Top tips and medications to help you quit smoking

Written by Brendan Levy

Six tips for quitting smoking for good.

Cigarette smoke is a major cause of death and disease with links to heart disease, stroke and cancer. Making the choice to quit is a brave and commendable decision but definitely not an easy one. One in five Americans smoke cigarettes, but choosing to quit can change your life. No one is saying it will be easy so here are some top tips to get you through.

1. Give yourself a reason to quit

Making the choice to quit is the easy part; it’s sticking to that choice that is difficult. It’s easy to give in to temptation unless you have a constant reminder of why you are doing this. Once you’ve decided that you want to quit for good write yourself a note about why you want to quit smoking. It may include a picture of your loved one or a leaflet containing your goal of running a marathon. Either way when you feel like you just need one more cigarette you can go back to your note or picture for inspiration.

2. Identify your triggers

As a smoker you may notice that smoking has become part of your routine. You might find that you crave a cigarette after eating or right before bed. Identify the times in which you crave cigarettes the most and ensure that you keep yourself distracted at those times. For example, if you generally smoke after dinner; commit to doing the washing up. This will keep your hands busy! Try and avoid being around smokers as the temptation could prove to be too much. Additionally, if you are going on a night out you might be more tempted to smoke, perhaps bring a fake cigarette to calm the cravings.

3. Give yourself timed rewards

It’s important to allow yourself rewards to reinforce your good behavior! Book yourself a spa day for or buy yourself a new outfit for your one-month quitting anniversary. This will make you feel good about yourself as well as ensure that you don’t feel deprived.

4. Use a Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

When you stop smoking you might go into Nicotine withdrawal. NRTs provide a low level of Nicotine without all the other harmful chemicals in cigarettes. Symptoms of withdrawal can include nausea, insomnia, cravings, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and tingling in the hands and feet. These can be minimised through the use of NRTs in the form of patches, gum, sprays, inhalers and lozenges.

5. Varenicline/Chantix

Quitting smoking can cause you to feel symptoms of depression or anxiety. Varenicline triggers the hormone dopamine (kind of like the happy hormone) in the brain in order to combat the effects of withdrawal. Additionally, Varenicline blocks the satisfying effects of Nicotine in cigarettes in case of relapse.

6. Bupropion/Zyban

Your HeyDoctor MD may also suggest bupropion – an antidepressant that combats the symptoms of withdrawal and makes you care less about smoking. This is particularly useful if you are prone to overeating, as bupropion can decrease appetite in order to control weight gain.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.