After going through the rant of a smoker whining about not being able to smoke in public places and reading through the various opinions and
experiences of forum members I got the idea to make this thread.
I worked as a "Tobacco Cessation Counselor" for many years and helped hundreds of people quit tobacco.
So I thought I'd make this thread and add some of my experience on the topic, and perhaps help someone.
Firstly tobacco causes a lot of problems. If I remember over 90% of tobacco users are smokers. Chew is not a big a problem, but is not overlooked.
There is no such thing as safe nicotine. Nicotine causes high-blood pressure and heart disease. And cigarette are made with over 4,000 different
chemicals, and 69 of them at least, are known to cause cancer.
These chemicals have been meticulously designed over years of research by tobacco companies to get you more addicted to nicotine.
How does it work? Firstly nicotine once it reaches the brain triggers the release of dopamine. A normal brain knows when to release this
neurotransmitter naturally, but a brain that gets used to nicotine needs the nicotine to trigger the its release, and thus nicotine addiction.
Nicotine addiction is probably one of the hardest to break, even stronger than a lot of hard-core drugs like heroine.
The cigarette is designed in every step to be a perfect nicotine administrator to the system. You inhale the smoke and it fills your lungs, it
penetrates the lung walls reaching your blood system and is carried to the brain. The way it is designed it slowly erodes your lung lining thus making
the nicotine penetrate them faster and reach your brain faster.
Cigarettes are purposefully designed in away to deliver the nicotine to your brain as fast a possible, and are deliberately designed to erode your
lungs, slowly killing you over time.
Knowing how it works is important in quitting. Knowledge always helps.
So here are just some ideas and tips when trying to quit.
Usually you want to set a quit date when you are ready. Make it for a couple of weeks to a month out. Now studies and statistics show that those who
quit cold turkey are more likely not going to fall back to smoking every again. But it is also the hardest way to quit. So if you can go cold turkey.
Great! Most people can't though.
You are facing a very serious addiction. And in addition to the addiction, of the worst there is, a physical addiction, most people have developed
habits. So it is a two-fold challenge, breaking the habit, which can be hard in and of itself, on top of the physical addiction.
As you near your quit date start to change your patterns, and look for triggers. A trigger can be anything, getting up in the morning, getting a cup
of coffee and a smoke. Driving to work, stopping at a certain stop light, lighting up. When going out to eat, getting a beer, lighting up. Literally
it can be anything. Getting frustrated, taking a smoke.
Then as you reach your quit date start to change those patterns. If you get up and smoke first thing, for example, try to delay the smoking. Do
something else first, make your bed, take a shower, wash the dishes, make breakfast, take a quick walk. And every day slowly try and purposefully plan
things to delay the smoking longer and longer.
And also start to cut down over the next couple of weeks. You smoke 20 cigarettes a day? Smoke 19. The next day, smoke 18. Make it harder for you to
smoke. You smoke in the car? Put the pack in your trunk. So you can't just reach for them.
Then let your friends/workmates/family aware of your quit attempt. Prepare family members for your quitting so they will be supportive and
understanding. Withdrawal is very real and can cause you to become very irritable to be around for awhile.
As the date approaches hopefully you have cut down drastically what you're used to smoking, and changed your habits and patterns. During your quitting
process avoid all triggers as much as possible. If you are used to drinking coffee and smoking, forgo drinking coffee for the next few weeks. Even
changing driving patterns. If you're used to smoking at a certain spot in the car, take a different route.
Find association with people who are non smokers. Try to avoid smokers at work, and outside as well while you are quitting. If during a break you're
used to smoking, try taking a walk perhaps with a co-worker that is a nonsmoker. Etc.
As the day approaches start to clear out all smoking paraphernalia, ash trays, lighters, matches, etc. On the quit date have them completely removed
from your hose and your life.
Now it is important to note that withdrawal lasts usually 2-4 weeks, and the first three to four days are the worst. If you can get past the first few
days you will probably make it to the end.
Do things while you are quitting that will replace the nicotine "high" you are used to. One simple and wonderful thing is simply taking a brisk walk
or jog, or bicycle riding, or any exercise for that matter. Exercise triggers the release of endorphines in your brain, that have a similar effect as
that of dopamine. It will calm you down when you are really irritable or nervous.
And also realize that cravings last a short time. When the craving happens, if you can control it for a few minutes it will go away.
If you have a relapse. Do not beat yourself up. Realize that quitting nicotine is one of the hardest addictions to break. It is NOT EASY for most
people. Instead of looking at your failure, look at all of your progress and commend yourself for it. Also, plan things to do to reward yourself as
you reach your goals. And find hobbies or things to do that will keep you busy during times that you know you are going to really struggle.
After a month off cigarettes your brain will realize it is not getting nicotine anymore and over that period it will begin to react normally again,
until finally it will be releasing dopamine just like it always used to normally. And you will have won the addiction.
The mental craving of a smoke whoever, not the physical one, the mental one can take much much longer to break. And there are people, even decades
after smoking will still have mental triggers that will make them crave a smoke. So it is possible that will never go away.
There are tobacco cessation aides that are available such as the patch and nicotine gum. These are short-term solutions to getting a fix from the
nicotine, but some people just end up using these instead of smoking/chew. Remember that nicotine is still bad for you and causes high-blood pressure
and heart disease. So if you decide to use them keep that in mind.
And finally there are tobacco cessation services that are available free of charge, like the one I used to work at. Where they would help you through
the whole process, and some even provide free cessation aides such as the nicotine patch etc. I am sure you can search the internet to find one in
your state if there is a service available for your state. I don't think all states have such services, but I know many do.
This is a very basic, but probably good start. There are plenty of in-depth guide I'm sure you could find just by a quick google search.
on 16-3-2016 by JarofRice because: (no reason given)