How to quit smoking

Some facts

Did you know that each day, worldwide, about 15 billion cigarettes are sold? Or, to be more exact, 10 million every minute? There are more than 1.2 billion smokers worldwide which means that about 17% of the world population is smoking. So if you are a smoker, now you know that you are not alone, on the contrary, you are just one of a large group of population who enjoys a puff.

As a smoker you probably already thought about quitting or even tried to quit but did not succeed. According to CDC nearly 70% of the cigarette smokers in US want to stop smoking. 40% of the US smokers attempted to quit smoking in the past years. The number of the smokers who manage to quit smoking is small and many of them start smoking again.

Why it is so hard to quit smoking

There are more than 4000 different substances in a cigarette, but the substance that is highly addictive is the nicotine. In just 6 seconds after inhaling the cigarette smoke, the nicotine reaches the brain, more exactly a part of the brain responsible for the reward and pleasure sensation. Here the nicotine favors the secretion of dopamine which is the pleasure hormone.

A smoker is accustomed with higher levels of dopamine induced by the cigarettes so he needs to smoke just to feel fine. The addiction is quite strong for long time smokers and quitting is so hard that most of them will not succeed.

How to quit smoking

The number of smokers who manage to quit is so small because besides the tough fight with addiction most of them try to quit without professional help or guidance. There are things that help quitting so here you have some steps to eliminate the cigarettes out of your life for good. If you can follow them it should be easier to quit.

1. Identify your personal reasons to quit smoking. Whether it is about health issues, to save money or to make a better environment for your family it helps to know why you want to do it. If it’s only about spending less, there are easier ways to save money on cigarettes.

2. Pick a quit date, circle it in your calendar to see it every day and prepare yourself for it. It is better to choose a day with little or no stress and if possible free of temptations. Try to choose a date within two weeks to have enough time to prepare but not too long to lose your interest.

3. Tell the family that you are quitting. The support of the family or other important people in your life is essential. They can help you go through this.

4. Get rid of all smoking reminders: cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays and matches. You should also try to get rid of the cigarette smell from your home, car and office because it can trigger a craving that will be hard to fight.

5. Identify smoking triggers and find ways to deal with them. Write down the things or the situations that make you feel like smoking and find ways to deal with them.

6. Plan milestones and set up rewards. You should celebrate each milestone including 24 hours smoke free, one week, one month and one year without cigarettes. Do something nice and smoke free.

7. Prepare for withdrawal. Your body is addicted to nicotine and will have to adjust to not receiving it anymore. This is called withdrawing and there are various over the counter medications which can help you. The withdrawal signs will gradually disappear as you manage to stay away from cigarettes.

8. Set an immediate help procedure. You might need help in the first few weeks, so a quit line, a support group, a family member, or a good friend can help you in the moments you feel the urge to light up a cigarette.

These steps will help increase your chances to quit smoking but remember that it is very hard and it’s all up to you. Do not despair and do not feel ashamed if you tried and didn’t succeed. Maybe next time you will be more prepared and you will it do it.