Quitting smoking is by many accounts the hardest thing that a person can do. However, those who successfully quit often state that it is the most rewarding thing they have ever done. I don’t need to go into boring stats that you’ve heard a thousand times—you already know that smoking is bad for you. So what’s something about tobacco that you didn’t know? How about that it’s a poisonous plant. Fact: in order for the tobacco plant to protect itself from bugs it secretes nicotine to ward them off. You wouldn’t smoke poison oak would you? Ok. Maybe that’s not exactly a fair comparison, but you get what I’m trying to say.
I’m willing to bet real money that most smokers wish they weren’t smokers. If you’re trying to quit smoking, understand that it will be one of the most difficult things you will ever do in your life; but remember, nothing that is extremely rewarding is ever easy. If you’re serious about quitting, follow these tips and you will be well on your way to a smoke-free life.
1. The easiest way to quit is not to do it cold turkey, but to trim down on the sheer amount of cigarettes you smoke. If you’re smoking ten cigarettes a day, try cutting down to seven, then five, then three, and so on. If you simply drop smoking altogether then your odds of relapse are exponentially higher than if you wean yourself off them slowly. Here’s some tips on how to successfully do this.
A) Carry fewer cigarettes on your person. If you don’t have a cigarette, you can’t smoke. Easy. Just don’t cheat yourself with a trip to the gas station.
B) Buy fewer cigarettes. Instead of buying 4 packs a week, cut that number in half, and remember the road to freedom is a slow one.
C) Be mentally tough. If you have rationed out 5 cigarettes for yourself one day, be strong and resist that 6th. The human brain has a way of justifying certain things to you simply because your body wants it. Kind of like when my girlfriend wants me to take her out…
2. Find something else to do when you have a craving. Your brain is smart. But that doesn’t mean you can’t manipulate it: if you distract yourself with physical activity or some other stimulation that takes your mind off of smoking, then you’re cigarette craving will fade.
3. Create a smoke-free zone, and have helpful reminders surrounding you wherever you go.
A) When you’re trying to quit smoking, simply smelling cigarette smoke will give you a craving. Know that sooner or later you will be exposed to cigarette smoke—that’s unpreventable. What you can do is control what you have control over and avoid places known to harbor smokers until you no longer have cravings. Establish that you are quitting and stay away from the temptations of relapse—not unlike a sour relationship. Stay away. Just do it.
4. Take a look at e-cigarettes. I know—they aren’t as cool as the traditional smoke. But then again, life is not about being cool—it’s about having life. If you honestly feel that smoking cigarettes makes you unhappy then give e-cigarettes a try for a while. They provide the nicotine buzz (which is the reason you are addicted) but do so with none of the dangerous tar. It’s not cool, but it is effective.
5. Open your eyes to the full degree of how bad cigarettes are for your long-term health. This one’s easy because by this time next year your cigarette packs will look like this.
Finally, remember that you can do it. Know that your mind is strong and even though it has a way of manipulating you to get what it wants—your will is stronger than your dependency; take it from a former president:
“I have often wished that every individual afflicted with this artificial passion could force it upon himself to try but for three months the experiment which I made, sure that it would turn every acre of tobacco land into a wheat field, and add five years to the average of human life.”
–John Adams, 6th President of the United States.