Making the decision to quit smoking, whether it be cigarettes, marijuana, vaping, or tobacco, is a huge decision for your wellbeing. It is only part of the journey though, because quitting smoking is a daily battle.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths each year. We all know that smoking is detrimental to our health, but the addictive qualities of tobacco, marijuana, and vaping makes them so hard to quit.
So, where do you even start once you decide to quit for good? Well you basically have two paths you can take. You can either quit abruptly or quit gradually. Whichever path you take is completely up to you, but either way, you need to set a “quit date”. You will want to choose a day that is not too far away yet gives you time to prepare both mentally and physically. Try to choose a day when you know you will be busy and possibly with others who can help you if you start to crave smoking. Throw all your cigarettes, marijuana, vape juice, and tobacco away so you will not have it accessible if you feel the urge to smoke.
One of the main things you need to do amidst all of this is to find a different outlet to give you the release that smoking does. Most people smoke because it helps relieve the stresses of daily life. So, by finding a different way to do this, you will lessen your urge to smoke. Try yoga, running, crafting, drawing, or adopting a pet; anything that you love to do that will help keep your mind off of needing to smoke in order to feel better. You can even keep a journal to document your journey so you can look back when you need inspiration to keep going.
This may sound cliché, but use nicotine gum/lozenges, or a patch to help you overcome your addiction. These types of products are around, because they actually do work. They help to kick your addiction for good, which is key. If this doesn’t seem to work, you can see your doctor about being prescribed non-nicotine drugs like Chantix, nasal spray, or an inhaler to help with this.
You can also get support through the National Cancer Institute. You can call them at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848), chat with them online, visit their website, text them, or even tweet them.
In this day in age, there are several apps on your smartphone that help you quit smoking. Some of the most popular include Quitters Circle, Quit It Lite, Kwit, and Butt Out. Many of these apps offer real time tracking into your progress and offer forums where you can talk with others who are on the same journey as you. Apps are a great tool of encouragement, because they help you see the great things you are doing for your health as you work towards completely cutting out smoking for good.
If you are a marijuana smoker as opposed to cigarettes, things like nicotine patches aren’t going to help you as much. Marijuana helps to ease anxiety and stress, so like mentioned before, finding a new outlet to use to ease your anxiety is necessary. Try exercising, writing, painting, or adopting an emotional support animal. You will face withdrawals when stopping smoking marijuana, which causes insomnia, irritability, appetite/weight changes, and flulike symptoms. This is the hardest part of quitting it. If you have a severe addiction, it may be necessary for you to enter a 12-step program or rehab to be able to kick the habit forever.
Vaping has become extremely popular among today’s youth. E-cigarettes were first touted as a way to quit smoking cigarettes, but they have proven to be just as destructive to your wellbeing. Some substitutes when you feel the urge to vape are chewing bubble gum or gumballs, toothpicks, hard candy, lollipops, sunflower seeds, jelly beans, or even chewing on straws. You should also try to substitute a food for your favorite vape juice flavors. If you love strawberry vape, try some dried strawberries or strawberry flavored candy instead. When you quit vaping, you are likely to experience symptoms including headaches, anxiety, tremors, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and increased appetite. Get rid of all of your vaping supplies to start off to ensure that it is no longer accessible to you. For help, you can call 1-844-8-NO-VAPE (1-844-866-8273), chat online, or text using This is Quitting.
If you do dip or chew (smokeless tobacco), most of the advice about cigarettes is going to apply to you as well. The main difference though is that you will want to find something to put in your mouth to replace the chew. Try sunflower seeds, sugar free gum, hard candy, mints, or toothpicks. Again, throw all of your chewing tobacco away so it is not accessible to you. The American Cancer Society says to use the “Four D’s” when you feel the urge to use chew. They include:
This guide from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is a great resource and tool. (Fill out all of the quizzes, they are super eye opening!)
The helplines and online chats for smoking cigarettes can help you with chewing tobacco as well!
Deciding to quit smoking cigarettes, marijuana, vaping, and chewing tobacco is the biggest step you will take on your journey to being smoke free. Realizing that you are addicted and need to make a change for your wellbeing is a huge step to bettering yourself and extending your life and its quality. This will not be an easy journey by any means. It will be an uphill battle that will take day by day, if not minute by minute tenacity and persistence. There are tons of resources and so much help out there waiting for you to use.
Here are some more amazing resources from experts:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)