Categories: Pulmonology

How to Resist Smoking

Smoking is not only a leading cause of cancer but also responsible for nearly 8 million deaths worldwide every year, and most of these deaths happen in low- to middle-income countries Passive smoking is dangerous as smoking itself. It is responsible for nearly 1.2 million deaths worldwide every year and that’s because sidestream smoke, the one that comes directly from a lit cigarette, is unfiltered and therefore contains tar in addition to several other carcinogens present in tobacco smoke. So how can we stop smoking, now that we know it is not just bad for ourselves but for other non-smokers around as well? How can we control this addiction?

To control the addiction, one needs to control the craving or urge to smoke. Please note that initially for a few weeks, these cravings will be quite strong. However, with a bit of determination and willpower, you can surely overcome them. Here are a few techniques that could help you to do so.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Consult a doctor to know how you can get nicotine through other sources. He might suggest nicotine as a nasal spray, inhaler, or as patches, gums, and lozenges. The short-acting alternatives will help you resist those intense cravings you have. The doctor may also prescribe non-nicotine medications that reduce your need to smoke.

Avoid triggers

Smoking usually happens in certain places, spaces you are familiar with, closed or open. If you have decided to stop smoking, then avoid these places. Make sure you ignore the need to get a cigarette, even if you are not carrying one when you are in one of these places.

Delay gratification

Delay the need to have a cigarette. Just tell yourself to wait and that you will get back to this craving when you can. Go to a public non-smoking zone, if you have to. Be around people who don’t smoke for a while. That also helps.

Chew something else instead

Give something your mouth will like instead. It could be flavoured chewing gum or something non-sugary like raw carrots or celery or even sunflower seeds.

Understand your craving

Your craving is quite strong when you stop smoking. Never think that you would be able to stop with just one cigarette. You will always end up having more than one.  If you realise this and also understand how damaging it is to your health, then you will be able to give up smoking even when you need to.

Workout to let it out

Try exercising on the bench or going for a run or a jog to take your mind off smoking. If you have to stay at home or are at work, try running up and down the stairs, doing some push-ups or squats.

Go Hobbying

Indulge yourself in hobbies. Do some knitting, light reading etc. They all help keep your mind refreshed and stress-free and take your mind off smoking.

Relax, relax, relax

Give your mind the reprieve it needs. Taking your mind off such strong craving can be difficult. You can try deep breathing, visualization, yoga and other meditation techniques or even calm yourself by just listening to music. Yogasanas or yogic postures are particularly helpful.

If these tactics do not work, try Kevin Parcell’s 5-Min Cure for Smoking Addiction

  1. Wait until you want a cigarette.
  2. Take a deep breath and focus on the desire and allow it to grow.
  3. Continue to breathe deeply as you focus on the desire as it increases. Your anxiety should become intense, but answer it by calling on the desire to increase!
  4. Within a few minutes, your desire to smoke will suddenly vanish, and instead, you’ll feel truly great.
  5. To completely end your addiction, repeat every time you have the urge to smoke. Your craving will vanish faster each time, usually in seconds.

You will be left with a genuine feeling of well-being and energy.

No matter how good they are, all these techniques including the 5-Min Cure are no substitute for some kind of human contact in person or online.

If you need help, do not hesitate to ask someone. Give a call to a friend you trust, tell them about how you would like to stop smoking. If that doesn’t help, get in touch with a support group for smokers.

Whatever you do, make sure you do not smoke, not just for yourself, but for the sake of your loved ones and for those around you. When you quit smoking, it just takes 72 hours to feel the difference. Smoking is a dangerous habit, but it is possible to stub it out before it causes irreversible damage to your health. Start today, start now!

Dr. Suhas K.R | Consultant – Surgical Oncology | Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Mysore

Narayana Health

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