Breaking Bad Habits: 4 Tips That Can Help You Quit Smoking

Contributed POST • by Charles Metson

Quitting smoking is hard. The addictive nature of cigarettes—not to mention the relentless marketing by tobacco companies—might have pushed you to continue using cigarettes despite understanding its detrimental effects. However, don’t be discouraged if your previous smoking cessation attempts haven’t been successful.

The truth is that quitting smoking often takes several tries. As such, a study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that it’s usually better to prioritize small, deliberate steps forward. Much as you would when striving for personal development, taking small steps—and small wins—can be more effective in the long run.

So if you want to break the bad habit of smoking, here are 4 tips that can help you quit:

Leverage nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

NRT addresses cigarette withdrawal symptoms through the use of tobacco-free nicotine products like pouches and gum. Nicotine pouches are placed between your gum and upper lip to disperse nicotine into the body. The pouches on Prilla, which offers free and fast delivery within the US, come from multiple brands, including ZYN and VELO. These pouches contain nicotine strengths that range from 2mg to 35.5mg for heavy smokers. Meanwhile, you chew nicotine gum until you feel tingling, then park it by your cheek while it releases nicotine into the bloodstream. You can easily find nicotine gum at your nearest Walgreens. If you have just quit smoking, you may want to start with Rogue gum as it has the fastest release rate and also comes in different strengths.

To start NRT, pick a nicotine strength that matches your former cigarette consumption. This can mean 2mg for light smokers and anything above 4mg for heavier smokers. From here, you can lower your nicotine consumption over time without experiencing smoking withdrawal.

Join a smoking cessation group

In his article about whether or not you should share your goals publicly, Dean Bokhari writes about how discussing your aspirations with others can significantly influence your behavior—but you need to be careful about who you share your goals with. If they're not supportive, they may only discourage you from reaching your goals. That’s why it’s helpful to find a smoking cessation group. All of you will be aiming for the same thing: to quit smoking permanently. In that case, there is no room for negativity or mean-spirited assertions that the aim of a healthier lifestyle is too difficult to accomplish. You’ll be able to share your milestones and struggles while celebrating others’ progress and giving tips on valuable strategies.

To find a group, you can call your local quitline, which can connect you to a highly-trained coach. This coach will guide you toward the next smoking cessation steps—including recommending a smoking cessation program or accountability group.

Engage in physical activity

One of the best ways to resist smoking urges is to exercise. This may sound daunting at first, considering that smoking often takes a physical toll on your body. However, the National Institutes of Health notes that even quick workouts can reduce smoking cravings up to 50 minutes after working out. That said, you can start out with exercises as simple as walking around your neighborhood or dancing for 5 minutes. Find an activity you like, start small, and gradually intensify your workouts from there.

Practice mindfulness

Even with all these strategies, you may still crave cigarettes to some extent. Rather than letting that be a reason to backslide, though, you can accept that fact and practice mindfulness instead. Notice your triggers: you may start craving a smoke when you're stressed or having your morning coffee. From here, observe the physical sensations of smoking urges in your body. Take a minute to breathe deeply and let those feelings wash over you—without acting on them—until they fade away. Mindfulness apps like Headspace can help you get started if you need some guidance.

Sometimes, it takes small steps to move forward. Try the tips above to slowly break the bad habit of smoking and improve yourself for the better.

Contributed post by Charles Metson