Everyone is different. That’s why there is no one universal way to give up the smoking habit. We compiled a list of things that helped others quit. We hope that you will find something that will work for you too.
Perhaps, the key to giving up smoking is strong willpower. Take a note of the following ideas to strengthen it.
- Make a list titled What Bothers Me About Smoking. You dislike how your hair and clothes smell, morning cough won’t go away, it’s a bad example for your kid, your non-smoking friends screw up their faces — write all of that down.
- Have lists of top reasons why it’s cooler without cigarettes.
- Keep them in front of you. Put them on your desk, set them as wallpapers on your laptop, in short – visualize.
- Identify triggers. Which emotions or events make you want to smoke? A cigarette after having dinner or sex, a smoke break with a colleague, the first morning cigarette — these things can be changed if you are aware of them.
- Find a substitution for them. When you try giving smoking up, you’ll have to fight the triggers.
- Fill a glass can with water and cigarette butts and watch the nasty stinky gunk forming there. Yep, imagine what’s going on in your lungs.
- Watch youtube videos. This one, for example, it’s a great terrifying 4 minute video.
- Read up on the health problems that smoking causes. It’s a Capitan Obvious piece of advice, but it helps to get in the right mindset.
- Remember all your achievements, would such a goal-oriented person surrender to a trivial habit like that?
- Get inspired. 2-3 weeks after you kick the habit you will rediscover your sense of smell and taste. Your brain will work better. Shortness of breath and the cough will go away. You will sleep better, your stress level will go down and you will have more energy in the mornings. All these things are worth a try.
- Think of a reward. Promise yourself something really nice if you hold out for half a year or a full year.
- Set a date when you will stop smoking. The date should preferably be approximately two weeks from the time of your decision to quit. This way you will be able to get in the right mindset in advance.
You absolutely need people who will support, help and tolerate you when you are unbearable.
- Announce that you are giving up smoking on social media. This will motivate you to keep your word.
- Start a blog or a Facebook group. Write about what you are going through every day. Some will share their experience, others will get inspired by yours.
- Quit with other people. Relatives, friends or people in your social media groups — write to them when you feel week.
- Have a bet with a friend if you are competitive.
- Wager a big sum, $1000, for example.
- Let your relatives know. And mention in advance that you might get nervous and angry.
- Search for examples of successful quitters. Stories inspire.
- Get an app. Apps that measure how much time has passed since you gave up and how much money you saved can also encourage you. Have a look at these apps, for example, Get Rich or Die Smoking (Android) or Smoke Free (iPhone)
For example, Artyom was additionally motivated by his collegue’s example. And their relationship wasn’t even particularly warm, it was rather “If he can do it, why can’t I?”
How to stop smoking
Some prefer gradually decreasing the number of cigarettes they smoke, others quit very abruptly, there are also those who substitute cigarettes with lozenges or electronic cigarettes. You know yourself better than anyone else, so we are just going to list what helps others.
- Change the brand you smoke. Try cigarettes of poorer quality or stronger tobacco. The process will become less enjoyable.
- Cut cigarettes in two. It’s a silly and effective way to smoke less each time.
- Have your teeth whitened. Or get professional teeth cleaning. You wouldn’t want to have the result spoiled and your money wasted.
- Find a job with a non-smoking policy. Or ask your boss to fine you for smoking or give you bonuses for giving it up.
- Visit non-smoking places more often. Theatres, cinemas, cafes. This will help you keep your mind off smoking. And you will get new experiences along the way.
- Go camping for 3 days. You can’t buy cigarettes in the forest. If you hold out there you will find it easier to keep from smoking in the city.
- Wear a rubber wristband. Each time you smoke, take it off and put it on the other hand. Set a goal to keep the wristband on one hand for 21 days.
- Catch a cold. Smoking is rather unpleasant when your throat is sore.
- Remove everything that has to do with cigarettes. Ashtrays, lighters, matches.
- Forbid yourself to smoke at home. If you need to put clothes on, go somewhere and stand outside in the cold you will want to smoke less.
- Switch from coffee to tea. Caffeine stimulates the desire to smoke.
- Eliminate alcohol. A glass of bear is a frequent cause of relapse.
- Do yoga. Indian scientists conducted a study with more than a thousand participants. After completing a yoga and meditation course 85% of the participants were able to quit smoking. 62% were able to kick the habit in a month’s time. 49% managed it in 2-6 months and 15.47% in a year.
- Meditate. Meditation helps you relax. If you have a desire to smoke sit down, close your eyes and focus on breathing. Try not paying attention to your thoughts, concentrate and be aware of your breathing. 10 minutes will be enough.
- Run. You will want to smoke less. Also, running will clean your lungs and your brain will get more oxygen.
- Cycle. Good luck trying to smoke while cycling up the hill.
