Quitting smoking is probably one of the easiest things a person can do. After all, people do it every day. Some people do it many times every day. The hard part is staying quit. Fortunately, there are some things that can help us to quit smoking and to stay smoke-free.
The first thing a person needs to do is to have the right mind-set. Smoking is not necessary in order to have a good time. It doesn’t taste good. It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t relieve stress or help us to relax. The first time a person tries smoking, they don’t take a long drag, inhale deeply, exhale smoothly, smile and say, “Oh, that was really nice. I liked it so much, I think I’ll smoke three packs of those every day!” No, most people who smoke start out because of curiosity or peer pressure. It is never fun. Instead, it’s the idea that everyone is doing it, so we have to as well.
The next thing a person needs to do is to actually quit. Nicotine is addictive. The more we use an addictive drug, the harder it is to get off it. We would never recommend to an alcoholic that he or she just cut down. The alcohol itself causes cravings for more. Nicotine does the same thing, only stronger. Nicotine replacement therapy works only so far as to stop a person from lighting up. It doesn’t break that addiction, and many people find themselves increasing their use of these patches, lozenges and gum instead of cutting down. To quit and stay quit, the nicotine needs to be stopped abruptly and completely.
The third and final step to quit smoking is to find support. Support can be found in many different ways, places and forms. Remembering that nicotine is an addictive drug, I used drug therapy to quit. Wellbutrin is a prescription antidepressant with the wonderful side-effect that it causes people to stop craving nicotine. It also helps to avoid the depression that sometimes accompanies sudden, drastic changes in our lives. For those people who choose not to use medication to quit smoking, there are support groups available. The American Cancer Society provides free “No Smoking” signs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses a very successful program that is very supportive and also benefits the new non-smoker in other spiritual and physical ways. Most important is the support of family and friends. In order to avoid temptation, the ex-smoker must tell the people around him or her and entreat their help and support.
Quitting smoking doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating. With the right mindset, abruptly ending the nicotine intake and a good support system, anyone can learn to quit smoking and stay quit.