If you’re trying to quit smoking, you probably already know what I’m about to say: smoking sucks. While most people know smoking cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, there is a host of other health problems associated with smoking cigarettes including:
• Increased risk of Coronary Heart Disease
• Increased risk of stroke
• Cardiovascular disease
• Gum infections
• Reduced fertility
• Decreased bone density
• Cancer in the head, neck, lung, stomach, kidney, pancreas, colon, bladder, and cervix
Smoking leads to more deaths in the United States than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents, and firearm-related injuries combined!
Even though the CDC and the Surgeon General have been preaching the dangers of puffing on tobacco for years, roughly 3,200 people under the age of 18 light up for the first time every day!
On a positive note, the number of adult smokers has declined significantly over the past 50 years. Be Tobacco Free reports that the number of adult smokers has dropped from 42 percent to 18 percent since 1964.
Why it’s so hard to quit
Even if you know you should quit smoking, making that leap (and sticking with it) is often easier said than done. But why is quitting so hard? Psychology Today points to two neuroscientific studies that show that the ability to quit smoking may link to certain areas of the brain, including the interpeduncular nucleus. Scientists used light to activate this region of the brain in mice and found that they exhibited the same symptoms a smoker might experience during withdrawal. Scientists believe that creating pharmaceuticals that target the area of the brain affected by the withdrawal symptoms could help make quitting a bit easier.
When you smoke, your blood absorbs the nicotine. The nicotine travels through your bloodstream to your brain, releasing pleasurable endorphins. The nicotine can make you feel happier and increase your heart rate. When the nicotine wears off, your brain (and your body) wants more.
While quitting can be very difficult, and it may even feel impossible, know that the worst symptoms only last up to a few weeks. If you can find a way to get through the first month or two without relapsing, you could be well on your way to a smoke-free life. We’ve collected 30 different ways you can make the quitting process easier. Keep reading to learn more.
Smoking cessation resources
If you’re ready to quit smoking, check out a few of these helpful tools to get you started on the right track.
Method 1: Patches and nicotine replacement
One method popular among people trying to “kick the habit” is nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy typically involves the use of products that contain lower doses of nicotine. These patches provide the hit of nicotine that can ease withdraw symptoms and eliminate the dangers of smoking tobacco. That’s not to say that nicotine replacement therapy is free of risk. Remember to talk to a doctor before switching to any product to ensure that you are getting the right dosage for your body.
The Nicorette Lozenge helps prevent withdraw symptoms for individuals trying to stop smoking. The lozenges dissolve slowly in the mouth, introducing the nicotine into the bloodstream at a slower rate. Customers like that there are fewer side effects with the Nicorette Lozenge and the minty flavor (though some did say the mint flavor was a bit strong.)
Nicoderm CQ (Patch)
The Nicoderm CQ patch sits on your skin like a bandage. Your skin absorbs the nicotine on the patch into the bloodstream. This patch features an extended release that provides continual protection against nicotine withdraw symptoms. This product is helpful because it offers a clear schedule that allows customers to slowly wean themselves off the patch over the course of 10 weeks. The Nicoderm Patch is also customizable so individuals can choose the right dose to fit their needs.
The Nicotrol Inhaler works a bit like an e-cigarette. Long-term smokers will enjoy that they get a hit of nicotine while inhaling from a cigarette-like tube. The inhaler releases appropriate amounts of nicotine to slowly wean the user without causing a crash or major cravings. The inhaler works like an asthma inhaler in that the user breathes a puff into their throat. Your body absorbs the vapor into the blood stream through the mouth and throat. Users adjust the level that it’s easy to use and that it works well.
If you’re looking for a method that’s sweet and simple, nicotine gum may be the answer. Just pop in a piece and chew. The gum can also help individuals who are trying to quit chewing tobacco. Customers love that Nicorette Gum is easy to use on a flight or other places where taking a smoke break is not an option. Make sure to choose the right dosage. Start with a smaller dosage first to prevent nausea.
Method 2: Medications
If you want a little extra help ditching the tobacco sticks, you may consider opting for a prescription medication. Patients have used each of these medications to help treat nicotine addiction. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking prescription medications.
Patients interested in a quitting smoking with the help of medication may opt for Varenicline (under the label Chantix), which they take orally with a glass of water on a full stomach. Roughly 98 percent of customers who reviewed the medication gave it at least an 8/10 for effectiveness. Some customers say that the medication can make them a little irritable.
Doctors most commonly prescribe Bupropion for patients with depression. However, the medication (under the label Zyban) may also be taken to help quit smoking. Patients largely feel that this medication is effective, with 80 percent of patients rating this option as 8/10 or above. There are some drug interactions you should be aware of, so always tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking.
