Quitting cigarettes is one of the biggest favors you can do for your health. Tobacco use damages the immune system, opening you up to a vast range of diseases. These include cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Because of these adverse health effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that smoking results in eight million deaths worldwide every year, making it a leading cause of preventable deaths.
Fortunately, you don’t have to keep up with the habit for the rest of your life. Although smoking cessation can be challenging, incorporating holistic lifestyle changes can significantly support your progress. Here’s what you need to know.
What should your smoking cessation journey look like?
In its December 2022 article “Why the ‘Cold Turkey’ Method of Quitting Vaping or Smoking Doesn’t Work — and What Does,” the Truth Initiative explains that out of 100 people who quit smoking cold turkey, only three to five stay successful after six months. This is why professionals advocate for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Under NRT, you’ll use nicotine alternatives in decreasing doses to help you lower your nicotine consumption while avoiding cravings. Although many quitting smokers turn to e-cigarettes for NRT, the metals and volatile compounds in their vapors can cause further damage to your health, particularly in the lungs.
One smokeless nicotine product that is effective is the nicotine pouch, which is tucked under the lip for a dose of nicotine. The VELO nicotine pouches available online at Prilla can be beneficial as they offer only the most popular flavors, reducing decision-making time while giving users a customized experience. They are also discreet and stain-free, so they’re easy to carry around and do not impact your oral health. Meanwhile, nicotine lozenges are consumed like normal candy and may be preferred by those who want the soothing motion of sucking to mimic the act of smoking. The Nicotex lozenges by pharmaceutical company Cipla are among the advanced goods formulated with technological innovations in NRT to help smoking cessation. These are sugar-free and designed to help you quit in 12 weeks.
Though these clean, smokeless nicotine products can protect your health while gradually and sustainably reducing your nicotine intake, their use should also be supplemented by behavioral support. These interventions cover the importance of quitting through support groups or counseling in person, online, or via telephone. Behavioral support can be administered by nurses, physicians, and counselors. By helping you understand the benefits of quitting and offering support, they can motivate you to keep going.
What lifestyle changes can support smoking cessation?
If smoking is the only thing you’re changing, you can easily fall back into old habits. So, in addition to the standard smoking cessation process, it’s integral for you to adopt holistic changes that supplement your efforts. These changes can be instrumental in further improving your health. Here are some of them.
Even small things unconsciously trigger smoking, so reflect on your patterns and observe what activities lead you to smoke. For instance, a prevalent trigger is drinking coffee, which studies from the University of Florida find may be due to a compound in the beans that heighten the relief provided by cigarettes. In this case, you can switch to other caffeinated beverages like black tea or matcha. You can also make similar changes for different triggers. If you smoke in the car, you can remove the ashtray. If you smoke at parties, avoid joining friends when they step outside to smoke. Simple modifications like these reduce the temptation to have a cigarette.
Manage your stress
One of the reasons smoking is difficult to quit is because it relieves stress. Although you can’t wholly avoid pressure or anxiety, managing stressors can help you avoid cigarettes. For example, you can avoid taking on too many responsibilities at work. You can practice time management or learn stress techniques like deep breathing and meditation to handle high-pressure situations better. Most importantly, take care of your health. Ailments can cause discomfort and frustration since you can’t function optimally. And especially in the first few weeks after smoking cessation, your immune system will be weaker than non-smokers’. Our post on comedian Billy Gardell‘s weight loss journey highlights the importance of a healthy diet and exercise to reduce the risk of illnesses. Similarly, smokers can avoid additional stressors due to health by staying physically active and adopting a well-balanced diet.
Seek social support
Seeking social support helps you be more accountable for your quitting efforts. When you have people who genuinely support you and remind you of your progress, you can become more motivated to continue your efforts. So, in addition to your smoking cessation counselors, consider spending more time with your friends and family while keeping them posted on your progress. Aside from emotional support, your loved ones can offer practical assistance, like joining you when you exercise or helping you stay preoccupied by taking up new hobbies with you. By involving other people, you don’t have to bear the weight of smoking cessation on your own.
Quitting smoking takes a lot of patience and resources. Learning more about smoking cessation and the lifestyle changes that can enhance its effects can go a long way in sustaining your efforts to quit.