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How can I stop smoking?

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Wanting to stop is already one step in the right direction. If you’ve been smoking for a long time, it can be tough to change this habit. The urge is strong to break the smoking streak, especially in the first few days or weeks since quitting. 

There are different ways to stop smoking, and it is recommended to practice two or three methods that best fit your needs to stop smoking. If you’re ready to quit, let’s explore how you can get started.

Getting help from stop smoking clinics

See a doctor that can refer you to your local health specialist that provides stop-smoking services. These stop-smoking clinics offer top-quality and evidence-based care to help you stop smoking. Your treatment plan will usually include a combination of prescribed aids alongside behavioral support and skills needed to quit. These include prescriptions to reduce nicotine cravings, self-help activities to help you make better choices, and behavioral therapy to curb the cravings. 

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in various forms, either in a patch, pouch, strip, gum, etc. NRT gives you a low level of nicotine but minus the tar, carbon monoxide and other chemicals usually found in tobacco smoke. It is designed to help you overcome urges to smoke. NRT is available on a prescription from your local pharmacy or GP or even at the stop-smoking service clinic. 

Nicotine pouches are an effective way to quit smoking. You can also find nicotine replacement therapy in the form of gum, patches, sprays, lozenges, and inhalators. All of these methods release nicotine into the body at different rates. Some are slow, while some therapies react more quickly for many people. It’s best to combine two different NRT approaches. This means a pouch to provide slower releases of nicotine and nicotine gum when you get cravings. 

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When you start on NRTs, it will usually take 8 to 12 weeks before you can begin to reduce the dose or stop gradually. The best way to know what to take and how long to take NRTs is to speak to a pharmacist, your GP or the stop-smoking services. This way, you can get the best combination right for you. 

E-cigarettes

These cigarettes are also a form of nicotine replacement therapy. The vapor usually contains nicotine mixed with other flavors. Some research has shown that e-cigarettes are the least effective at helping people stop smoking compared to other NRT products. It could be used as the first few ways to quit smoking. 

Medication to quit smoking

Another alternative to help you stop smoking is to take medication such as Bupropion (Zyban) or Varenicline (Champix). Both these medications can help reduce your nicotine cravings and double up your chances of quitting. These medications can be obtained on a prescription from your local pharmacy or GP. They come in a tablet form, to be taken orally. In stop-smoking clinics, you may be prescribed bupropion on a low dosage. Your doctor will gradually increase the dose until a certain point in your therapy and progressively reduce the dosage as your nicotine cravings continue to decrease.

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Making a plan to quit

Part of quitting smoking requires a change in your daily habits. In clinics and group therapy, you’d be asked to create your very own plan to quit smoking. This includes making a promise, setting a date and sticking to it. People have found different reasons to quit smoking, so it’s good to focus on why you want to quit smoking. Any reason is a good reason to quit a bad habit. It will help you recall the reason whenever you feel the urge to smoke. 

Plan your escape route

What do you want to do to stop yourself from getting a stick? Maybe you find it exceptionally hard to stop yourself from smoking when you’re out with friends or having a drink in the bar. If you find yourself in situations where you find it hard to say no to smoking, plan an escape route. Maybe chewing on gum helps until the cravings pass. You might also want to inform your friends and family that you quit and you’d like their support in ensuring you stick to your promise. 

Changing your diet

When do you usually smoke? Do you typically take a cigarette after meals? If you find yourself often smoking after dinner or after eating certain foods, then it’s time to change some habits in your diet. A study conducted in the US found that eating certain types of food makes smoking cigarettes more satisfying. Meat products make cigarettes taste better, whereas certain types of cheese, fruits and vegetables make them taste terrible. Swapping out your usual burger and ribs with a salad or vegetable casserole can help reduce the cravings for smoking. 

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Changing your routine during meal times

You may also want to rethink your habits after mealtimes. If you find yourself reaching for a stick of cigarette after a meal, make a routine change by doing something else to distract you. Get up and do the dishes, or clear the table as soon as the meal is over. Drink a glass of water, move to another room or even munch on a celery stick- anything to get you to stop smoking. 

Take note of when you crave smoking

Some people develop a habit of smoking as soon as they wake up, before bedtime, or after meals. What you first think is just one stick a day evolves into several sticks a day. A craving usually lasts about 5 minutes so if you develop a craving, think of 5 things you can do to distract yourself. Identifying when you have a craving can help you develop coping strategies or distract yourself. 

Surround yourself with support

Did you know that it’s four times more likely to quit smoking when you have a good support system? It’s always good to surround yourself with like-minded people who have the same goal to quit smoking so you can keep each other accountable. Let your family and friends know that you want to stop smoking so that they can help you along the path to recovery. If you’re often surrounded by people who smoke, reduce the time you spend with them.

About Chef Lilian

Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at chef@foodwellsaid.com

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