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How to Quit Smoking -- A Proactive Approach

There are many things you can do while planning and implementing a quit smoking program which will increase the likelihood of your endeavor being successful.

First of all you must develop a strong desire to quit. Develop or strengthen that desire by reviewing information and facts about the dangers of smoking and consider the effects that continuing the habit will have on you as well as on your loved ones who stand to suffer not only because of your ill health and possible premature death, but also because of the ill-effects of secondhand smoke on their health.

Create short notes of why you want to quit smoking, such as the desire to live longer, to feel better, to look better, to protect your family from the harmful effects of secondhand smoking and to save money. Record the notes on paper or on a digital drive and read them at least once a day.

Next, develop a quit plan and set a date you plan to quit smoking altogether. Record your plan in writing or digitally, realizing you might have to adjust the quit date depending on your progress and circumstances.

Inform your family and friends of your decision to quit smoking and seek their support. Explain to them that you may become irritable or even irrational at times as you experience some of the withdrawal associated with quitting smoking.

Recognize and document what your smoking triggers are and devise a strategy for dealing with them, such as removing all ashtrays and cigarettes from the house and washing or steam cleaning all fabrics such as clothing, linen and draperies which harbor the smell of tobacco. It might also be necessary to shampoo your carpeting to rid it of recently coined third-hand smoke, which is that toxic mixture of gasses and particles including heavy metals which clings to a smoker’s hair and clothing and to any fabric material in an environment in which smoking has occurred. Experts feel that much like secondhand smoke, third-hand smoke is also harmful to health, particularly of children and infants.

Consult your doctor about quitting, especially if you plan to use nonprescription or prescription smoking cessation aids so as to increase the safety of your attempt to stop smoking and to increase the chances of it being successful.

Research any smoking cessation aid(s) you plan to use, evaluating both their effectiveness and safety. You might consider visiting the website of the Food and Drug Administration as well as seeking the opinions of your doctor.

Following the approval of your doctor, begin exercising three of four times per week once or twice per day as a starting point. Anaerobic exercise such as walking is the best type to begin with. It helps to relieve stress, rid the body of the toxins produced by smoking and promotes healing of the damage caused by prolonged cigarette smoking.

Once you actually begin your endeavor to quit smoking cutback on your smoking daily according to a set goal which includes the rate at which you will decrease the number of cigarettes per day smoked, unless you consider cold turkey to be the best approach for you.

Drink plenty of water to help flush the nicotine and other harmful chemicals in tobacco that have accumulated in your body from chronic tobacco use.

Change brands of cigarettes periodically while weaning yourself from cigarettes because the flavor and chemical differences between brands tend to make smoking less enjoyable and less automatic, thus increasing your awareness of the habit.

Curb your cravings with chewing gum, mints, toothpicks, flower seeds nicotine replacement aids, prescription drugs prescribed by your doctor, or other methods that seem to work. Remember however, nicotine replacement products are not intended for long-term use and that prolonged use of them essentially substitutes one nicotine habit with another.

Make a genuine effort to find another smoker who is also trying to quit smoking, and support one another by discussing the positive strides you are making.

Write down or record via computer how your smoking cessation plan is going. Include the successes and failures along with planned adjustments for any obstacles you might encounter.

Recognize and document the health rewards you experience from quitting smoking such as better breathing and reduction of blood pressure. It is not a bad idea to monitor your blood pressure with a home monitor prior to, during and after quitting smoking. Oftentimes review the data, particularly if you are tempted to resume smoking or you are stymied in your efforts to taper your cigarette smoking.

Monitor the amount of nicotine in your body and the lowering of the level as you quit smoking with the use of a quantitative nicotine test kit, and correlate the declining levels with differences in the way you feel, such as improved exercise tolerance and decreased coughing.

Reward yourself during and after you have successfully quit smoking in a way that is most encouraging to you and most likely to be incentive not to resume smoking. The reward could be something as extravagant as a vacation to the Bahamas or something as simple as a banana split. Recognizing anniversary dates of your liberation from the addiction of nicotine and continuing to reward yourself at those times can also provide significant incentive to not resume smoking.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. The author encourages Internet users to be careful when using medical information obtained from the Internet and to consult your physician if you are unsure about your medical condition.

Victor Battles
February 15, 2010

Educate yourself more on how to quit smoking and how a quantitative nicotine test kit can be an adjunct to your smoking cessation program.


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