Five things to consider when planning to quit smoking

Here are some tips and strategies to help you stay smoke-free

We all know someone who has been an avid smoker and has occasionally told us that they want to quit but have been unable to do so.

Quitting the habit of smoking cigarettes is difficult as giving up tobacco addiction can have quite a few side effects. These often include but are not limited to headaches, nausea, coughing and sore throat.

A member on the group Question Updates also sought advice recently for a friend experiencing withdrawal symptoms when he tried to quit smoking.

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The post read, “I was a smoker for 10 years but went cold turkey 30 days ago. Initially I was fine but lately craving for cigarette is becoming uncontrollable and experiencing withdrawal symptoms like irritability and sore throat. Please suggest how to overcome this as I don’t want to smoke again. Should I go for nicotine gum?”

Many other members have generously made suggestions about what to do to control the urges. Remember, the initial days of quitting the habit are tougher as your body craves for its daily intake of nicotine.

Five things to consider when planning to quit smoking:

Be Ready For Withdrawals

As mentioned above, quitting cigarettes, especially going cold turkey, can have side effects, so it’s better to prepare yourself for them.

For instance, keep snacks where you can access them and some over-the-counter medication to deal with the headaches and sore throat that are usually experienced in the first four to five days of quitting.

Avoid Supplements or Nicotine Gums

While some people suggest Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to ease people into giving up their tobacco addiction, it often lead to getting hooked to the NRT.

As a result, it is best to avoid using supplements or nicotine patches/gums and instead increase the intake of salads and juice to help the body detox naturally.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise not only helps one deal with the withdrawal symptoms physically but it also aids an individual psychologically as it curbs cravings for a cigarette.

According to studies, even moderate exercise, such as aerobics, can help reduce the urge to smoke and the effects can last up to 50-minutes after exercise.

Be Conscious Of Your Triggers

More often than not, people smoke at certain times of the day. For instance, soon after having a meal, during breaks in between work or when stressed.

Once you know what the trigger is you can try to manage what you would like to do beforehand. For example, have a chewing gum in between those work breaks or talk to someone when stressed.

Opt For Gradual Cessation

Going gold turkey, which means giving up your habit of smoking altogether, may seem more appealing but the withdrawal symptoms are more intense. It is always better to gradually taper off the substance.

However, consult a doctor if the side effects are too intense or take their guidance beforehand.

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