Use these strategies to help yourself kick nicotine cravings to the curb!
If you’re well aware that smoking is bad for your health, but have still had a hard time giving up the habit, you’re in good company. A survey conducted by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) found that in 2010, almost 70 percent of smokers in the US wanted to quit, but only six percent had actually recently done so.
Just because your attempts to quit in the past didn’t work doesn’t mean you can’t make this year the year you finally wean yourself off cigarettes. Use these strategies below, as well as the support from friends and family, to help turn your desire into a reality.
Simple Strategies That Slowly — but Surely — Help You Stop Smoking
Speak to your doctor.
The first step to quitting is to talk about it, starting with your health care professional. Doctors have resources, programs, and up-to-date recommendations to help ease you into a program that will help you slowly reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms so you don’t fall back into a life with cigarettes. Some smoking programs and groups may also be covered by your insurance, and your doctor will have those insights so you aren’t paying for something that’s already covered.
Seek advice from friends.
A recent study conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center found that smoking cessation rates increased for the first time in 15 years in the US. This means that it’s likely someone you know has recently stopped smoking. Find out what worked for them, and if they live or work nearby, consider forming a buddy system so you can both meet for coffee during a usual smoke break or simply have someone to text when a craving hits.
Determine the most successful plan for you.
Advice is important and helpful, but make sure you use tools that work for you. For example, some people can handle the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking cold turkey, while others need another method. Figure out which treatment plan works for your life and personality, and don’t worry about which plan is “better” — the end goal is what is important, not the way you get there.
If you need a method besides going cold turkey, consider a smoking cessation product, which is designed to help ease cravings by gradually releasing nicotine into the body. The NicoDerm CQ Patch, which comes in three strengths, delivers just the right amount of nicotine to help relieve cravings1, so you can get on with your day.
Set a date.
No matter what method you’re using, set an intention and physically write down a day you’re going to start your journey. Tell your friends, family, and doctor so they can check in with you and see how you’re doing. This also lets you start to mentally prepare to quit, which can be one of the more difficult parts of the process.
Remember that any day is a good day to quit.
Whether you’ve tried to quit in the past or have been thinking about it for months and are disappointed you haven’t made the leap yet, keep in mind that quitting, no matter when you start or how long it takes, is what’s important. And you don’t have to do it alone! According to the CDC, using a support system like counseling along with smoking cessation products is more effective than doing either one by itself. Reaching out for help may be the best thing you can do on your journey toward improved health.
1Craving relief associated with quitting smoking. Individual results vary.