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5 Different Ways to Quit Smoking

February 5, 2020

What is the leading cause of cancer, ailments, and death in the United States? If you are looking for tips about quitting, you may have already arrived at the answer and it's exactly what you think: smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarettes are directly or indirectly responsible for one in five deaths or just under 500,000--approximately 480,000--unnecessary deaths in the U.S. per year.

Even smoking occasionally can have a dramatic effect on your health. Thankfully, there are many different ways to quit. Use the tools below that work for you and keep the others in mind should you need additional resources in the future.

1. Get Support

Support can take many different forms. Reach out for support in person, over the phone, or online. The American Lung Association (ALA) hosts eight-week group clinics for those who want to quit along with the support of others in their local area. Other organizations, like SMART Recovery and the American Cancer Society offer in-person support groups and/or group counseling for those looking to quit.

Similarly, there are many different hotlines you can call to talk to licensed therapists, addiction counselors, or volunteers who have successfully quit smoking. You can also subscribe to programs that will send personalized and automated texts, passing along words of encouragement, tips, and opportunities to check-in and log your progress as you quit smoking.

Finally, social media groups and private discussion forums connect you to other people just like you who are very much in the process of quitting and experiencing many of the same challenges and difficulties.

Research shows that quitting in numbers can be more effective. Those who participate in group counseling increase their chances of quitting by 30%. Having a friend who quits smoking increases your chances of successfully quitting by 36%, and a coworker who quits can boost your chances by as much as 34%.

2. Talk To Your Doctor

Another option is to talk to your doctor. Quitting smoking is important to your overall well-being and health. If you have tried to quit--unsuccessfully--your general practitioner (GP) or one of the many doctors working at nearby urgent care centers may be able to help. Doctors can help distribute and prescribe various methods of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), like nicotine patches and nicotine gums. Prescription-only medications like Chantix and Zyban curb cravings and help reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

3. Know The Risks

Just about all of us know that smoking isn't particularly good for your health. Fewer people take the time to learn exactly why it's detrimental to their health and admit the unpleasant truth that they are just as susceptible to its ill effects as anyone else.

Smoking can kill you. It's as simple as that. Smoking causes cancer, stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and more. Smoking around babies and children can markedly increase their risks of these health conditions as well.

4. Quit Cold Turkey

It's not for everyone. Still, quitting cold turkey can be a highly effective cessation method for some people. If you want to try quitting cold turkey, set yourself up for success with the following guidelines:

  • Prepare for unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Expect dry mouth, trouble sleeping, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, a cough, a sore throat, irritability, anxiety, depression, and the inability to concentrate. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help ease the physical symptoms of withdrawal. If you are taking a prescribed smoking cessation aid, talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications as well.
  • Pick a date and toss cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and anything that is part of your smoking ritual.
  • Replace old habits. Go on walks, jog, or chew gum to replace smoking.

5. Treat The Underlying Cause

Among those suffering from symptoms of anxiety, only 36.9% get treatment. Talk to your doctor or a therapist about your anxiety. Similarly, if you smoke to curb food cravings, talk to a doctor or dietitian about establishing healthier eating habits and a regular exercise program. Treating anxiety and/or tackling weight loss may help curb your cravings.

Don't give up. It takes an average of eight to 11 attempts to quit smoking for good. Keep at it until you find the method or methods that work for you -- and good luck!

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