Wednesday, March 17, 2010

20 Ways to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

20 Ways to Quit Smoking CigarettesToday one in four men and one in five women in USA smoke. For those who never smoked, this is a confusing fact. Don't smokers realize that cigarettes are the number one killer in USA, that they radically increase risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and almost every other health concern, small or large? How could smoking be worth this?

Truth is, most smokers do understand. They also realize the huge financial toll of smoking, that extended far beyond the cost of a pack of cigarettes, because smokers pay more for insurance, lose money on the resale value of their cars and homes, spend more on dry cleaning and teeth cleaning.

Then why do millions still smoke cigarettes? The answer is simple, because the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive. On the other hand, never have there been so many methods, techniques, and systems available for quitting smoking. And with every month that passes, there is more research showing the benefits of quitting, and the disadvantages of not quitting.

If you have any health issues that you think may be caused by smoking cigarettes, be careful and get treatment for problems before they get worse. Consider again whether it is time, finally, to quit. Educate yourself about quit smoking challenge and find suitable approach, perhaps working with your doctor or an expert. The following 20 tips will help you succeed.

1. Set a quit date and write a "quit date contract" that includes your signature and that of a supportive witness.

2. Write all your reasons for quitting smoking on an index card and keep it near you at all times. Here are some to get you started: "My daughter, my granddaughter, my husband, my wife..." You get the idea.

3. As you are getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes. Instead, only buy a pack at a time, and only carry two or three with you at a time. Eventually you will find that when you want a smoke, you will not have any immediately available. That will slowly wean you down to fewer cigarettes.

4. Keep a list of when you smoke, what you are doing at the time, and how bad the craving is for a week before quitting to see if specific times of the day or activities increase your cravings. These will help you to combat cravings later.

5. Prepare a list of things to do when a craving hits. Suggestions include: take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, wash the car, clean out a cupboard or closet, have sex, chew a piece of gum, wash your face, brush your teeth, take a nap, get a cup of coffee or tea, practice your deep breathing, light a candle. Make copies of the list and keep one with you at all times so when the craving hits, you can whip out the list and quickly do something from it.

6. When your quit date arrives, throw out anything that reminds you of smoking. That includes all smoking paraphernalia - leftover cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays, cigarette holders, even the lighter in your car.

7. Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette. That might be at breakfast, midmorning, or after meals. The act of brewing the tea and slowly sipping it as it cools will provide the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine.

8. Switch your cigarette habit for a nut habit - four nuts in their shell for every cigarette you want to smoke. This way, you are using your hands and your mouth, getting the same physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.

9. Think of difficult things you have done in the past. Ask people who know you well to remind you of challenges you have successfully overcome. This will give you the necessary self-confidence to stick with your smoke free decision.

10. Change your routine to minimize cravings. Sit in a different chair at breakfast or take a different route to work. If you usually have a drink and cigarette after work, change that to a walk. If you are used to a smoke with your morning coffee, switch to tea, or stop at Starbucks for a cup of java - the chain is smoke-free.

11. Tell your friends, coworkers, boss, partner, kids, etc., how you feel about situations instead of bottling up your emotions. If something makes you angry, express it instead of smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you are bored, admit to yourself that you are bored and find something energetic to do instead of lighting up.

12. Remember that there is no such thing as quitting smoking forever. Every ex-smoker is able to celebrate freedom from the smoking like one year milestone, but you can't celebrate "quitting smoking forever", so it's good idea to celebrate every smoke free day. If you relapse, just start again. You haven't failed. Some people have to quit as many as eight times before they are successful.

13. Put all the money you are saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar. You want to physically see how much you've been spending. Earmark that money for something you've always dreamed of doing, but never thought you could afford, be it a cruise to Alaska or a first-class ticket to visit an old college friend.

14. Switch to decaf until you have been cigarette-free for two months. Too much caffeine while quitting can cause the jitters.

15. When a craving hits, try closing your eyes and counting to ten while taking some deep breathes. If that does not work, take a walk to get yourself away from temptation.

16. Create a smoke-free zone. Do not allow anyone to use tobacco in your home, car, or even while sitting next to you in a restaurant. Make actual "No Smoking" signs and hang them around your house and in your car.

17. Find a healthy snack food you can keep with you and use in place of cigarettes to quench that urge for oral gratification. For instance, try pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds, sugarless lollipops or gum, carrot or celery sticks. The last ones are best if you are concerned about weight gain.

18. Do some deep breathing each day for ten minutes. Breathe in through your nose very slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, and breathe out very slowly through your mouth. It is possible to do your breathing with your eyes closed also.

19. Picture yourself playing tennis. Or go play tennis. British researchers found volunteers trying to quit smoking were better able to ignore their urges to smoke when they were told to visualize a tennis match.

20. Quit when you're in a good mood. Studies find that you are less likely to be a successful quitter if you quit smoking when you are depressed or under a great deal of stress.

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