It’s a scary feeling to realize that you need to quit nicotine. The road ahead will be long and hard, but at the same time, it’s a well-beaten path. Millions of people have been in the exact place you are at right now and come out the other side just fine.
It’s all a matter of following the right steps. In this article, we take a look at what it takes to leave nicotine behind for good.
When is it Time to Think About Quitting Nicotine?
When you start using it. Remember that DARE to be drug-free program you took when you were twelve? And everyone made jokes when the officer had their back turned, except it wasn’t so funny. They were telling the truth. Even a little bit of nicotine is both very addictive and bad for you. From a pure health perspective, even using it one time is too much.
Of course, no one is perfect. More than 12% of people use nicotine products currently, and a significantly higher number have tried them at some point. Using nicotine can be (and don’t tell the DARE officer we said this) a fun, pleasant way to socialize with people, or unwind after a long day.
Unfortunately, the cons more than outweigh the pros. The fact that you are reading this article at all means it’s time to quit nicotine. Of course, you don’t need us to tell you that that is easier said than done.
How to Quit Nicotine
Below we look at a few strategies that have been shown to help people quit nicotine. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that everyone is different. What works for one person may be quite wrong for another.
For that reason, you might notice that some passages of advice featured below may contradict one another. In these cases, it’s important to simply pick the process that you think will be most conducive to success.
Naturally, this advice won’t be very effective for people who are filtering a few packs a day through their lungs. It may help the social imbiber trim back their habit. If, for example, you know you like to have a smoke outside the bar at the end of the night, it’s probably a good idea to avoid that situation entirely, at least in the early stages.
Of course, you can’t stay cooped up at home forever. If you are going to go out, leave the nicotine at home. While you can still get yourself in trouble bumming a fix off someone else, you’ll do yourself a big favor coming correct.
If you are going to enter social situations while trying to kick the habit, it’s a good idea to take it easy on the drinks. It’s easy to make decisions you’ll regret later on with a drink or two in your system.
There are lots of nicotine replacement products that are significantly healthier than vaping. Nicotine gum or patches, for example, give you just enough to itch the craving without forming a new habit. There are cons to this approach. For one thing, many nicotine substitution products are very expensive, making them unsustainable in the long run.
They also require a degree of discipline. For the replacement product to really be effective, you need to know when to ween yourself off.
Put it Off
This one is so childish it just might work. Next time the craving for a nicotine product comes along, and you feel on the brink of succumbing to it, say “Fine. After I go to the store.” Or, “After I go on a run.”
By acknowledging the craving and then putting it off you give yourself the chance to brush the feeling off. By the time you’ve run your errand, the feeling might be gone. Even if it isn’t, you’ve at least done the good work of exhibiting mastery over your craving for thirty minutes or so. Baby steps, right?
Give Yourself Something to Chew On
Also silly, but sometimes effective. If you want a cigarette, instead opt for a different, less harmful oral stimulant. A raw carrot. A piece of gum. The dull side of a pencil. Some people like to dangle unlit tobacco products from their lips.
While this might work for you, there are reasons to avoid this route. For one thing, the chemicals in a tobacco product can still harm you even when it is unlit. Now, this may not feel like much of a threat to someone who has recently kicked smoking, but why expose yourself needlessly to the risk?
The other thing is, sticking a tobacco product in your mouth for any reason at all puts you dangerously close to using it the conventional way. Why run the risk at all? And of course, if chewing tobacco was your habit, the point is pretty much moot.
The Slippery Slope is Real
The slippery slope may be a logical fallacy, but when it comes to kicking nicotine, it’s all too real. One cigarette inevitably leads to a second and so on. You will have slip-ups from time to time. That’s to be expected. However, allowing yourself to “have just one” under the guise that it will help curve your craving isn’t a good idea.
Your mindset should be one of total prohibition.
When all else fails, look outside of yourself for help. Talk to a friend or family member about how you feel. If you don’t have a great support system, consider going online. There are plenty of online groups available that discuss nicotine withdrawals and help each other resist the urge to fall back into their old habits.
With all the options that are out there, there’s no reason to go through this alone.
Medical Disclaimer: All the content available on the website is just for informational purposes. It’s not a substitute for any Professional advice. Don’t take it personally. As a medical student, I’m just trying to use my information through my content, and please keep in mind it’s not written by a professional doctor. Use the data just for educational purposes.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.