Regardless of your age and how long you’ve been smoking, stopping smoking will help you live longer and be healthier. But for that, in addition to overcoming the withdrawal symptoms, it is necessary to break the social and emotional ties that connect you to the act of smoking. Discover 10 tips that science has already shown to be effective for those who want to quit smoking.
The health benefits are one of the main incentives to quit this habit and start 20 minutes after smoking the last cigarette, with a reduction in blood pressure and a slowing of the heartbeat. After 12 hours, blood carbon monoxide levels are already normalized.
However, lasting benefits require consistency: it takes between 1 and 9 months for coughing and shortness of breath to subside and only after 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease will be equivalent to that of a non-smoker.
To help you stop smoking, we have put together some advice based on the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations:
- Choose a day to quit smoking and start preparing in the previous weeks: tell your family and friends about your plans to quit smoking and identify the situations in which you usually smoke and the cigarettes that give you the most pleasure, to resist better or avoid these situations; plan ways to change your routine to avoid being tempted. For example, drink tea instead of coffee, go to lunch or dinner at non-smoking places.
- Make a list of reasons to stop smoking: in addition to the lower risk of chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseasesand cancer , you will have whiter teeth and better breath, smell and taste; yellow spots on fingers and nails will disappear; you will feel less tired when walking or performing simple tasks. Bring the list with you to reread it in the most difficult moments.
- Quit smoking on the day you planned. Dispose of any remaining cigarettes and related items from home, in the car or at the workplace. Adopt a healthy diet, increase the practice of daily physical activity and occupy yourself with a hobbyor hobby. Drink plenty of water and reduce your intake of coffee and alcohol.
- Cultivate your support network. Try to spend time with non-smokers and ex-smokers who support you and tell them what kind of help you need. For example, or to keep you company for activities in smoke-free environments.
- Consider using techniques such as acupuncture that can be useful as supportive therapies.
- Seek help from a specialist to deal with nicotine withdrawal syndrome.
- Consider using group therapies, which are especially useful when nicotine addiction leads to depressionor anxiety , helping to identify everyday situations and emotional states in which the need for smoking arises, in order to find strategies for overtake them.
- Identify thoughts that serve as a justification for smoking, even if you believe them only for a moment. For example, “I will smoke just one cigarette to deal with this difficult moment”, “it is my only addiction”, “today is not a good day, tomorrow is the day”. Write them down when they appear and train your resistance.
- Adopt strategies to resist the moments when you have a desire to smoke: use sugar-free chewing gum, nuts or raw vegetables (such as carrot sticks); breathe deeply, just as you did when you inhaled cigarette smoke; remember the reasons why you stopped smoking and force yourself to wait 10 minutes. Reward yourself by keeping the money you would spend on cigarettes in a visible place and using it for something you really want to do.
- If you have a moment to slip, remember that this will only be synonymous with relapse if you do it again. Instead of using the mistake as an excuse to quit smoking, take the opportunity to learn from the mistake: identify the factors that triggered it and renew your commitment to quit smoking.
While some people manage to quit smoking on their own, for many it is difficult to do so. Adopting strategies that science has already shown to be effective can make the difference between success and failure. For this, it is crucial that you seek the help of specialists, who can help you find the solution that best suits your specific case.