05 June, 2024

5 tested and tried steps to quit smoking

Quitting smoking is not a one-size-fits-all process, but combining these tested methods can significantly enhance your chances of success. It’s important to stay motivated and not get discouraged by setbacks. Each step towards quitting is a step towards a healthier and longer life. Here are 5 measures to help you stop the habit for good.

5 tested and tried steps to quit smoking

Quitting smoking is a massive effort, but it is a necessary step toward a better lifestyle. The route to becoming smoke-free is unique to each individual, but there are tried-and-true strategies that can dramatically boost your chances of success. Here are 5 measures to help you stop the habit for good.

Dr Amitesh Anand, Surgical Oncologist, Ranchi Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (RCHRC) said, “Smoking can take a great toll on people’s health and lives. Tobacco usage can cause several types of cancer, including lung, oral, and many others, in addition to conditions such as heart diseases. As an oncologist, I have observed that tobacco is preeminent in causing this current cancer epidemic. Curbing smoking is a vital step for public health. It’s important to help people break the habit – while the process can be challenging and overwhelming, lending them support can help empower them as they take a step towards a healthier life.”

What are your triggers?

Identifying what makes you want to smoke is the first step towards quitting. Triggers can be emotional, such as stress or anxiety, or situational, like having a cup of coffee or socializing with friends who smoke. Recognising these triggers can help you develop strategies to avoid them or cope with them in healthier ways. According to a study published in the journal Addiction, understanding personal triggers and planning strategies to avoid them can double the chances of successfully quitting smoking.

5 tested and tried steps to quit smoking

Go digital

There are numerous mobile apps and online platforms designed to support smoking cessation. These tools offer features like tracking your progress, setting quit dates, providing motivational messages, and connecting you with support communities. A review published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that digital interventions, including mobile apps and online support, can significantly enhance the likelihood of quitting by providing real-time support and resources.

The reward mechanism

Who dosen’t love to be rewarded for the hard works they do? Rewards can be a powerful motivator. Some people add financial incentives to encourage not smoking. These can include cash rewards, your favourite things, or other financial benefits for remaining smoke-free. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that financial incentives substantially increase the rates of not smoking among employees. Participants who received monetary rewards were more likely to quit and remain abstinent compared to those who did not receive financial incentives.

Exercising for the better

Doing regular physical activity can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress—common triggers for smoking. Research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that exercise can decrease the urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms by providing a healthy distraction and boosting mood. Even short bursts of physical activity, such as a walk, can be beneficial.

Changes in your diet

Certain foods and drinks can make cigarettes taste less appealing. For instance, dairy products and certain fruits and vegetables can alter the taste of tobacco, making smoking less enjoyable. Adding these foods into your diet might help curb your smoking habits. A study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that smokers who consumed more fruits and vegetables were three times more likely to be abstinent for at least 30 days compared to those who consumed fewer fruits and vegetables.

What are some alternative methods?

For some, traditional methods may not work, and alternative approaches can provide the needed edge. Acupuncture or meditation have shown promise in helping people quit smoking.

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that acupuncture might be helpful in reducing smoking rates. Doing meditation can help increase awareness of the present moment and reduce stress, which can be a significant trigger for smoking.

This article was first published on 5 June, 2024 in The Times of India

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