Nortriptyline (Pamelor) is an anti-depressant that also works well as a smoking cessation drug. While this drug may not help with the cravings, doctors may prescribe it a month before patients take their last puff to help ease the emotional side effects of quitting. Patients found that the medication helped ease anxiety during the first few weeks of quitting.
Doctors prescribe Nicotrol Nasal this medication to help slow the nicotine level drop that occurs when a patient stops smoking. This helps reduce symptoms of withdrawal, like irritability, weight gain, and nervousness. Patients spray the medication into each nostril as per their doctor’s prescription. Most people felt the product worked well, though some side effects may be bothersome.
Method 3: Electronic cigarettes
E-cigarettes can be a helpful tool because they create a similar experience to smoking while slowly reducing the amount of nicotine ingested.
XEO VOID Starter Kit
Highly recommended by the Quit Smoking Community, the XEO Void Starter Kit ranks high for ease of use and quality. The flavor toes the line between rich and just the right intensity, plus users can choose from several different vapor flavors. This pen also gets high marks for design which keeps users safe from chemical additives. These retail for around $60.
V2 EX Series Starter
This brand ranks among one of the most well-established developers in the e-cigarette industry, and the V2 Ex Series Starter shows that. Priced at just under $60, the V2 ranks high for battery life, vapor production and value. While it isn’t the prettiest e-cigarette, it is leak proof and the kit contains a wall charger and car charger.
V2 Vertx Plus-Cig
The V2 Vertx Plus model of e-cig takes things to a more tech-friendly level. A touch-screen control gives users more power over the function of their helper. The touch screen lets users adjust voltage and brightness. Customers love that V2 battery life lasts longer and the kit includes a magnetic charger. The design on this model is sleeker and more refined, plus customers can choose from three different flavors. Another bonus: it doesn’t produce a ton of smoke. This e-cig retails for about $90.
Halo G6 E-Cig Starter Kit
This Halo e-cig ranks highest for value. It’s comfortable to carry around and it has a long battery life. The stylish design of the G6 looks like a high-end cigarette, so quitters will feel like they’re holding the real thing. The e-cig comes in five colors and the kit includes two batteries, a wall charger, USB charger, an embossed case and five cartomizers for about $35. This model lets customers choose their flavor and level of nicotine, making it easier to slowly wean off the nicotine.
Customers will enjoy this product from NJoy because it’s designed to be as authentic to real smoking as possible. Customers get a strong hit in the back of their throat, like that of smoking, and the flavor closely resembles cigarette flavor. The NJoy Daily features a soft wrapper feel and its light enough to hold with two fingers. A high-end battery provides the equivalent number of puffs to an entire pack of cigarettes. This e-cig needs to be purchased in a store.
Method 4: Mobile apps
Need some motivation on the go? Check out one of these apps to stay on track when temptation strikes!
This app helps quitters visualize the positive changes they are making by showing them exactly how much money they save, how much they’ve improved their circulation, sense of taste, lung health and risk of heart disease. People just starting on the road to being a non-smoker can track how much they smoke and how often they have a craving. The app presents all the information on easy-to-read charts and info graphs.
Get Rich or Die Smoking
Free — Android
If you prefer harsh truth to sugar coating, this app might be just what you need. This app hits below the belt (in the wallet region to be exact). In addition to a counter that shows how long it’s been since the last smoke and the amount of cash saved by breaking the addiction, users can set goals for the money they save and communicate with other quitters. A progress board shows how your body changes every day you aren’t smoking.
Quit Smoking: Quit Now
With a similar premise to Get Rich or Die Smoking, this app features an attractive, user-friendly interface that tracks how long it’s been since the last cigarette. In addition to tallying up the cash you save, this app also shows how much time you’ve saved by skipping the 10-minute smoke breaks. This tracker also monitors how your body is adjusting to nicotine withdraws and offers encouragement via milestones and access to a community of other people trying to kick the habit.
This free app (it does contain ads), features an attractive interface where quitters can track achievements via earned badges. Customers on the no-smoke train can also track how long it’s been since they’ve been “smoke-free” and how much money they are saving. Customers can also record cravings (and accomplishments in a journal) so they can watch the number of cravings slowly disappear. Customers love the stickers and the accountability features.
Method 5: Telephone counseling
If you need someone to chat with to help you get past a craving, check out a few of these resources.
This federally-funded program offers a variety of helpful tools on their website including individual sections for people in different stages of the quitting process. In addition to a hotline, you can sign up for a text message program. The website also features an online chat system (open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Easter Time.) You can reach out at one of the numbers below if you want to talk to someone in person.
• 877-448-7848 (national)
• 800-784-8669 (connects to local)
This program focuses on the science of quitting and teaches unique ideas for helping individuals take the plunge to kicking the habit for good. Check out the Smokers Helpline website for weekly challenges and self-help books. If you live in California you can sign up for text messages. Everyone else can reach a live person at 1-877-513-3333.
