5 Tips to Quit Smoking
- Nicotine Replacement: Visit your local drugstore and check out the nicotine replacement options available. These include patches and gum. They're not cheap, but they cost less than a carton of cigarettes, and their results are much more rewarding. Of course, always let your doctor know about your decision to quit smoking and ask about any potential drug interactions with your current medications since nicotine, after all, is a drug.
- Prescription Medication: You've probably seen TV commercials for Chantix, the latest prescription medication for smoking cessation. This is an oral medication that allows you to gradually taper off so the transition isn't as sudden as going "cold turkey." This medication does not contain nicotine, which may prevent adverse reactions in patients sensitive to nicotine.
- E-Cigarettes: The psychological component of smoking is often just as addictive as the nicotine. The popularity of ecigs, those electronic cigarettes that you may have noticed on-stage during plays or advertised on radio, is due to their replacement of smoke with vapor, yet they look and feel like a heavy cigarette. They even light up like a real smoke. These devices use a battery to generate the vapor and can be charged with a USB adapter plugged into a computer. The replacement cartridges screw into the mouthpiece, giving you the option of flavors, along with the nicotine or without. Water vapor is, of course, less hazardous than smoke to the lungs, and there is no unpleasant smell, so you can "vape" in your car or home without the usual side-effects.
- Have a Support System: Since cigarette smoking is an addictive behavior, you might consider removing yourself from the company of other smokers. Tell your support system, whether they're friends, family or co-workers, what you're doing, and remove yourself from your enablers, such as the outside "smoke break" crowd at work.
- Avoid Triggers: Find an activity to replace smoking. Again, this is all about the psychological component. It's not inevitable that you'll gain 10 pounds, especially if you take a walk around the block instead of light up. Munch celery sticks or go take a bath. If your smoking triggers are being stuck in traffic or drinking alcohol, have a crutch nearby, whether it's nicotine gum or taking in a movie.
The bottom line is that with the right motivation and tools, you can and will stop smoking. Smoking is an acquired habit and one of the hardest to break so don't get discouraged if your first attempt or even the tenth is unsuccessful. At some point, you may wonder why you started in the first place with the extra time and energy you'll have!+Caleb Umstead