Quitting smoking is not easy, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Planning strategies for quitting and ways to reducing urges to smoke can help.
Why it is hard to quit smoking? An addictive drug called Nicotine is present in all tobacco products. Smoking tobacco, and other forms of tobacco use, creates an addiction to nicotine. Addictive drugs like nicotine cause changes in the brain that create good feelings when used and unpleasant feelings (withdrawal symptoms) when discontinued. Nicotine addiction is one of the hardest addictions to break.
Getting Ready to Quit Smoking:
- Determine a quit date. Pick a time to quit when you are not under a lot of stress. Create a non-smoking “contract”. Plan a “Quit Day”, after which you will never smoke again! “I’ll try” ; I’ll see how it goes” ; “I’ll see how it feels in a few weeks or months” ; Never Works! It must be a lifetime decision, not subject to change.
- Choose a method for quitting:
- “Cold Turkey” – stopping smoking all at once.
- Reduce the number of cigarettes that you smoke until you stop smoking on your Quit Day.
- Smoke only part of each cigarette by reducing the number of puffs until you stop smoking on your Quit Day.
- Decide with your health care provider if you need medicines to help you quit.
Tips for Quitting Smoking:
- Eat a balanced diet, stay well hydrated and get plenty of sleep.
- Get a little exercise every day. Walking is a great stress reliever when you are trying to quit. Exercise and a healthy diet can help prevent weight gain.
- Select healthy alternatives to reduce urges to smoke such as healthy snacks and enjoyable activities.
- Ask for support from family and friends.
- Don’t give up.
Tools for Quitting Smoking:
- Nicotine Replacement Therapies
- Common drug therapies for nicotine withdrawal = Buproprion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Chantix)
- Counseling for smoking cessation
Visit Houston Cardiovascular Institute Website for more information.