Don’t forget to check out the forum on this page to chat with other people who are trying to quit smoking.
Method 6: Books on quitting smoking
If you love to read, check out one of these books for more information to learn more about the psychology of smoking and some mental tricks to get past hurdles.
The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer
This book is an excellent resource for anyone struggling with any form of addiction. Brewer, a psychiatrist, and neuroscientist addresses the science behind addiction and why everyone is susceptible to it (from alcohol to smartphones. Once you understand the components of addiction, you can change it. Brewer presents a method that helps people move past their addictive behavior in The Craving Mind.
Quit Smoking Today (Without Gaining Weight), Paul McKenna Ph.D.
A common reason that people use to justify not quitting smoking is that they’ll gain weight. But, that excuse is no longer valid with the help of this book. Paul McKenna developed conditioning techniques to help eliminate cravings for cigarettes without gaining weight. In the book Quit Smoking Today (Without Gaining Weight) Mckenna features hypnosis activities that aid in reducing the stress associated with the quitting process.
Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, Allen Carr
Over 20 million copies of Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking have sold worldwide and for good reason. Carr was a cigarette addict regularly going through 100 cigarettes a day before he kicked the habit made it his mission to help others. This book addresses every aspect of smoking (from why people smoke, why it’s so hard to quit and ways to overcome withdrawal symptoms). Carr’s method does not rely on any medication.
The Smoking Cure: How to Quit Smoking without Feeling like Sh*t, Caroline Canshaw
Caroline Shaw is an addiction specialist and hypnotherapist. Her book, The Smoking Cure features a seven-step process for giving cigarettes the boot while reducing (or eliminating) the nasty side effects. Her colorful language presents a more casual, no-nonsense approach to the topic. Just know that she’s not particularly shy about dropping a few F-bombs along the way.
Quit Smoking Naturally, Dr. Brad Turner
If you prefer your medicine straight up, this book might belong in your library. Brad Turner details a proven process for ditching the smokes for good in Quit Smoking Naturally. Even if you think you know everything about the dangers of smoking, Turner may be able to clue you into a few more you weren’t aware of. This book shows readers how to quit smoking without relying on nicotine substitutes or other medications.
Method 7: Home remedies
If you want to skip the medication (or you want to ramp up your quitting power) try a few of these at-home solutions.
If you want to quick the stick the natural way, put the cigarettes down and grab a stick of licorice instead. And no, not the red kind you find in the candy aisle. Instead, opt for all-natural black licorice candies. You can also chew on licorice root for a burst of flavor while you keep your mouth working.
Other natural ingredients that may help ease nicotine cravings include St. John’s Wart and Ginseng. St. John’s Wort helps improve your mood and Ginseng can help relieve stress. + brief
Track your Goal
Once you decide that you want to quit smoking, write it down, post it on Facebook, Tweet it on Twitter. Make an actual contract, sign, date and hang it up. You may even consider writing down the reasons you are choosing to quit and/or hang photos that show what will keep you doing.
Plan for how you will spend the money you save and every time you get a craving (or on the day you’d normally refill your cigarette stash), toss that money into a jar where you can see it. Watching the cash grow as your cravings diminish is a great way to keep up the motivation.
Writing down your goal may not be enough incentive for you. Find a partner to team up with. You can both keep each other in check by texting or calling when the craving to light up hits. Make sure you choose a partner that’s as committed to quitting as you are. Make sure to tell everyone you know that you are quitting and ask your friends to help by choosing activities that will distract you from the urge to smoke.
One reason nixing the nicotine is so hard is because your body is getting rid of toxins built up in your blood stream. This can make you feel tired, cranky, or even depressed. Hit the treadmill or talk a walk around the block every day to give your body a natural endorphin boost. Exercise can relieve stress symptoms and help distract you when all you want to do is smoke. As a bonus, getting your butt in gear will help keep the post nicotine weight from creeping up. According to Everyday Health, exercise can kill cravings during exercise and for up to an hour afterward!
Keep your Mouth Busy
One part of smoking that’s hard to kill is the oral fixation benefits. The taste of the tobacco, the smell of the smoke and the feel of the cigarette are major triggers for quitters. To but a kibosh on these cravings, keep your mouth busy. A few ideas for keeping your mouth happy are:
• Chew gum
• Suck on suckers
• Drink flavored water
• Suck on mints
• Suck on sunflower seeds
• Chew on a straw
• Chew on cinnamon flavored toothpicks
• Suck on a popsicle
Quitting the smokes is no easy feat, that’s why there are so many products surrounding the goal! Like weight loss or any other habit, tossing out the smokes will take dedication and may be downright miserable. Hopefully a few of these items will help make your journey a little less stressful!
Do you any friends or family members that are trying to stop smoking? Make sure you share this article with them on social media.