What are good non-medical ways to quit smoking?

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What are some helpful methods to try to stop smoking that don’t involve any medical devices (or, ideally, any other expenses)?

  1. Long ago, there were only non-medicinal ways to quit — and even though we live in more modern times, the old ways are still valid!

    Go with the turkey?

    The most common thing you hear is about quitting “cold turkey” (meaning stopping completely, all at once). While this is probably the best way to do it without medicine, there are many way to help you quit cold — and that is what you need to know to be successful.

    The fact that nicotine is so highly addictive is the reason that so many people feel that they cannot kick the habit without medical help. But think about this: The tobacco growers and cigarette makers are earning money from your smoking habit. Then the doctors (who yell at you for smoking) are making money prescribing the meds to help you quit, while the pharmaceutical companies are making the money producing products to help you quit.

    See any pattern here? It all comes full circle and lands in the pockets of others as you struggle with the addiction. So, skipping the middleman and doing it on your own can help you make a statement in and of itself! So keep reading for the best tips on how to go it alone.

    Eight tips to help you quit

    1Make two lists: the pros and the cons of smoking. I promise you that the cons will be a much longer list. Stick this on your fridge or mirror or anywhere you will see it often. Keep the cons in mind when you want that smoke.

    2Set a quit date. This is really important, no matter how you choose to quit. If you have a date in mind and know it is coming you can prepare yourself for it. Just waking up one morning and saying, “I am quitting today” rarely works, and you are smoking before you are out of your driveway.

    If it would help you to keep that date as a true commitment, then write out a contract and have someone sign it as a witness to your goal. Sometimes it is hard to keep a promise to ourselves — but it can be much easier if you are making the commitment to someone else. If you find that is true for you, then make the promise to your spouse or child. You can even make it in honor of someone you love who has died of a smoking-related illness. This may sound silly, but making this commitment for someone else can make it harder to go back and light up again.

    3Keep in mind the things that trigger your need to smoke. For many people it is common to want to smoke after a meal, upon waking up, before going to bed, when stressed out, and while working or playing on the computer.

    This means that you need to know your triggers, and make a plan in advance of how to deal with your cravings in another way. For some this means having gum in your pocket, chewing on a straw, learning meditation to handle stress, or getting totally involved in a hobby. For me, the answer was exercise. When I felt like smoking, I would jump on the treadmill. This not only gave me something else to do, but allowed me to focus on what a smoke free life would do for me. After awhile, I could job on the treadmill and not be out of breath. I found this to be a great motivator! For more excellent ideas of replacement activities, check out this list of 101 things to do instead of smoking.

    If possible, clear your house of all things smoking-related. No more ashtrays or lighters! When my client quit we went through her entire apartment and washed the curtains and blinds, and scrubbed the walls. The point was to get rid of every bit of nicotine in the house. If you are used to taking a smoke break after such a task, have some carrot sticks or tea ready for you instead of that cigarette! Many people use a cigarette as a reward for completing a task. Find other, healthier rewards for yourself!

    5Ever heard of a swear jar? Well change it around a bit, and apply the same principle to smoking. Think about how much money you spend each day/week/month on cigarettes. For each pack you do not buy you can put that money in your smoking jar and really reward yourself once you beat the addiction!

    6When you want to smoke, think of all the horrible things it does to your body. You can even go as far as hanging or carrying with you a picture of what a smokers lungs look like. Gross, yes, but effective! To see exactly what cigarettes do to your body, take a look here. I promise that before you can even finish reading it, you will be ready to set that quit date!

    7Try tapering off. Set a schedule and begin by smoking only a set number amount of cigarettes per day. After a few days, you can lower the amount until you are not smoking at all! It is not quite cold turkey, but it is still effective and relies solely on your own willpower.

    8Join a support group. You can find them locally or in an online community. It can be so helpful to be able to share your experience with others who are going through the same things. At Quitnet.com, you will find others like you, along with advice, and a large amount of support in general. You can also take a look for some Quit Smoking Meetup groups in your area.

    Keep the faith

    I hope that these tips are helpful to you. Please remember: quitting smoking may very well be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. You may fail a time or two, but do not let that discourage you! And if you relapse, don’t punish yourself — just begin again. Do it as many times as it takes to make you an official non-smoker. Your body (and your family) will thank you for it later.

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