Why is Quitting so Hard?
No one will ever tell you it’s easy to stop smoking because it is an addiction, with both physical and psychological components. The best way to quit smoking will need to take those two distinct things into consideration. Smokers often become physically, as well as emotionally dependent on nicotine. For many smokers, quitting leads to withdrawal symptoms which include nervousness, irritability, and nicotine cravings. One important dependence on cigarettes seems to be a psychological dependence, as cigarettes can act as both a stimulant and a sedative, depending on the general mood of the smoker. In addition, recent studies have shown that nicotine is a mild antidepressant as well. Therefore, in my experienced opinion, the best way to stop smoking cigarettes takes all of these symptoms into consideration.
In general, smokers will smoke to raise the happy, stimulating neurotransmitter dopamine, and also to raise the relaxing, calming neurotransmitter GABA. I personally think that being mindful of this basic physiology is key when it comes to giving up smoking.
It would be unfair if I didn’t review all of the well-known smoking-cessation methods with their success rates before discussing something rather new and unstudied (but quite logical).
Anyone preparing to quit smoking needs to review all of the methods of quitting, to decide which stop-smoking method would work best for them. Surprisingly enough, recent research suggests that for many smokers, formal and often expensive stop-smoking programs aren’t necessary.
In fact, a widely publicized study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who stopped smoking on their own – cold turkey – were twice as likely to stay off cigarettes as were people enrolled in stop-smoking programs.
Of the study subjects who successfully quit smoking, more than 90% did so, on their own. Smoking cessation programs proved most useful for people who smoked 25 or more cigarettes a day.
In terms of evaluating the formal stop-smoking programs, most experts have trouble recommending one over another. The research has focused primarily on various programs’ one-year quit rates – the percentage of graduates who still aren’t smoking at one year.
For most formal stop-smoking approaches, the one-year quit rate ranges between 20% and 35%. But researchers haven’t had much success in identifying the specific characteristics that make a program work, or what type of person is most likely to benefit from each. That’s why I’d like you to try it “my way” (which I’ll discuss at the end) as what I have observed to be the best way to quit smoking.
Getting yourself into the right frame of mind is the first step toward stopping smoking. Studies have shown that the best predictors of success are a person’s readiness to quit smoking, and belief in his or her ability to do so.
Readiness and belief in oneself don’t necessarily mean that you’ll be successful during your first attempt – only that you’re committed enough and confident enough to try again if necessary. Many ex-smokers didn’t succeed in their first try, but had to make several attempts in order to quit for good.
It’s important to view every unsuccessful attempt as a learning experience rather than a failure. Your ability to keep relapses in proper perspective has a lot to do with your future success at staying off cigarettes.
Is a formal program the Best Way to Stop Smoking Cigarettes?
A formal stop-smoking program may be of benefit to you if you’d feel more comfortable in an organized group – or if you’re a heavy smoker who’s made numerous unsuccessful attempts to quit. The various smoking-cessation plans are quite similar.
The typical program lasts four to six weeks, and participants usually meet once per week. Most incorporate behavioral and psychological approaches:
- They use “nicotine fading” (cutting down on the number of cigarettes and switching to low-nicotine brands).
- They also offer self-help materials that participants can use at home.
It may be helpful to use nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. It is also very helpful to set a target “quit date”, so that you have a goal which can be reached. In addition, a very powerful tool at your disposal are supplements to raise brain chemicals (called neurotransmitters), which you are likely low on. Look at the very last paragraph for this information. (Yes, this is “my way”).
Assessing Whether or Not You Are Ready To Quit
Ask yourself whether you really want to quit. If you try to quit for someone other than yourself, you may not make a full attempt. Review the medical reasons to stop smoking. If you give up cigarettes, it will certainly help your asthma or COPD management if you have either of these diseases. It will decrease your risk of lung cancer and several other cancers, as well as your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other vascular disease. Smoking constricts blood-flow to the face resulting in more lines and wrinkles- so even your appearance will improve.
Remember that cigarettes smell really unpleasant to non-smokers. Public opinion polls show that non-smokers are considered more attractive. In addition, men who smoke heavily can have difficulties with sexual potency. Remember also that if you stop smoking, your breath will smell better, your teeth will be whiter, and you won’t have to endure disapproving stares whenever you light up.
You’ll save money! Not only will you probably pay lower insurance premiums, but you will have extra dollars to spend if you stop spending your money on cigarettes. Now let’s talk about how to get ready to quit for success, no matter what route you go.
Try different ways to relax
If you use cigarettes to relax, you’ll need a substitute. Start an exercise program using one of the myriad of article in this website. Try some of the relaxation breathing exercises or other methods in the stress management articles. See if one of our relaxing detox baths would help you relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Don’t Worry About Weight Gain
Fear of weight gain is often a big hindrance to smoking cessation, especially in woman. Granted, nicotine does cause a slight increase in the basal metabolic rate, which can often be offset by embarking on an exercise program during your smoking cessation efforts. You can also just add metabolism boosting supplements to your supplement regimen. You can go on a healthy ketogenic weight loss diet.
The Best Way to Quit Smoking
Because there is “no money in it”, neurotransmitter replacement therapy hasn’t been studied for smoking cessation. There’s money in drugs- not in natural therapies in case there is a question in your mind about why I just said that. Acupuncture has been studied, with positive findings. And the mechanism of action is thought to be the raising of neurotransmitter levels. So, I ask- why not just give your brain what it’s seeking? Why resort to pharmaceuticals which sort-of do the same thing, but with all the side effects pharmaceuticals inherently have?
You can raise dopamine easily with a combination of l-tyrosine and SAMe supplements. You can quell any anxiety you have with pharmagaba to raise your GABA levels. These will help tremendously by addressing your cravings. You can supplement your brain chemicals while you also do a group program or have acupuncture, start an exercise program or chew nicorette gum. You should not take these with pharmaceuticals used for smoking cessation. Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health-I wish you all the luck in the world.