There are a variety of ways to quit smoking. Nicotine gum and patches are available as ‘replacement nicotine’ and provide a small dose of nicotine to the body without the tar and other toxins found in cigarettes. A more natural approach to quitting smoking would be hypnosis, which helps the body relax and increases negative feelings about smoking. Acupuncture is another method designed to help the body relax while triggering the release of endorphins.
The American Cancer Society has a list of ways to help. It can be very, very difficult and may require multiple times – but perseverance will pay off. There is both a mental and physical component to the addiction. Being prepared mentally may be the harder part. There are certain things that people believe such as smoking helps me not gain weight or smoking looks cool. Some people believe they feel better smoking because it can both make them feel relaxed and feel like they are functioning better. Some people fear that if they quit they won’t feel that way again. It can also be a very social activity and a way to take a break from things at work or home and all of these things must be considered when someone is getting ready to quit. From the physical side – nicotine is addicting and because of this there are a number of nicotine replacement therapies – gum, patches, inhaler, perscription medications or others that can help reduce the physical cravings. Hypnosis, acupunture and other methods may work for others.
A family member of mine had success with the prescription Chantix. She liked that it helped with the emotional and moody challenges of quitting.
Although there is a high failure rate for quitting cold turkey, it can be the best way for some people. Possibly the reason that there is such a high failure rate is that people do not make a plan. Factoring in the psychological and physical effects will help. This plan can include telling family and friends ahead of time so that they might encourage you; removing yourself from routine situations that put you near temptation; removing things around you that remind you of smoking (ashtrays, etc); picking out something like gum to keep your mouth busy, creating a new exercise routine to distract and keep you busy. And the best part, it’s free.
One specific counseling option is generating a lot of interest in its potential for helping patients to quit smoking. The technique, called Motivational Interviewing (MI), focuses on a non-judgemental exploration with the patient to identify their readiness and/or ambivalence about behavoir change. Because smoking is often so embedded in the habits of daily life and the indentity of a person who smokes, this method is being studies in contrast to the ‘usual care’ that emphasizes negative consequences and information pamphlets. A recent meta-study showed that the technique has an increased success over the ‘usual care’, with the highest impact coming from an MI interaction between the patient and their primary care physician.
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