Almost every smoker and other tobacco users know the importance of quitting, but going about the process of smoking cessation is not always that simple. Some end up stopping, only to pick up the habit again.
Developing a proper smoking cessation plan can help you quit the habit for good. It helps you create expectations, identify the support you need, brace up for cravings, practice coping mechanisms and remain motivated.
To start, identify the reasons for quitting; setting this foundation will help you stay focused on your smoking cessation plan. Possible reasons for quitting include:
- Reducing the risk of future ailments
- Improving your wellbeing
- Saving money
- Limiting your loved ones to secondhand smoke
Ensuring successful smoking cessation
While many smokers think stopping the process gradually is the better choice, recent studies have shown that quitting abruptly — choosing a quit date and following through — can ensure successful permanent cessation. You can select a date that has a special significance to you, perhaps a birthday or holiday.
According to research, a combination of behavioral counseling and medical treatment boosts the chances of successful smoking cessation. These aids include:
Join a support program
Group, individual or telephone counseling can give you the required support and help you with coping skills. Your physician can refer you to support groups or local resources that can help.
Find online tools and apps
You can get online tools to create and enforce a quit plan. Some of these are available from the National Cancer Institute (http://www.smokefree.gov/build-your-quit-plan) and the Truth Initiative (http://www.becomeanex.org). You will have access to chat services, mobile apps and text messaging that offer support and coping techniques. These and other mobile phone-based tools can help ensure smoking cessation success.
Identify your smoking habits and triggers
Create a list of the regular triggers for smoking and your usual daily smoking routine. Do you smoke when under stress or pressure? When do you smoke? Knowing the patterns can help you decide the most suitable time for support or distraction.
Tell your friends, family and work colleagues about your quit day. They can offer moral support. You could probably tell them to check in, assist you with planning activities that will distract you from smoking and make you tolerable to mood changes. If you have smoking friends, tell them not to smoke when you are around.
Eliminate your smoking supplies — lighters, matches, ashtrays and cigarettes — from your office, car, home and other places. Clean any clothing item, curtains and upholstered furniture with lingering smells of tobacco.
Keep handy items that can replace the familiar feel of cigarettes in your mouth: Hard candy, straws, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gums or carrot sticks are all effective options. You can get items to keep your hands occupied, such as a squeeze ball. Place these substitutes at places where you usually put your ashtray or cigarettes.
Talk to the doctor about medications
These treatments are designed to reduce cravings and include nicotine replacement skin patches, gum, inhalers, nasal sprays or lozenges. Other non-nicotine treatments help minimize nicotine withdrawal symptoms by imitating the behavior of nicotine in the body.
With the combination of the resources mentioned — support groups, counseling, nicotine replacement, medications and your doctor’s recommendations — your smoking cessation process should be seamless.
If you would like to learn more about smoking cessation and the various treatments we provide, call 262-200-8000 to schedule a consultation.
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