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How to Stop Smoking

Thursday, 04 Nov 2010 09:16 AM

After countless attempts to quit his 100 cigarette a day habit, Alan Carr devised a plan to quit smoking that worked for him, and wrote the bestseller, “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” It sold millions of copies worldwide. All smokers should note an important thing here: Carr quit smoking and then wrote the book; he didn’t write the book while taking heavy drags of cigarettes. In his book, Carr shows how triggers, social pressure, and boredom, make us reach for the next cigarette.

Smoking is a powerful addiction; it reinforces the need for nicotine, which smoking created in the first place. So, the more you smoke, the more the need for nicotine is felt, and vice versa.

There are many ways that you can stop smoking, like Carr and countless others have. Here are some tips on how to quit smoking:

1. Go cold turkey. The term “cold turkey” is used to describe quitting smoking without the use of any external products. Your intention and will power do all the heavy-lifting here. The feeling of discomfort due to withdrawal symptoms may be acute for a few days, but the cold turkey method drains away the majority of nicotine from the body within a few days.  

2. If going cold turkey doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, there are other options, like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This provides a limited amount of nicotine to the body to help ease withdrawal symptoms. This product doesn't contain carcinogenic chemicals like cigarettes. Used according to the directions, NRTs gradually reduce the amount of nicotine in each dose and thus helps wean an addict from smoking. However, since some amount of nicotine is involved here, there is a possibility of a relapse. NRT includes the use of chewing gums, inhalers, lozenges, and nasal sprays.

3. Nicotine-free products. These products and therapies don’t have nicotine as an active ingredient. They include Bupropion (marketed as Zyban®, Wellbutrin SR®, Wellbutrin XL®), and Varenicline Tartrate (marketed under the trademark of Chantix®). However, before using any of these, you should consult your doctor.             

4. Hypnosis to quit smoking: Hypnosis and acupuncture are other options that help you quit-smoking. There is little hard clinical data to prove that hypnosis or acupuncture are helpful in quitting smoking. 
 5. Will power counts. One of the best tips is to have a quit-smoking plan and stick to it. Focus on something else when the craving for nicotine hits, or repeat positive affirmations. Think about the benefits you will get if you quit the habit.

6. Introspection. Think about why past attempts at quitting smoking failed. Then choose a day to quit smoking. Some people gradually cut back the number of cigarettes they smoke a day. Some others may take a few puffs before stubbing their cigarette out. This way, when the day of reckoning comes, you may not feel painful physical withdrawal symptoms.

7. Stay away from electronic cigarettes that imitate the act of smoking and dispense nicotine. The FDA does not approve them and they have been found to emit toxins.

The idea of not smoking ever again may feel overwhelming. Don’t think about it. Have some handy mental tools available to withstand the moments when the craving for nicotine seems relentless. Remind yourself that the craving lasts only a few minutes. Every small effort you make to stop smoking is a big victory.

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