Smoking cessation programs

If you’re serious about quitting smoking, there are programs that can assist you along every step of the way. The idea of even stepping foot into such a process probably seems daunting and extremely undesirable. No wonder, because you’ve probably been attached to that little stick of tobacco for quite some time; it requires money, but no effort, to smoke a cigarette—the artificial rewards that it offers involve activating the pleasure centers of your brain and providing endless hours of comfort. Well it’s time to move past that and move on to bigger and better things. It will be hard—and will also require determination and commitment—but it will also be worth working toward. You will have even bigger rewards awaiting you at the end of this journey, mainly that of your health. You can do it, and there is proof because people have done it before.

Steps to Quit Smoking
Some people feel that they are well-equipped to get over the addiction on their own, and so there are steps to help that person accomplish such a task. In any case, it is always better to be prepared for however you decide to do it, especially if you’ve been smoking for decades. These steps to quitting could be considered a part of a program because it does involve some structure. offers excellent advice and this article will sum it up.

  • Figure out why you smoke in the first place, and try to substitute the feelings you get from it for other things. For example, if you smoke to reduce stress or feel relaxed, try doing meditation or deep breathing exercises. If you smoke because you’re bored or lonely, find something you truly enjoy and make it an everyday hobby, or for whenever you feel that cigarette desire coming on.
  • Identify your reasons for wanting to quit. If you don’t have a plan in mind, it will be easier to fall through the cracks. For this part of the “program” you will need to address, in addition to why you smoke in the first place, your smoking habits and the techniques that will be helpful for you in the quitting process. Sample questions are: do you need to smoke at every meal? How many packs do you smoke a day—would a nicotine patch be sufficient? Is smoking cigarettes connected to any other addictions for you? Would you mind talking to someone about your addiction?
  • Set a quit date. It is important that you have goals in mind every step of the way, and for that matter, a goal for when the end is going to happen.
  • Tell family and friends. If people close to you know that you are trying to quit smoking, they will undoubtedly show their love and support and be there for you when you need them.
  • Dump all nicotine/tobacco products. If you’ve been a smoker for any amount of time, you probably have more than that one pack in your pocket or buried in your purse. Get rid of all the packs you have, including those in your car, house, and work to eliminate the temptation.
  • Talk to your doctor. Physicians are excellent resources for both help and support.

Managing Cravings
Nicotine is a very powerful substance. Therefore, when you don’t provide your system with it, you will have withdrawals from the moment that you first say “no.” In the first 3-5 days, you will experience some or all of the following physical symptoms:

  • Irritability, frustration, and/or anger
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased appetite

Remember, there are ways to deal with every part of this process, a.k.a. having a substitution for when you would normally need a cigarette. For example: staying active, keeping your mind, hands, and fingers busy, having an oral substitute, finding different ways to relax, and drinking plenty of water to rid your body of the nicotine faster.

Other Programs for Smoking Cessation
After talking with your physician, he or she will help you get started on the type of smoking cessation program that is right for you. Your physician may decide to offer medication therapy, either nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine patches or gum would be an example of the first, and medications such as bupropion and varenicline don’t contain nicotine but are meant to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Don’t Give Up
Realize that it is okay if you slip up once; that doesn’t mean you can’t ever quit permanently, nor does it mean that you have to finish the pack. Learn from the experience, find out why you slipped up, and try something different next time. Get a grip on where you are and go from there. Support will be given to you from many different places, and it’s okay to rely on that. There are many websites that offer advice for those who are trying to quit smoking, so don’t hesitate to use them either.

Last updated on Feb 7th, 2011 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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