Story last updated at 1/21/2009 - 11:45 am
You've probably tried quitting once. Maybe you even went a week or two without a cigarette. But then that tempting, evil smoking habit reared its ugly head once more. You might have thought "I'll just have one" - before chain smoking a whole pack.
Suffering from nicotine addiction is no laughing matter. Over 27 percent of the population of the United States is made up of smokers. Lung cancer alone accounts for 25 percent of the deaths in this country, and 85 percent of those cases have been traced to smoking.
Although old habits can be touch to kick, the methods below will show even the most avid smoker a manageable way to quit.
The Cold Turkey Way
This is definitely the most difficult way to quit smoking. Little research has been done on this method of relinquishing the smoking habit. But, talk to any man on the street, and they will say that most people fail miserably using this method.
Cognitive Therapy Techniques
This method focuses on using mental imagery to remedy smoking patterns. While using this method during an urge to smoke, a person would imagine himself doing something relaxing other than smoking. They would also say positive phrases such as "I can quit smoking."
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is definitely a mouthful, but it simply means that the person endeavoring to quit smoking should change their environment and employ reinforcing techniques. Included in this plan are the following strategies:
o Remove all smoking triggers such as ashtrays, lighters and matches.
o Identify feelings and situations that cause you to smoke: stress, anger at a spouse or significant other and depression.
o Keep a Smoker's Diary, identifying any desire to smoke and any slip ups you might have.
o Substitute the negative behavior of smoking for something more positive such a: exercising, eating carrots or chewing gum.
o Rapidly chain smoke until you vomit.
o Charge yourself $5 for every cigarette you smoke, put the money in a jar and give it to a charity.
o Focus on the benefits of quitting (i.e. better health, a happier girlfriend, etc.).
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
When a person uses this method, the nicotine in a cigarette is replaced by a lesser amount of nicotine in gum, a patch or a nasal spray. Nicoderm and Nicotrol are the most common types of nicotine patches. This method provides a steady amount of nicotine while preventing cravings, weight gain and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These methods are comparably priced at around $100 for a one month supply. Each of these methods attempts to taper the amount of nicotine someone craves. Most of these programs promise users results in 6-8 weeks.
Despite the widespread usage of nicotine replacement therapy, some side effects still occur including skin reactions and insomnia. If continuing to smoke while using nicotine replacement therapy, a person could overdose on nicotine and suffer heart attack or stroke.
Before you start quitting
Here are some simple suggestions to do before attempting any of the above methods.
See your doctor. He can prescribe a nicotine replacement therapy that is right for you or suggest alternative methods for quitting.
Find a support group. Tell family and friends of your decision to quit smoking. Ask them for support. If one of them is a smoker, ask them to partner up with you and quit too. Ask your family to help you create and plan smoke free environments.
Interview someone who has kicked the habit and see what worked for them. If one of your co-workers or acquaintances quit smoking, find out how they did it. Their suggestions may be helpful, and they may give you extra support.
Take it one day at a time.
The three most important things to know when quitting:
1. See your doctor.
2. Find a support group.
3. Take it one day at a time.