Note: The only product LUCY sells that is approved for smoking cessation is our nicotine lozenge product. If you are hoping to quit smoking, please use our great tasting nicotine lozenges.
Statistically, it can take anywhere from 14 to 66 days to form a habit. With tobacco however — the drag of a cigarette, the effects of tobacco leaves, and most recently, the high nicotine content of an e-cigarette can cause a tobacco habit to form in a fraction of the time.
This potency of this habit, especially as more years go past, makes quitting smoking a herculean task times two. A nicotine dependency can be traced to the hits of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure) the body receives when consuming cigarettes. This chemical is repeatedly released while smoking, teaching the brain to keep using tobacco over and over, forming a habit.
With the well-publicized dangers associated with smoking, however (refresher: cancer, heart disease, lung disease, bronchitis, etc), a break from this habit could do the well-being, a world of good. However, breaking a smoking habit is no easy task.
If you're determined to blow out your smoking habit to improve your health and wellness, here's a timely plan to guide the transition:
Decide to quit smoking
Making the decision to quit is hard, ask the 7.5% of ex-smokers who in 2018, successfully ended their run with cigarettes. The nicotine withdrawals, coping with smoking triggers, having nothing to pass the time during slow days — these challenges can make anyone double-think a decision to quit smoking, and perhaps even have a comforting cigarette for the mere thought.
However, considering the chances of an improved immune system, a boost to energy levels, a reduction to a risk of cancers which include: lung cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney, bladder, and pancreatic cancer. Of which benefits also include better oral health, an improved sex life, and better blood circulation — all possible after quitting smoking — that decision is one your health will thank you for.
Mark a date out
With the benefits of a smoke-free life in mind, the decision to quit, though difficult is more than worthwhile. For some, this decision is enough for the same-day action of tossing all cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia. However, picking a date to work towards might be a better, more comfortable pace after deciding. We recommend picking a date two weeks from when your decision is made.
Within that time, get familiar with your decision by engaging in the following:
- Try to have a smoke-free day
- Make your home and car smoke-free
- Attempt to resist smoking in places you normally would i.e bars, at work during breaks. Practice saying no to cigarette offers in such places.
- Tell partners, friends, and family members of your decision to quit. Encourage smoker friends to support you by keeping their smoking to a minimum or zero when you’re present.
- Try out Nicotine Replacement Therapy like nicotine gum or lozenges.
Recognize the reasons for deciding to quit
Deciding to quit cigarettes and starting a countdown to that effect is great, but constantly recognizing the reasons for your choice, is a solid step ensuring you don’t revert to old habits.
Whether it be to push for longer, healthier life; to save money on cigarette spending, to set a good example for family and friends. Perhaps even to look or smell better, or to take control of your life — list the reasons out and familiarise yourself with them. Remember your motives when it is especially hard to hold off on a smoke.
Identify and track smoking triggers
A trigger is anything that has you reaching into your pocket, glove compartment or drawer for a cigarette. A lot of things can activate an instant need for a cigarette — these can be emotional, every day, social, or withdrawal triggers.
Emotional triggers: if you’ve ever found yourself reaching for a cigarette during a stressful situation, after a fight or even while happy; you were triggered by the emotions of the situation to smoke. An emotional trigger can stem from anxiety, boredom, loneliness, peace of mind etc.
Managing these triggers will require a lot of work. However, finding ways to cope with your feelings without the use of cigarettes can go a long way. Speak to friends, take deep, slow breaths to handle stressful times, and make sure to exercise to release dopamine and endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals.
Everyday triggers: these are otherwise known as pattern triggers. Consider those routine activities that are usually accompanied by a cigarette or two: waking up in the morning, drinking coffee, watching television, talking on the phone, after sex, driving etc.
One way to beat these patterns is to break them. Find alternatives when engaging in these activities: try exercising after waking up. Brush your teeth after having coffee, chew gum while watching television. A stress ball could be a welcome distraction while on the phone, amongst other viable replacement practices.
Social triggers: these triggers are especially difficult to navigate as they consist of friends and loved ones you’re comfortable with, places you’re most relaxed in, and situations that are most welcoming of one or more sparked cigarettes.
This could be at a bar, party, concert, seeing someone you’re acquainted with smoking, being offered a cigarette, and so on.
Because these situations provide easy avenues to slip back into a smoking habit, the best decision would be avoiding them altogether. Asking your smoker friends and acquaintances to understand the big change you intend to make, can also guide their smoking behavior when you are present. Over time, saying no to offered cigarettes in social settings and being unaffected by communal smoking, will come easily.
Imagine doing something every day for years, and then one day, deciding to bring it to an abrupt end. Throw in the very addictive nicotine into this scenario and that decision goes from hard, to downright treacherous.
Your body is sure to go through many processes while craving its usual nicotine: smelling phantom cigarette smoke, craving a cigarette, fiddling with lighters, cigarette sticks, or matchboxes. Others include feeling restless and having a constant need to put have something in your hands or mouth.
To counter this, distract yourself with exercise, work, and other worthwhile activities. A suitable Nicotine Replacement Therapy can also help in beating nicotine cravings.
Keeping note of these triggers and the measures used to defeat them, can provide good references when faced with tempting situations.
Set attainable benchmarks
Envisioning your life cigarette and nicotine-free might cause you to race for the finish line, without appreciating what a journey quitting cigarettes really is.
Attainable benchmarks, like the first smoke-free week, the first month, quarter, year, and so on, offer more realistic, easier to meet measures of the time spent cigarette free.
Select a Nicotine Replacement Product
To ease your body away from cigarette-supplied nicotine, Nicotine Replacement Therapy is a viable alternative, plus, a great move when deciding to quit smoking.
NRT works by releasing small doses of nicotine into the body, without any of the harmful chemicals present in a cigarette. Wondering about its effectiveness? A study carried out on 422 patients of a smoking cessation clinic discovered an overall success rate of 35%, with cases of relapses being majorly caused by a lack of determination.
For safe and healthy replacement therapy products, try the Nicotine Lozenges which are a great step to helping kick the habit altogether.