You must have heard or seen your friend or family member who began to smoke because they thought it was cool, or maybe they were just curious.
However, for most people, smoking can become addictive, for it is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. Whether one is an occasional smoker or a pack-a-day smoker, there are high chances that quitting smoking can be challenging. However, there are multiple ways to begin this journey,
If you or your loved one is trying to deal with addiction, know that you are not alone. You can connect with mental health professionals at Cadabam's Hospitals whenever you want. Our helpline number 9741476476 is available to you 24x7 for the treatment options around you.
Why do people smoke?
Before we understand how to quit smoking cigarettes, it becomes essential to focus on the reasons behind this behavior. They can be broadly divided into three categories :
- Addiction: The primary addictive substance in cigarettes is nicotine. This drug reaches one’s brain within 10 seconds of entering the body. Nicotine results in the release of adrenaline which creates a buzz of energy and pleasure. The problem arises when the body can build a nicotine tolerance, so one needs to smoke more to achieve the same buzz, developing into an addiction.
- Patterns: Often, smoking can become a part of one’s routine or pattern. For example - an individual started to take a cigarette every time he/she went out for lunch or while taking a break to relax. Since it becomes part of the individual’s routine, it becomes a habit or pattern, which may be challenging to break from.
- Emotions: Sometimes, people may indulge in smoking because it has become a coping mechanism to deal with challenging emotions like stress, sadness, anger, or any negative moods. They often pop a cigarette in their mouth to relax and forget about their feelings.
Why do you need to stop smoking?
A cigarette a day is enough to cause many health-related problems, resulting in both financial and emotional burdens on your family. These include :
- Smoking results in the thickening of blood vessels and organs. It could result in high blood pressure and stroke; vision problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration (AMD). Most importantly, it affects the lungs resulting in diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One of the major diseases that regular smokers have a high chance of diagnosis is lung and oral cancer.
- Apart from daily life, smoking can be dangerous for women who smoke during pregnancy. It could result in issues like blood pressure, and miscarriage, or even lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- The biggest problem with smoking is that passive smoking can be dangerous for others. Children exposed to passive smoking have a higher risk of ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Mothers who take in smoke while pregnant are more likely to have preterm labor and babies with low birth weight.
Start your quitting journey today: Tips to quit smoking
It is never too late to begin to think of quitting smoking. Here are a few ways that help you understand how to stop smoking naturally :
Find a strong reason.
Sometimes, people can only quit smoking by identifying a strong enough reason to break the habit. Note down these reasons and keep them where you can easily see it. This could range from understanding the health risks, protecting your family from passive smoking, or even improving your physical well-being. Find a motivation to quit smoking that is more powerful than picking up that cigarette.
Understand what triggers you :
Most people may find it challenging to quit smoking, especially when specific places or emotions trigger them.
Urges for cigarettes are likely to be strongest in the situations where/when you smoked more often. This could be at parties or bars or while feeling stressed. Identify your trigger situations and plan distractions like doodling or using a stress ball, or removing yourself from the situation to prevent smoking.
You could also toss away your lighters, and ashtrays and clean your house, clothes, or car from the smell of the smoke. You need to avoid any visual or olfactory cues to smoking.
Prepare for quitting
Quitting an addiction may not be easy since it involves more steps than just throwing out your cigarettes. Often smokers may face withdrawal symptoms, and hence it is necessary to be prepared. Ask your mental health professional for all the methods that can help you fight withdrawal and additional support measures like mobile apps, counseling, classes, etc.
Nicotine replacement therapy:
In the initial stages of quitting, one may also take advantage of short-acting nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, or inhalers. This can help you overcome intense cravings and are generally safe to use.
Take a pause
Sometimes you may feel that you cannot handle the craving, then simply count till 10. Distract yourself and think about all the efforts you have made and the health effects of smoking. Sometimes taking a short walk or even just going down the stairs can give your brain enough time to overcome the craving and not give in to the urge to smoke.
Distract or relax
One of the best ways to not think of smoking is to distract oneself. You could try to munch on something like - gum, hard candy, nuts, or sunflower seeds. The motion of moving your mouth and eating something satisfying could do wonders. You could also try relaxation techniques such as - deep-breathing exercises, yoga, massage, or listening to music. Such strategies go a long way in fighting your withdrawal symptoms.
To set an example:
Often the biggest reason to quit smoking is for one’s children. If you are going to be a parent or already are to teenagers, then one of the biggest reasons to leave could be to set an example. Pregnant ladies mustn’t smoke or inhale passive smoke. Similarly, children pick up habits from their parents, leading to high chances of teen smoking. Sometimes for children or other family members, smokers may find it easier to quit.
To stay motivated you could also tell your family, friends, and colleagues about your decision to quit. They could support you in your journey to quit smoking and prevent you from lighting up a cigarette. Counseling and support groups can also benefit this long but enriching journey.
Sometimes people try multiple times before quitting for good. If you smoke a cigarette after deciding on leaving, do not get discouraged. Instead, you need to identify the reason or emotions behind your relapse. This is an opportunity to step up your commitment, so set a “quit date” and try again!
The way ahead :
Often, we make promises to ourselves or our loved ones to quit smoking. It may not be easy, but small steps to beat the craving can go a long way in a happy and healthier life. As soon as you quit, you will be able to see the positive effects on your physical health like blood pressure, heart rate, etc. So, just get moving and start on this beautiful and rewarding journey.