By Amelia Harris
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
Each year, over 50% of smokers attempt to quit smoking. Despite this, data from the Office of the Surgeon General indicates 2 in 5 fail to do so successfully. This is because tobacco cravings can be overwhelmingly irresistible, especially since many users have a dependence. Nonetheless, holding your ground is possible. So instead of having “just one” cigarette to quell the urge, here are five tips to say “no” to tobacco cravings.
Avoid Smoking Triggers
In order to quit smoking, you must first pinpoint why you smoke. Smoking triggers include places, people, or situations that push you towards a cigarette. Since tobacco cravings are most potent in the face of these triggers, it’s important you identify them early on. To do this, log specific details of each time you smoke in a tracking journal. Over time, this practice will give you a better idea of what or who to avoid and help you assign appropriate coping mechanisms. Understandably, not all triggers are escapable. In tight situations, it can be helpful to delay and distract yourself with simple activities, such as chewing on gum or toothpicks. This helps you tide over cravings and prevent potential relapses.
Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy
For long-time smokers, going cold turkey is a tall order. Thus, using cessation aids to ease into the process, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, can be beneficial. NRTs are smokeless cigarette alternatives that reduce cravings through controlled doses of nicotine. Among those available, nicotine pouches are gaining popularity due to their affordability and variety of flavors. For instance, On! nicotine pouches come in citrus, cinnamon, and wintergreen flavors that help refresh the palette while eliminating bad breath and excessive spitting. They are also tobacco-free and ultra-compact, making them easy to conceal under the lip when out and about. These pouches can be used in combination with other NRTs like the Habitrol patches, which transdermally release a sustained dose of nicotine throughout the day. Together, NRTs make suppressing withdrawal symptoms more manageable for a longer period of time.
Adopt Lifestyle Changes
As you curb your nicotine addiction, adopting a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet and exercise will keep your body in the right state. For instance, certain foods have the ability to reduce tobacco cravings. Dairy products can make cigarettes unpalatable, while ginseng tea can reduce the very effects of nicotine dependence. As such, consuming more of these foods can deter you from cigarette use. Additionally, exercise moves your focus away from tobacco cravings, making it easier to work through them while reducing the stress they incite. Even short bursts of activity, like a few squats or a quick jog, can do the trick. Through these lifestyle changes, you make room for healthier habits and leave behind adverse ones like smoking.
Try Holistic Practices
Since most people smoke to cope with stress and anxiety, learning to relax can be key to quitting the habit. While meditation and acupuncture are holistic practices that have long been recommended in this regard, smokers can also explore an emerging option in aromatherapy. As discussed in Ty and Charlene Bollinger’s guest post, the therapeutic usage of essential oils can safely relieve stress and positively impact your wellbeing. By using a diffuser, aroma stick, or directly applying a small amount on your skin, essential oils can stabilize your mood and reduce the intensity of potential cravings. To start, consider lavender and chamomile for anxiety relief and sleep improvement. You may also use peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary to increase mental clarity and avoid fatigue. In this way, cessation can be relaxing, and pleasant, yet highly effective.
Seek Help and Support
While some smokers turn to medical support, others opt to seek help and support from those around them, including friends, family, and fellow quitting smokers. Indeed, many previous smokers identify calling in reinforcements as an effective means to receive a network of encouragement and accountability. You can take it a step further by joining an online community or program. This way, you can learn from the firsthand experiences of others on what works and what derails cessation attempts. You can also get access to helpful resources, such as an informative quit plan that outlines concrete steps you can take.
Quitting smoking is no easy feat, but the tips mentioned above can set you on the right track. Give it enough time and effort, and you, too, can successfully pull it off.
About the author:
Amelia Harris is a writer and eco-activist, interested in health and all things esoteric, with a passion for sharing good news and inspiring stories. She is a staff writer for Wake Up World.