The first thing to do is set a date when you are going to quit smoking. Let’s start one week from today. That will give you plenty of time to practice with the weapons in your arsenal. Eight days from today, it will be the beginning of the end of your smoking habit.
Days 1 and 2
Examine your smoking behavior for the first two days. Every time you light up, ask yourself:
- Why am I smoking this cigarette?
- Would this be an easy one or a difficult one to do without?
- If I did not smoke this cigarette, what would I do instead?
Let’s get out and test your weapons today.
At least once today, use your weapons to shoot down the urge to smoke. During the five minutes that it will take for the urge to pass, try out some of your arsenal. Try one, or all, or find a combination that works for you.
Today is the big testing day. If you haven’t already tried it, skip those one or two cigarettes that you feel may be the toughest to give up in your daily routine. Pick the ones that you rated “difficult” during your monitoring period.
Remember, this is a practice period, and you must not get upset if you are unable to give up a difficult cigarette. You must practice and experiment with your different weapons to realize how you can be more effective.
If you found skipping that cigarette very difficult or even failed in the end, review any factor that got in the way of your success.
The most common causes of difficulty or failure that a potential quitter faces are:
- Chemical properties of addiction – When you do not have that cigarette, you feel lousy. If you are a heavy smoker, a nicotine patch may help to relieve your bad feelings.
- Social pressures – You may find yourself in a situation (card game, party, coffee break) during which you would normally smoke. It may help to let others know of your desire to quit, and also your reasons for quitting. Enlisting the aid of a non smoker to confide in may also help. Make sure that he or she is aware of your goals so that they do not say or do anything to instill a negative impact on your desire to quit.
If you feel that you may not resist the social pressures of smoking, consider the option of giving up these social encounters for two or three weeks until the urge passes and you can be comfortable again.
- Tension and negative emotion – A crisis occurs during your work or personal day, and one of the main reasons for you to smoke has been tension reduction. Try to deal with your negative emotions and use the tension reducing methods that we talked about earlier. Get away from the area that the tension is associated with. Take a walk, or go to another room. You may also find that nicotine gum will give you enough tension relief to get through.
Days 5, 6, and 7.
You are now heading down the home stretch. In the next three days, your goal is to come out of this week smoking half the cigarettes that you would normally smoke. If you started as a one pack a day smoker, cut back to ten cigarettes per day, or less. The fewer the better. During days 5 and 6, set your goals toward achieving positive results on day 7. Maintain your smoking record during these three days, and continue to decrease your dependency on nicotine.
What do you do if you still have doubts? This is probably due to your chemical dependency on nicotine. It is a highly powerful drug, and many factors have been working together to make you dependent. Discuss with your doctor about the feasibility of a patch or nicotine gum. Nicotine is the hook that has gotten you to smoke which carries the harmful effects to your body. With the help from the patch or the gum, you will have all he tools you need to successfully quit. The patch or gum will give you a steady influx of nicotine into your system, which will be reduced slowly over a period of several weeks. DO NOT SMOKE WHILE ON THE PATCH. You could experience a dangerous overdose of nicotine.
NOTE: Pregnant women should not use the gum or patch. Smokers with any form of heart disease should consult with a physician before using?
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