending on your cigarette intake and slowly lower your dose as cravings begin to lessen. Similarly, nicotine gum such as Habitrol’s offering can provide you with the nicotine kick you need to control withdrawal symptoms. To gradually reduce gum usage, you can start by chewing it for 30 minutes, and then cut the process down by five minutes. After all, nicotine alternatives are suitable if you want to regulate cravings and make progress towards your cessation goals.
4. Surround yourself with a strong support system
Surrounding yourself with a strong support system ensures that you have people to lean on when the going gets tough. Cessation attempts are fraught with feelings of discomfort and stress as you experience withdrawal symptoms. Talking about your struggles with loved ones can help remind you that you’re not alone. Inversely, avoid people that continue to encourage your smoking lifestyle. An NCBI report showed that e-cigarettes from informal sources like friends or family have played a huge part in failed cessation plans. Nowadays, many justify that vaping is a great substitute for tobacco cigarettes. However, as Philip Morris e-cigarettes demonstrate, these products can cause lung injury and are as damaging to your health as traditional cigarettes. It’s best to stay away from loved ones that spur on your cigarette dependency and keep your circle limited to those who want the best for you.
5. Ask for professional help
Asking for professional help isn’t something you should be ashamed of, especially if you’ve attempted to quit smoking a handful of times. Diminished motivation and decreased self-efficacy about quitting can undermine your cessation efforts. Thankfully, a therapist can direct you to appropriate interventions such as behavioral therapy. With behavioral treatment, therapists can provide you with practical strategies to cope with triggers and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Often, these strategies include an assessment of current motivation to quit, lessons on how to use medications correctly, and tips on how to manage your mood. It’s evident that with professional guidance, you’re given more resources to succeed with your cessation attempt.