How to Quit Smoking the Realistic Way

Going cold turkey is presented as something that is easily doable and the 'experts' will tell you that you can quit smoking on a whim, and start your new life immediately. Total bs.

How to Quit Smoking the Realistic Way
Photo by emily lau / Unsplash
This post is not medical advice. Seek professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor on the best approach for you to quit smoking as per your current health situation and health background.

Quitting smoking is a journey, for starters, it is never a touch-and-go thing. There's no panacea to quitting smoking and you may be able to quit by employing a single strategy or a combination of several. Therefore, forget about a one-time or single solution to quitting smoking. In my experience, there isn't one.

How to Quit Smoking the Realistic Way: Approaches that are Worth Trying

It can be so difficult to try and actually quit smoking. The more you smoke, the more your body gets 'used to' it, and the deeper you are in nicotine addiction. That is not entirely true, however, because cigarette smoke, nicotine, and the chemicals therein are foreign objects and do not naturally occur in the body. As such, your body isn't really getting 'used to' smoking; it is trying all it can to adapt and correct the repeated introduction of foreign harmful objects into the body.

What Happens to Your Body When You Smoke a Cigarette?

How Your Body Struggles to Clean Up When You Smoke

The way I understand this is that your body tries to self-correct every time you smoke a cigarette. Take the example of introducing oil into a glass of water. When you pour some oil into a glass of water, the viscosity differences of both will separate the two liquids as per their varying densities. As such, the water will go below and the oil will come above. The same is what's happening when you smoke; your body is constantly trying to clean up after you. Your body constantly tries to clear out harmful chemicals every time you smoke.

The Long-Term Strife Your Body Goes Through to Try and Clean Up When You Smoke

Think about this long-term, if you smoke two packs a day, your body will try more than 40 times to reinstate the original clean state and clear out the harmful chemicals. 40 times a day! Imagine the kind of energy and effort you'd be squeezing out of your body in that one day. What about if you smoked two packs every day for a year? That's a calamity.

What is the Easiest Way to Quit Smoking?

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to quit smoking. The mentality that it will be easy is ill-advised and simply not true. Quitting smoking will be tough, to say the least, but once you're done with it; you have a good chance of being done for life. As a result, you will enjoy numerous health benefits including decreased risk of contracting lung cancer, better breathing, reduced irritability, and better eyesight.

Ask Yourself: Do You Really Want to Quit Smoking?

The first and most important step of quitting smoking is really wanting to quit. Ask yourself, do I really want to quit smoking? Is that what I really want? Why should I even bother quitting? Am I quitting to enjoy better health, to reduce the stigmatization of being a smoker, or to please others? Do I really want to quit? If the answer is yes and you really want to quit, then you are on the right path. Once your mentality and view of smoking change, then you are open to quitting.

Going Cold Turkey as an Approach to Quitting Smoking

When you read most 'How to Quit Smoking' articles, they'll tell you to go cold turkey. Cold turkey is when you stave yourself off smoking completely, i.e. wake up one day and decide not to smoke any more. Going cold turkey is also presented as something that is easily doable and the 'experts' will tell you that you can quit smoking on a whim, and start your new life immediately. Total bs.

Why Going Cold Turkey when Quitting Smoking is More Harmful than Helpful

In my experience, quitting smoking by going cold turkey is bs. Going cold turkey actually hurts you more than it helps. It is unnecessary and unwarranted suffering in my opinion. I don't see the need or sense of putting yourself through withdrawal in a non-medical way.

How to Quit Smoking in a Medical Way

The reason I say that is because I learned that I could have had such an easier time (as compared to going cold turkey) if I opted to quit in a medical way such as getting a smoking patch (which I personally don't like) or opting for nicotine gums. After all, what you are addicted to when smoking cigarettes is nicotine, not all the other harmful chemicals. Nicotine patches are attached to your arm and I personally wouldn't want any physical appendage thus I opted for nicotine gums.

