Despite the obvious health risks, millions of people still smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. If you’re one of them, you might be looking for a way to quit. Perhaps you’ve tried in the past, but you always find yourself picking up another cigarette. Quitting is an admirable goal, so don’t give up just yet. Here are 5 strategies you can use to help give up your cigarette addiction and start living a healthier lifestyle.
Write Down Your Own Personal Reasons
To start, you should write down the specific reasons you want to quit. Everyone has their own reasons, and it’s important that you define these before you attempt to quit. Just saying “I don’t want to smoke anymore” won’t do you much good. Instead, come up with a list of items such as “I want to be able to run further”, “I don’t have to have stained teeth anymore”, or “I want a healthier way to reduce stress”.
Come up with every single reason you can think of to stop smoking. Once you have your list, keep it in a place where you can see it all the time. That way, when the urge comes on to you pick up another cigarette, you can read your list instead, and hopefully fight off the urge.
Try the Abrupt Method
One strategy that has worked for a lot of people is simply an abrupt end. You pick a date, and that date becomes the last day you can smoke cigarettes. You allow yourself to smoke up until that date, but once that day is finished, you quit entirely. There’s no cutting back of any kind – one day you can smoke, and the next you can’t.
Some people find this method too much, and they relapse back into smoking after a short period of time. This method isn’t the easiest – you’ll certainly have some symptoms of withdrawal and some intense cravings – but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
Cut Back Instead
If simply cutting out all cigarettes one day doesn’t sound like it will work for you – or it hasn’t in the past – consider cutting back and scaling down to zero instead. Let’s say you currently smoke 5 cigarettes a day. Rather than going right to zero, you could cut back to 4 cigarettes a day and do that for a week. After that, you cut down to three, then two, and so on. You could also scale back on certain days, for instance cutting back to 4 cigarettes during the week and staying at 5 on the weekends.
The key to this method is not going easy on yourself. Remember that the point of this exercise is to quit entirely. If you may your scaling back schedule too lenient, you’re less likely to make any real progress. Make your schedule something challenging, but also something manageable. Then, as you’re going through the schedule, make sure you stick to it and don’t give yourself too much leeway.
Transition to Alternatives
One strategy that has worked for some is to transition to alternatives. If you’re unable to cut out smoking altogether, you can at least try to smoke something less harmful than cigarettes, or get your nicotine fix some other way. For example, many people have taken up vaping, as it is seen as a less harmful habit than smoking cigarettes. If you’d like to learn more about vaping, there are plenty of resources online such as Vapor Authority.
You could also use nicotine patches or nicotine gum. Many people have found that getting a nicotine fix elsewhere helps them to break their smoking habit, and both of these are healthier choices than smoking cigarettes. Simply apply the patch or pop in a piece of gum whenever you’re feeling the craving, and the craving should subside.
Talk to Your Doctor
Finally, if none of the strategies above work, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you to come up with new ideas and formulate a strategy that is right for you. They may recommend a strategy that combines some of the ideas mentioned above – such as scaling back and trying alternatives – or they may recommend something else entirely, such as hypnosis. Your doctor is your best ally in this fight against cigarettes, so be sure to set an appointment with them when you’re ready to quit.
Hopefully this guide was able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to quitting cigarettes. It’s a tough challenge, but if you can find a strategy that works for you, then the benefits are numerous. Good luck!