Do you feel the time has come for you to quit smoking for good? Congratulations! Increase your chances of success by adopting the best strategy.
Quitting smoking: dealing with physical, psychological and behavioural addiction
Quitting smoking is not easy to do. A person who smokes 10 cigarettes a day will bring a cigarette to their mouth about a 100 times a day (if they draw on a cigarette 10 times). Therefore, it is a difficult habit and addiction to break. Difficult, but not impossible. To succeed, you will probably need to use more than one strategy.
Stimulate your own motivation
Take the time to make a list of all of the reasons you would like to quit smoking. There may be many, like saving money, being healthier to travel, not smelling like smoke anymore and having less wrinkles. Your reasons are good reasons! If you need help, you can read this article: "Smoking cessation : find your reasons, find your motivation!".
Write down your most significant motivations and keep them in a place that is easily accessible (purse, wallet or refrigerator door). This will allow you to reread them regularly, especially when you feel your motivation wane. Think of a strategic place that will help to regularly remind you why quitting smoking is important to you.
Then, use these reasons to maintain your motivation. For instance, if you would like to save money by quitting smoking, you could put aside the money you usually spend on tobacco products in a separate bank account. That way, you could spoil yourself in a way that you couldn’t have done if you had continued smoking. You can use the following calculation tool to set your objective.
If you’d like to improve your physical condition to play with your children or grandchildren, make sure you do regular physical exercise during the smoke cessation process. Additionally, set gradual objectives, like walking or cycling a set distance. Each time you meet a challenge, it will be a victory, and you will be able to measure the benefits of quitting smoking.
Get the support you need
Some people need support to succeed in eliminating a smoking habit. You can convince your loved ones to quit smoking at the same time you do or ask them to encourage you. A craving to smoke lasts about five minutes. Go for a walk, play cards, any activity is good to distract you from smoking. Try to avoid situations that increase the risk of distracting you from your objective, such as taking alcohol or spending time with smoking colleagues during your break.
Certain supervised programs have proven their worth and will help you to eliminate this habit more easily. Visit quit smoking centres, the I QUIT NOW helpline, and the QUIT TO WIN challenge. If you feel you need advice or support, ask your pharmacist or doctor what resources are available to help you. They can also suggest reading material and provide various tips, like discarding ashtrays and smoking material, modifying your routine to go for a walk after a meal instead of having a coffee (which reminds you that you’d like to have a cigarette at this moment). For additional information, read the following article: "Do you want to quit smoking?".
Accept help to reduce physical addiction
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT)
These therapies help to replace the nicotine you inhale when you smoke. Various formats are available and it is often possible to combine one or more of them (patch, chewing gum, lozenges, inhalers and sprays). Most of them are reimbursed by insurance programs. They are prescribed by gradually decreasing the strength, so it is easier to quit completely, by reducing the effects of physical withdrawal.
The medication acts on the urge or the enjoyment of smoking
If you haven’t been able to quit smoking with NRTs or if you don’t like this option, there are other prescription medications available that act differently to facilitate smoking cessation. These medications help to reduce the urge to smoke.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the other methods available to help you quit smoking.
When it’s time to say goodbye to cigarettes, your pharmacist’s expertise can make all the difference. So, drop by your pharmacy without further delay!
If you don’t quite feel ready, or if you haven’t chosen a date yet, try to take certain actions to help yourself in the meantime, such as:
- Not smoking in your home
- Not smoking in your car
- Not smoking in front of your children
- Delaying the time of your first cigarette in the morning
This way, you will already be taking a few steps in the right direction. You will already have broken the ice for the moment you decide to take action!