From the Social Smoker to the Chain Smoker: How to Quit Smoking Altogether

Brook Flagg

by Brook Flagg | July 29, 2011 @ 08:00AM

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It may have been a haste decision that resulted from peer pressure, and then gradually turned into a social habit that was best accompanied with a cocktail. Now, it is your full-fledged, stress-coping behavior – day in, and day out. Yes, smoking is highly addictive. So much so that people continue to puff on a cigarette even after being completely knowledgeable that smoking can directly cause health problems and empty your bank account before you know it (One pack of cigarettes can reach nearly $7!). In addition, you are stuck with feelings of guilt and embarrassment. No matter how much your friends and family want you to quit, and you want to quit, actually doing so can be quite difficult.

So instead of repeatedly asking yourself how you ever got to this point, take control of your life and focus on quitting. Fortunately, by giving up smoking, you can restore your body to its pre-habit health, even if you’ve been a smoker for decades.

If you are planning to undergo a cosmetic procedure, your surgeon has already instructed you to quit smoking at least two weeks before surgery and at least two weeks after; this is to help make sure your body is in optimal condition for healing. Consider this a blessing! If you can quit this long for the sake of your surgery, you’ve already won half the battle.

Here are some tips to keeping you on the right track and quitting for good:

Choose a Quit Date 

If you are not a cosmetic surgery patient, and do not already have a date in mind, then it may be best to consult a practitioner or a specialist in smoking cessation. Setting a firm date to stop smoking is a big step in the overall process of quitting, so be sure to congratulate yourself on moving forward. But the most important part of setting a quit date – sticking to it!

Discuss Smoking Cessation Aids

Quitting cold turkey is a good option for many people, but if the idea of nicotine withdrawal gives you anxiety, or you’ve consistently failed in quitting cold turkey, your options in smoking cessation aids are extensive. If you want to quit for good, consulting a doctor regarding your options is the best bet. He or she can help determine which method will help you succeed in your quest for a smoke-free lifestyle. Keep in mind: Sometimes it takes a few tries with different methods before one actually works. Don’t give up!

Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) 

These include nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, and nasal sprays. Each contains nicotine to ease the discomfort of addiction withdrawal, but are free from the thousands of poisonous and carcinogenic chemicals contained in cigarettes. They allow you to step down your nicotine intake gradually, something you should do in order to end your addiction completely. Another NRT is electronic cigarettes, a somewhat controversial method (ask your doctor for his/her opinion).

Non-Nicotine Quit Smoking Medications 

Today, there are many good ways to quit smoking without using nicotine. These are medications that must be prescribed by a doctor and used under that doctor’s supervision. Try researching options like Bupropion (marketed as Zyban, Wellbutrin SR, and Wellbutrin XL) and Varenicline Tartrate (marketed as Chantix). There are countless Chantix success stories featured online, as well as positive testimonials about the effectiveness of using depression medications to quit smoking (Zyban and Wellbutrin are also common depression treatments).

Other Quit Smoking Remedies

The following may not be for everyone, but some people have successfully quit smoking with the help of methods like hypnosis, acupuncture, and herbal therapy (sometimes called “natural Zyban”). Discuss these options with your doctor if you plan to begin one of these remedies, especially if you are a current cosmetic surgery patient.

There is no shortage of resources available for those who are serious about quitting smoking. One of the most comprehensive authorities on how to quit smoking is the Center for Disease Control, which features a list of links to resources at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/index.htm. Good luck, and congratulations on your wise decision!

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