Five Tips to Quit Smoking
November 8, 2022
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. In fact, smoking is the world’s top preventable cause of death. But we get it – it’s hard to quit. Here are some tips to make quitting easier.
What Nicotine Does To The Body
There’s science behind why it’s so difficult to quit smoking. Nicotine is addictive. Nicotine makes your body release dopamine, the feel-good chemical. And when you stop smoking, the drop in dopamine can make you feel anxious or depressed. Nicotine also acts as a stimulant. It helps people concentrate. And if they don’t have a cigarette, they have trouble focusing. This is why quitting is hard – but not impossible.
How To Make Quitting Easier
There are some ways to make quitting easier:
- Prepare to quit. You can’t quit smoking until you’re mentally prepared to do it. The American Cancer Society recommends you make quit day a big deal by telling friends and family to reinforce the pressure to quit. You should also throw away cigarettes and ashtrays and pick a strategy for stopping, like going cold turkey or using nicotine replacement therapies or other medicines. If you plan to join a support group, do it early. Ask friends and family who smoke not to smoke around you. On your quit day, change up your habits. Don’t smoke, stay busy, drink more water or juice, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Consider nicotine replacement therapy. Only 6% of people who try to stop smoking by going cold turkey without using a nicotine replacement succeed. The Food and Drug Administration has approved five kinds of nicotine replacement therapies: skin patches, chewing gum, lozenges, prescription nasal spray, and prescription inhalers. Talk to your doctor about which option makes the most sense for you.
- Consider an alternative to nicotine. The FDA has approved two non-nicotine-containing drugs to help smokers quit, bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). These prescription drugs work in different ways. Bupropion acts on chemicals in the brain that play a role in nicotine craving and reduces cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Varenicline interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain, which reduces the pleasure you get from tobacco use, and decreases nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
- Don’t try to do it alone. It’s usually easier to quit if you have support. It can come from counseling services, self-help documents, and support services. The National Cancer Institute provides help to anyone who wants to stop smoking through its helpline: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848); local and state Quitline’s: 1- 800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669); the LiveHelp online chat; a Smokefree website; the SmokefreeTXT text messaging service; Twitter, and other social media.
- Try alternatives. Some smokers have found it helpful to use alternative therapies to quit. Things like using filters, nicotine drinks, lollipops, straws, electronic cigarettes, acupuncture, hypnosis, or yoga.
Get the Care You Need
Talking to your doctor about the right way to quit smoking for you. If you do not have a doctor, Grady can help. If you need a primary care physician, book your appointment online at gradyhealth.org, use MyChart, or call (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.