Tips and Tricks for Smoking Cessation
I have never met anyone who has smoked for several years who declares that they enjoy smoking or that they could quit anytime they wanted. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Studies have shown that nicotine addiction is as hard to break as heroin or cocaine addiction. This article will focus on tips and techniques to help smokers kick the habit. After reading this article and if you are a smoker, you will have suggestions to help get the nicotine monkey off your back.
There are two phases to successful smoking cessation:
- Phase one is getting help and assistance.
- Phase two is staying smoke-free and not relapsing as so many quitters have done in the past.
The most successful quitters are those who get help and plenty of it. Sadly, eighty percent of smokers who quit do so without being in any program. Many studies have shown that 95% of these self-reliant quitters fail, and go right back to smoking a short time later.
Thatís the bad news. The good news is that most smokers can successfully kick the habit if they recognize that they canít do it alone. Your past failures are not a lesson that you are unable to quit. Instead, they are part of the normal journey toward becoming a nonsmoker.
Successful quitters buy a "How to Quit Smoking Book", or they may download a motivational podcast from the Internet, and listen to the podcast at home or in their car. Next, there are help groups in most communities including the DFW metroplex. The American Cancer Society, or the American Lung or Heart Associations have inexpensive and effective, smoking cessation programs. The National Cancer Institute's Smoking Quitline, 1-877-44U-Quit, offers counseling by trained personnel.
Other top of the line, physician-endorsed methods include nicotine replacement and Zyban. The nicotine patch or gum are now available at any pharmacy without a doctorís prescription. The anti-depressant Zyban and nicotine inhaler do require a doctorís prescription.
Recently the FDA approved a new medication, Chantix, which was designed to inhibit a part of the brain that is responsible for the addiction to nicotine. As a result the medication reduces a smoker's nicotine addiction, as well as decreasing the craving for cigarettes and diminishes the withdrawal symptoms for those who decide to go cold turkey.
Chantix is given twice a day for 12 weeks and then an additional course of 12 weeks of medication is recommended to increase the likelihood of long-term abstinence and to reduce the urge to smoke.
Those who have successfully kicked the habit will report that overwhelming surprise attacks of a desire for cigarettes are sure to come a few weeks or months into your new smoke free life. You can anticipate irresistible urges that may take you by surprise and try to encourage you to have "just one". Even months after you have been smoke-free, the experts say that you can count on these cravings occurring.
When these nearly out-of-control urges come, one of the best ways to make them pass is to take a few deep breaths. Every time you want a cigarette, do the following:
Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out gradually.
As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out.
This is a variation of an ancient yoga technique from India, and is very centering and relaxing. If you practice this, you'll be able to use it for any stressful situation you find yourself in. And it will be your greatest weapon during the strong cravings sure to assault you over the first few days when you stop smoking.
Another important technique you can use to avoid relapsing is self-talk. Several times a day, quietly repeat to yourself the affirmation, "I am a nonsmoker." Many quitters see themselves as smokers who are just not smoking for the moment. They have a self-image as smokers who still want a cigarette. Silently repeating the affirmation "I am a nonsmoker" will help you change your view of yourself, and, even if it may seem silly to you, this is actually useful and very effective.
Self-talk is a reminder to yourself that if you can hold out for just five minutes the overpowering urge to smoke will completely pass.
For more information about the Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, click here to visit the Cardiology Channel.
Bottom Line: No one needs to be told that smoking is unhealthy. Nearly everyone who smokes would like to quit. However, the addiction to nicotine is often more than most of us can handle without assistance. If you use the two phase technique I have recommended, you can plan to become and remain smoke-free. Remember, when treating tobacco dependency, every step towards quitting is one step closer to success.
Reprinted with permission from Dialog Medical, dialogmedical.com
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