We all are aware that smoking is injurious to health.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Smoking is linked with many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung diseases. Quitting smoking has many benefits such as reducing the risk of developing these diseases and improving mental well-being.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared May 31st as World No Tobacco Day, which is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the health risks of tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
Here are 10 ways to help you resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a craving strikes.
- Avoid places where smoking is allowed or ask to be removed from the area.
Tobacco urges are likely to be strongest in the places where you smoke or chew tobacco often, such as at parties or bars, or at times when you were feeling stressed or sipping coffee.
Be cautious of triggers.
Don't set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoke while you talk on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to keep busy with doodling rather than smoking.
Try nicotine replacement therapy.
Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays or inhalers, can help you overcome intense cravings. These short-acting therapies are usually safe to use along with long-acting nicotine patches or one of the non-nicotine stop-smoking drugs.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have had a lot of interest recently as a replacement for smoking traditional cigarettes. But e-cigarettes haven't proved to be safer or more effective than nicotine-replacement medications in helping people stop smoking.
Recognize that physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can make quitting difficult.
If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes. Then do something to distract yourself during that time. Try going to a public smoke-free zone. These simple tricks may be enough to move you past your tobacco craving.
Chew on something.
Give your mouth something to do to resist a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy. Or munch on raw carrots, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and tasty.
Don't give in to the temptation of ‘last one’.
You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don't fool yourself into thinking that you can stop there.
When you feel an urge to use tobacco, keep in mind that even though the urge may be strong, it will likely pass within 5 to 10 minutes whether or not you smoke a cigarette or take a dip of chewing tobacco. Each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to stopping tobacco use for good.
Get involved in a physical activity
Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings. Even short bursts of activity such as running up and down the stairs a few times can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog.
If you're at home or in the office, try squats, deep knee bends, pushups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs. If you don't like physical activity, try prayer, sewing, woodwork or writing in a journal. Or do chores for distraction, such as cleaning or filing papers.
Try relaxation techniques and make mindfulness a priority in your life.
Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Fighting back against a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by trying ways to relax, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage or listening to calming music.
Ask for help and support
Connect with a family member, friend or support group member for help in your effort to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk, share a few laughs, or meet to talk and support each other. Counselling can be helpful too.
You can also find support through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Telegram groups etc. for those who want to quit smoking or get support throughout their journey of quitting. Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter's blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be dealing with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
Remind yourself of the benefits
Write down or say out loud why you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These reasons might include:
- I am saving my loved ones from passive smoke
- I will be feeling better
- I am getting healthier
- I am saving money
Keep in mind that trying something to beat the urge to use tobacco is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you're one step closer to being tobacco-free.