How Am I Going To Quit Smoking? (Part 1)

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You reach for a cigarette and place it in your mouth...right before you light it you start to think about your family, friends and all the health complications associated with smoking...you remove the cigarette from your mouth and make a major decision...you are going to quit smoking. After you throw away your cigarettes you ask yourself...how am I going to quit smoking? Well that is the big question. Quitting smoking is not an easy process. However the good news is there are many strategies one can use to break the habit. What are the strategies for quitting smoking? Some of the best strategies include:

Committing to quitting - Successful quitting is a matter of commitment. Committing yourself 100 percent to breaking the habit is one of the most important things you can do to stop smoking.

Mentally preparing yourself to quit - Cigarettes contain nicotine, which has been shown to be both physically and emotionally addictive. Therefore, quitting is difficult. However, if you can acknowledge that fact before you quit you won't be surprised when challenges arise...making it easier to overcome any obstacle placed in your way.

Writing down the benefits of quitting - Compile a list of some of the benefits of quitting smoking such as: getting healthier, saving money and sparing loved ones from second-hand smoke. During your quitting process periodically read this list to yourself. This process will help reinforce your decision and keep you focused.

Identifying and avoiding smoking triggers - What makes you crave a cigarette...coffee, alcohol, talking on the phone? Whatever the answer may be...that is your smoking trigger. Anything that can tempt you, or cause you to crave a cigarette can be considered a trigger. Once you identify your smoking triggers it is best to avoid them until you are confident you can engage in those activities without smoking a cigarette.

Practicing relaxation techniques - Smoking a cigarette may have been your way to relax, and now that you have stopped smoking you are left with a relaxation void. Practicing yoga and receiving massage therapy can help fill that relaxation void while relieving some of the stress attributed to quitting smoking.

Joining a support group - A smoking cessation support group can help individuals address their emotional responses to quitting smoking with individuals facing similar challenges.

Behavioral therapy - Cigarette addiction is related to habits. Behavioral therapy can help break those habits by teaching individuals how to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors associated with smoking.

Smoking cigarettes can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mental health problems, cognitive dysfunction, organ damage, erectile dysfunction, gum disease, insomnia, cataracts, premature aging, infertility and death. Therefore, quitting smoking is a good idea to preserve and improve your overall health. Once you make the decision to stop smoking it is just a matter of commitment, dedication and selecting the right quitting strategies for you...and you can kick your smoking habit for good.

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    Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture

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