Nobody wants a list of all the reasons smoking is bad for you, but how about some strategies that might be helpful for quitting it?
Ask for help
Quitting is never fun, and never easy, but it’s even less fun and more difficult when you’re going at it alone. Whether from your partner, family, friends, or healthcare provider, asking for help is often the first step in a successful quitting journey. It’s not that you need a babysitter or somebody to be accountable for you, it just helps to have somebody for their for advice, and as a sounding board for when you’ve got a craving. Your healthcare provider is also in a unique position to guide you medically and therapeutically, and may suggest some external help if he or she thinks it would benefit you. And if you have somebody in your life who is trying to quit as well, teaming up to form a “quitting team” can only better your chances.
Try it cold turkey
Quitting cold turkey presents the cleanest break, so that you’ll feel cravings for a shorter amount of time than using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). However, quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawals and other side effects for those who smoke more than five or so cigarettes per day. If you’re in the ‘five or so or less’ group, cold turkey is probably the strategy to start out with. Those who smoke more than five (or so) cigarettes a day may want to consider NRT.
Nicotine replacement therapy
Between patches, gum, lozenges and more, there are tons of forms of nicotine replacement therapy out there for people trying to quit. Research published in 2009 in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada suggests those who smoke more than 5 cigarettes a day may improve their chances of quitting if they use NRT under the supervision of their healthcare provider, in combination with other cognitive-behavioral therapies. Nicotine isn’t exactly good for you or your baby on its own, but NRT is certainly a much better, healthier way to get your nicotine if there’s no other alternative that could work.
Read a book
There are a number of ‘quit smoking’ books out there that claim to help quitting attempts. Everybody has a different path to a cigarette-free life, and a book might not help everybody quit, but it’s certainly worth a shot.
There are plenty of iOS and Android apps available for those trying to quit as well.
Focus on your baby
Remember to remember your baby. Every cigarette takes its toll on the body and your level of addiction, so try to focus on your baby before every puff. They can’t speak yet, but if they could, they would say “please don’t do that.”
If cold turkey, NRT, and cognitive therapy just aren’t working, many people turn to other, “alternative” methods of quitting. Acupuncture and hypnosis are but two of many alternative methods that people use to quit, and quit successfully. It takes a full personal commitment to quit, so if you can fully commit to one of these methods, it could be the one that works.
Going from “smoker” to “non-smoker” is the war, but each time you light up or don’t is a battle in and of itself. Take it one cigarette at a time: every time you get a craving, but hold off, is one more victory in the fight.
Get back on the horse
And on a similar note, if you do slip up, don’t give up. Get back on the horse. So you got an overwhelming craving and smoked a cigarette – it’s in the past. You’re not starting a new war each time, just continuing the same one, and every war has its wins and losses. Most people slip up when they’re trying to quit, but the successful ones get right back on track.