Your guide to a better future
Try these tips to kick the habit for good.
Every year, we write our lists of things we want to accomplish to become a better version of ourselves in the new year. Popular New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, eating healthy, losing weight and quitting smoking. Research shows that upwards of 70% of smokers say they want to quit, but not everyone is successful. Part of that is not doing the right preparation to quit. Whether you want to know how to quit smoking cold turkey or how to stop smoking with a more gradual method, we’re here to help. With these practical tips, you can start 2023 on the right foot with your goal of quitting cigarettes.
For more health tips, check out this supplement that will help you sleep and five tips to cope with sleep anxiety.
Setting up a plan is a great way to start the process of giving up nicotine. That plan begins with examining your habits and considering what will work best for you.
Once you’ve decided you want to stop smoking, it’s a good practice to come up with a plan you will follow through with. That starts with looking at your smoking habits and figuring out how to change it.
Smoking and general tobacco use can have a very negative effect on your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.” All of these physical concerns can also lead to issues with your mental health with the added stress of a medical condition.
Studies have also proven that smoking at night may be a direct cause of insomnia, and poor sleep health can lead to other health issues like obesity and heart problems. The CDC also points out how harmful secondhand smoke is too. Secondhand smoke causes around 400 infant deaths each year.
Goals can help keep you motivated, but beyond one big goal of “quit smoking,” set smaller goals that you can achieve along the way. Maybe you start with giving up smoking one day at a time. For a month, commit to not smoking on weekends. When you make it through the month, treat yourself and move onto the next goal. This feels more manageable than quitting cold turkey (though that method certainly works for some people).
Nicotine replacement therapy — like a nicotine patch or gum — can help curb cravings for nicotine. These low doses of nicotine have been proven in numerous studies as a positive resource in giving up smoking. If you’re considering nicotine replacement therapy, it’s not a bad idea to speak to your healthcare provider to decide which product may work best for you.
You can also speak to your doctor about a prescription medication to help you quit smoking. Chantix and Zyban are two popular prescription medications for smoking cessation that you can discuss with your doctor. Pfizer shared research on the effectiveness of Chantix, with various studies demonstrating upwards of 40% of participants successfully abstaining from smoking while using the drug.
Surrounding yourself with people to lean on while you’re going through what will certainly be a difficult time can help you not only be successful but also stay motivated. When you’re feeling like you want to give up, these people can help you keep going.
Most people who give up smoking experience withdrawal symptoms. When weaning yourself off tobacco, the CDC says you can expect to feel irritable, restless, hungry, depressed, and sad. You may also have trouble sleeping and see some weight gain. All of these are common, but it’s fine to speak to your doctor about anything that doesn’t feel right to you.
The CDC also recommends exercise as a way to deal with the restless, anxious feelings. Exercise will raise your heart rate and get your endorphins going, which can improve your mood. Plus, it’s a way to channel those negative side effects into something positive.
While it’s great to celebrate reaching your big goal, it’s just as important to celebrate smaller goals along the way. The first day you fully go without smoking, treat yourself. Once you hit a week, treat yourself again. Buy yourself a nice meal out or go get ice cream. Go have a spa day or buy yourself some shoes you’ve been eyeing. When you start, set up a bank of rewards you’ll give yourself so you know exactly what you’re working toward.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.