Let’s get one thing straight from the start – tobacco kills. The evidence has proven the link between smoking tobacco and a host of modern diseases from cancer to heart disease. So if you can give up the habit, it’s probably the best lifestyle choice you’ll ever make.
However, as any ex-smoker will tell you, giving up ‘the weed’ is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. The body becomes accustomed to the intake of nicotine and the mind develops a dependency on the actual ‘ritual’ of smoking too; it has been shown that this is as addictive in itself as the actual nicotine.
For years, people have tried various methods to quit smoking – from going ‘cold turkey’ to using a variety of gums, sprays and lozenges. However, the development of electronic cigarettes has allowed those who want the benefits of a cigarette-free life but cannot or give up the habit a viable alternative. E-cigarettes are a welcome addition to the equation, but what other tips do we have for giving up smoking cigarettes? Here are our top five:
#1 – Want to Quit
According to Cancer Research UK, two-thirds of smokers want to give up. But there’s a world of difference between saying you want to quit and really committing to giving up cigarettes. Various excuses for not quitting are often stated, including worry about weight gain and an increase in anxiety levels. But it isn’t easy to break such an addictive habit, and to succeed it’s vital that you really want to quit. Take a look at your lifestyle and if you’re not quite ready to stop yet, then make a list of the benefits you’d gain from switching from normal cigarettes to e-cigs (i.e. they’re cheaper, better for your health, more socially acceptable).
#2 – Don’t Set Unrealistic Goals
One of the main reasons for failure is that, just like those pesky New Year resolutions, people often set unrealistic goals. When they then fail to achieve them it comes as an emotional blow and can set you right back to where you started. So don’t try and quit smoking in a week and don’t try doing too much at once either, such as losing weight or taking up running at the same time as quitting. Give yourself targets that will stretch you, but that are not unrealistic or unachievable.
#3 – Take it One Step and One Day at a Time
It takes just a few hours for the body to clear itself of its addiction to nicotine, but the mental dependency on the act of smoking can take much longer. Don’t try and think long-term until you’ve been smoke free for at least a year! Take it one step and one day at a time to start with.
#4 – Use Safer Alternatives such as e-cigs
The habit is the toughest part of the smoking addiction to break, so rather than go ‘cold turkey’, switch to an alternative such as an e-cigarette. These give you all the psychological comforters and triggers such as ‘having something to do with your hands’ and the act of putting a cigarette in your mouth, but without the harmful side effects of actual cigarettes.
#5 – If at First you don’t Succeed, Try Again…
Many people who try to give up smoking fall at the first fence a few times. Don’t worry and don’t give up giving up! Keep trying and don’t be too harsh on yourself if you slip up occasionally and have a cigarette. Slowly, as your body adjusts to doing without cigarettes, your cravings will fade and you’ll find each day gets easier. Cigarettes no longer have a hold over you, and you’ll be able to live a longer, healthier life!
About the Author – Ilena Sanchez is a freelance blogger (and ex-smoker!) who contributes regularly to a wide range of lifestyle sites including YouCig