- Do any sports. You don’t want to smoke when you worked up a sweat in the gym for an hour. Bonus — you won’t gain weight!
- Healthy diet. If you eat 4-5 small meals a day it will be easier to keep from substituting cigarette breaks with snacks. Also, diary products, fruit and vegetables make cigarettes taste worse.
- Keep track of your stress level. The higher it is the harder it is to refrain. Measure your stress with the Welltory app and relax when your body needs to.
- Don’t smoke just for one day. You are never ever going to get the satisfaction from cigarettes again and are — the horror! — giving it up for good — if that thought scares you, then this tip might help. Don’t smoke today, just for one day only. And after 10 such “one day only” promises it will get much easier.
- Mark the non-smoking days in your calendar. Let it remind you how long you’ve managed without cigarettes.
What helps people quit smoking forever?
- Pregnancy. No comments here.
- A newborn baby. It is often the deciding factor for men. You don’t want to set a bad example for your kids.
- Falling in love. The best motivation to change!
- A serious illness of a loved one. It can scare you and make you think.
- Visiting lung cancer patients. Only one visit to a hospice as a volunteer was enough for Vadim.
- Heart attack. You shouldn’t let it get to that point, but it can scare the wits out of you.
- Visit to a cardiologist. Irina smoked for 10 years and gave up right away after having a cardiac exam that revealed that at the age of 25 her heart was already worn out.
- The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr
Artyom (the guy who decided to follow his colleague’s example) gave up smoking for good when his wife was back home from the maternity hospital with a newborn baby. He went cold turkey and hasn’t smoked for 5 years.
What kind of smoking substitutes can combat the urge to smoke?
- Electronic cigarettes and vaping Scientists around the world haven’t yet come to a definite conclusion about the risks of vaping, but they agree that it is less harmful than cigarettes. In fact, 95% less harmful. 🙂 We will have a separate article about the risks vaping poses. People’s experiences confirm, Switching to electronic cigarettes is easier both psychologically and physiologically. 3-4 months after giving up conventional cigarettes longtime smokers start using nicotine free e-liquids and then quit vaping altogether.
- Nicotine lozenges and patches. They help fight nicotine cravings. Consult a doctor to find out what will work for you.
- Laser coding. It removes nicotine addition by fighting the urge to smoke. A few drawbacks: the result is hard to predict, you might get burns, the effect may have to do with placebo.
- Acupuncture. The method hasn’t been proven effective, but if you go to a qualified specialist this practice is considered safe.
- Hypnosis. Some studies show that 20-50% of those who went through hypnosis quit smoking. But in general, it hasn’t been proven effective.
Editor’s note 14 (!) of my longtime smoking friends have completely given up the habit. 9 of them have quit vaping as well. Everyone is happy. Perhaps, vaping is bad for your health, but it’s definitely an opportunity for those who have been smoking for years. In any case, cigarettes have been scientifically proven harmful.
How to fight nicotine cravings
- Sleep. Have a 30 minute nap.
- Have a snack. Better something healthy that would help your brain function well: nuts, apples, carrots, for example. Not candies though. 🙂
- Drink a glass of water.
- Take 10 deep breaths with an unlit cigarette in your mouth. The last time you breath out do it slowly, then pretend you are putting the cigarette out.
- Have a shower.
- Go for a walk.
- Exercise. Stretch out, jump, do a plank. Switch for 3-5 minutes.
- Hold a lit candle or an incense stick instead of a cigarette.
- Wash dishes or do some other chores.
- Play a game.
- Find a hobby to keep your hands busy. Do embroidery, draw sketches, keep a diary.
- Brush your teeth. Bonus: fresh breath and a beautiful smile instead of smoke stink.
Some crazy ways to quit
- Drink water mixed with backing soda. It worked for one woman 🙂
- Keep only one cigarette around. Light it when you want to smoke, have a puff and put the cigarette out until your next craving.
- Smell of wet cigarettes. Some find it helpful to smell an ashtray full of wet cigarette butts.
- Fill your room with smoke. Close the doors and windows in your room and smoke as much as you can until you feel sick from the smell.
- Eat something unpleasant. One woman chewed on dry dog food when she had nicotine cravings.
- Give cigarettes honourable burial. Wrap them in a plastic bag, say good bye to them and bury them. Perform a psychological ritual.
- Use your imagination. For example, picture your addiction as an enemy who charges at you and you defeat it at one blow.
Instead of the summary
It’s important to remember that if you are exhausted, in a low mood and constantly stressed, no willpower will hold you back from smoking. You won’t be able to end the habit and change something in your life. Don’t put the blame on yet another relapse. Think for a second, do you even rest at all? Do you give your body time to relax?
You first need to reduce your stress level and gradually increase the amount of energy you have. And once you feel refreshed and energetic kicking the habit will be much easier. So measure your stress levels and give yourself some rest.