Even very early on, smoking causes changes to stem cells that set the stage for cancer. More >
Tobacco and Women: Trends and Strategies for QuittingSeveral of the drugs are available over the counter (OTC). Though you can buy these drugs and use them on your own, I advise you to find (if possible) a helpful and sympathetic doctor who can counsel you and prescribe treatment if you need it to help you. Smoking is not a sin or a moral weakness. It is an addiction, a chronic disease that needs treatment before it kills you or spoils you life with a lot of illnesses. Enlist your doctor's help. Show the doctor this article and advise him/her to read the professional version. Help your doctor help a lot of people like you.
The cigarette habit isn't just about tobacco and inhaling smoke. It consists of dozens of unconsidered impulses which are reinforced hundreds or even thousands of times a day with every puff you take. Let's be honest. Nicotine is a wonderful drug. It calms you down and peps you up at the same time. What else does that? You will need preventive strategies to keep from smoking. You need to understand the urge, figure out why you liked smoking, recognize the "danger situations" and find substitute actions to take at those moments when the urge becomes nearly irresistible.
First, "clock" your habit. Write down every cigarette you smoke during the day and how important it was to smoke it. You need to know which are those "necessary" cigarettes, when the urge to smoke is the strongest. Then you think of other things you could do instead of smoking. Remember, the urge to smoke will go away whether you smoke or not. Identify "triggers," those situations or activities that are strongly associated with smoking. Finishing a meal, getting into your car, getting out of the subway station, picking up the telephone or going to a bar with friends, are some examples. Think of ways to avoid these trigger situation or an alternative activity or another "hand activity" to take the place of smoking.
Every smoker is unique. That is why you have to look at your own situation and work out solutions. There is one problem that is very common -- alcohol. If you want to quit smoking, alcohol is your Health Enemy Number One. Hang out with teetotalers (and non-smokers) and stay out of bars, especially in those first few months of quitting. Most people can't have JUST ONE. You are physically and pyschologically addicted.
Why am I telling you all this? Because the problem with the smoking habit is that it is not just nicotine. It is a ritual, a habit, a reflex. It has to be unlearned. You need to build up alternative habits and reflexes, which, as time goes on, become automatic and unconsidered, just like smoking was. It takes about three weeks to break a habit and three months of successful abstinence to strengthen these new habits to the point where relapse into smoking again is less likely.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy — NRTFor some people nicotine withdrawal is so uncomfortable they just cannot get through it. Withdrawal produces many symptoms. You can feel out of sorts, depressed, irritable, angry or unable to concentrate. Some people get so obnoxious that their friends, relatives or co-workers buy them cigarettes to calm them down again. You need to tell people around you that you are trying to quit and ask for their forbearance and help. Former smokers are particularly helpful. They've been there. Get yourself a buddy--someone to call for help and encouragement and to let off steam.
NRT eases nicotine withdrawal WHILE you are working on getting through urges, avoiding triggers and building up alternative ways of dealing with stress, tension, anger, etc.
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