How to Quit Smoking

By Danny Chadwick
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When it comes down to it, there really is only a handful of ways to quit smoking. Only the technique that each smoker who decides to quit uses is unique. Deciding it's time to quit is most likely the biggest factor in anyone's journey from smoker to non-smoker. The level of success comes down to nothing simpler than pure desire for change and the fortitude to do what is necessary to make that change.

Cold Turkey
Before the advent of some of the methods listed below, quitting smoking could only be accomplished by manning up and saying, "I ain't gonna do this no more." Of course, back then, the true destructive nature of tobacco was not known. While flushing your cigarettes down the toilet and walking away is a nice thought, and a method that works for some, the fact of the matter is that the addictive nature of nicotine and the associated withdrawals are simply too powerful for most smokers to overcome on their own. Especially when cigarettes are so easy to come by and in a moment of extreme frustration and craving, it's nigh unto impossible to resist a familiar comfort.

Weaning with Tobacco
A step down from the herculean effort of will required to quit cold turkey is simply to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke incrementally until the number of cigarettes you smoke per day becomes zero. The thing to remember with this method is that you must have a plan in order for it to work. Simply saying, "I'm going to cut back" isn't enough. Go to the store and buy a special calendar, choose the amount of time you want to give yourself to reach zero and plot out how many cigarettes you will allot yourself each day. Then buy a special cigarette carrying case. At the beginning of each day, consult your calendar to remind yourself how many smokes you will allow yourself to have that day and carry only that number in your carrier. The visual reminder of how many you have left for the day will force you to consider if you really want to smoke one each time you reach for a cigarette.

Nicotine Replacements
These can be anything from nicotine gum to patches and lozenges. They can be remarkably effective when you stick to the programs outlined in the included literature. It's important to remember that most of these replacements specify that you cannot smoke tobacco products while using a nicotine replacement. Doing so may lead to a dangerous amount of nicotine in your system that could result in you feeling quite ill and could, in some cases, require hospitalization.

Medication
This is possibly the most controversial of all the modern smoking-secession methods. Several drugs are marketed as the pill that kills the craving to smoke. The results have been mixed; medication works wonderfully for some. However, these drugs contain a much darker side. Because everyone reacts differently to medication, there have been reports of unwanted changes in behavior such as depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. Most of these drugs require a prescription from your physician. When seeking such a prescription, make sure you discuss all the possible mental and physical conditions that could be affected by this new and powerful medicine.

eCigarettes
It should be noted that the World Heath Organization does not consider eCigarettes a legitimate method of smoking cessation. It cites the lack of extensive scientific investigation of these products. However, it can be truthfully said that eCigs have the benefits of several traditional smoking-cessation methods. They give you the ability to quit tobacco immediately without going through the sometimes-debilitating withdrawal symptoms. Further, they offer a similar look and feel to tobacco cigarettes and allow you to choose your own nicotine level, enabling you to wean yourself off nicotine at your own pace. Further still, you have no fear of lighting up a tobacco cigarette instead if you want to because eCigarettes do not deliver nicotine directly into your blood stream like nicotine replacement therapy does. All things considered, eCigs are a solid alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

Summary
No matter what method you choose to quit smoking, the biggest obstacle, as well as the most valuable ally, is yourself. If you're not ready to quit or if you don't really want to, it will be impossible for you to do so. If you truly have the desire to quit, all the withdrawals and cravings you'll experience won't stand a chance against your will power and determination.

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