No one can force you to stop smoking. The decision is yours. Once you decide you want to stop, half the battle is won. Just set your mind to it and you will win all the way. Follow these tips:
Choose a date to stop
i) Mark the date on your diary or calendar, avoiding a busy or stressful time.
ii) Persuade someone to stop with you, if possible. You can encourage each other.
iii) Tell family and friends that you are stopping and when. Ask them to remind you to stop each time you are tempted to light up.
Choose a way to stop
There are three main ways:
1. Cold turkey – smoke as usual until the day before your stop date. On your stop date, stop smoking entirely.
2. Cutting down slowly – cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you reach zero on your stop date. Take not likely to be successful. Another way of cutting down slowly is by means of nicotine patches that you stick on the skin. The patch release nicotine directly into the body through the skin, bypassing the lungs. You gradually reduce the nicotine dose through the patches until you reach zero.
3. Smoking cessation programme – join an organized group to help you stop with talks/discussions, video-shows, role-play, and counseling.
Whichever way you choose, keep to it and to your stop date.
Make your stop date eventful
i) On your stop date, throw away all ashtrays, lighters, matches, and remaining cigarettes.
ii) Stock your refrigerator with plain water, unsalted nuts, fruits and vegetables.
iii) Pamper yourself with new clothes or something you have always wanted.
Celebrate with non-smoking friends at a no-smoking place.
How to manage the first few days
i) Mentally prepare yourself to accept the withdrawal symptoms, which will disappear within 1-2 weeks. The symptoms range from longing to smoke, trembling, dizziness, nervousness, lack of concentration, to numbness in the arms and legs. They just mean that your body is adjusting to the absence of nicotine, and to a new improved blood circulation and increased oxygen reaching your body tissues.
ii) Do not worry if you cough more than ever. The little hairs in your air passages, which were paralyzed when you were smoking, are working again. They are working overtime to clean out the tar, germs, dead cells and dirt. When your air passage are clean, your cough will stop for good.
iii) Overcome the occasional longing to smoke with any of the following: slow deep breathing, muscle relaxation or meditation, take a walk, drink water, or eat some nuts or a small wedge of fruit or vegetable.
iv) Stay away from smoking friends who are likely to tease or tempt you to smoke again.
How to stay off cigarettes
i) Deliberately change your habits during the situations when you used to enjoy smoking. For example, if you used to smoke with your coffee, drink fruit juice instead. If you used to smoke first thing in the morning, go to the window and do deep breathing instead. If you enjoyed smoking after dinner, go for a stroll instead. And so on.
ii) Take up a sport, or start an exercise programme or hobby with non-smoking family members and friends. Make it regular activity. Keep busy.
iii) Stay away from places that allow smoking like bars, lounges and discos.
iv) Never give in, not even to one cigarette.
WHAT IF YOU FAIL?
Yes, it happens. Some ex-smokers do fail and go back to smoking again. But all is not lost. It is just a temporary setback. Remember! If you want to stop smoking, half the battle is won. So…
‘If a first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.’