Quitting Smoking by Using Nicotine Patches

Nicotine patches are FDA-approved medicine for quitting smoking. They can be used in combination with nicotine gum or lozenges in instances where there is a need to manage strong cravings. Yes, when you quit smoking you'll get intense cravings for nicotine (not cigarettes or smoking itself).

A nicotine patch on a person's upper arm.
A nicotine patch on a person's upper arm. Source: NW Medicine.

How Do Nicotine Patches Work?

Nicotine patches are worn 24 hours a day and contain nicotine that slowly sips into your bloodstream over this time. Please note that I have not used nicotine patches myself and cannot adequately advise you on the same. I preferred not to but you should consult your doctor cause patches may be the way to go for you depending on your situation or health background.

How to Use Nicotine Patches

Nicotine patches should be worn as per a doctor's instructions. Nicotine patches should be placed on the upper body in areas of clear skin where there is no hair or the skin is not oily or damaged. You can place the nicotine patch on your upper arm or on your upper chest, for instance, and let it stay there for 24 hours.

Can You Sleep or Bathe with a Nicotine Patch On?

You can even sleep and bathe with the nicotine patch on your body. However, if you suffer sleep disturbances or vivid dreams, consider removing the patch before going to bed and replacing it with a new one in the morning. Be sure to wash your hands every time you put the patch on, to wash off any nicotine that may be left behind. To dispose of the patches, fold them in the middle with the sticky sides touching.

My Recommendation: Quitting Smoking by Using Nicotine Gums

The approach that has worked for me when it comes to quitting smoking is nicotine gums. I know there are lozenges too but what I can only confidently talk about is nicotine gums because they are what I have used. Please note that I have and have been using nicotine gums for a while now and I think I can advise you on their use to some extent. So, I am speaking from experience even if our experiences may vary. Also please consult your doctor on whether nicotine gums are the right solution for you depending on your situation and health background.

Nicotine Gums
Nicotine Gums. Source: Cancer Research UK.

Why Use Nicotine Gums as a Way to Quit Smoking? - My Experience

In my experience, quitting smoking by using nicotine gums is the most comfortable and effective way to quit smoking. The reason I say this is because, with nicotine gums, you just chew some gum (one coated with nicotine), thus beating your craving for smoking while still giving you a dose of nicotine whose absence could have been putting you through withdrawal.

Nicorette 4mg Nicotine Gums
Nicorette 4mg Nicotine Gums. Source: Amazon.

I personally use Nicorette 4mg Nicotine Gums. You can get them on Amazon using the button below.

In my view, this is easier than having to put a nicotine patch on your arm and having something that could probably irritate you on your skin. With nicotine gums, you just chew the gum and when you're done, throw it away as you would normal chewing gum.

Does Chewing Normal Gum Help with Quitting Smoking?

Yes. Chewing normal gum does help with quitting smoking. The best approach is to chew normal gum in combination with nicotine gum so that over time, after your mind associates the two, chewing normal gum will give you as much (or whatever little possible) relief as chewing nicotine gum. Then you can start cutting off on nicotine gum slowly. Please be sure to consult your doctor on this. Normal gum helps but it is in no way a treatment for smoking.

How to Use Nicotine Gums to Quit Smoking

The way I have used nicotine gums to help me quit smoking is by buying a number of them, each with 4mg of nicotine content. The 4mg gums are cuboid in shape and colored yellow. They are about the size of the thumb's fingernail and the way I chew them is by chewing half a gum, or even a quarter depending on how bad my craving is.

Depending on your daily smoking intake or the amount of nicotine you usually take in, you may feel better relief if you chew the whole gum. I personally don't do it in set time intervals and I'll often just chew the gum when I am feeling a craving. Over time, you'll be able to stay longer periods without feeling the cravings and possibly even quit smoking and using the nicotine gums altogether.

Ensuring Consistency when Quitting Smoking

To ensure you actually succeed in quitting smoking, please be consistent. The approach that has worked for me is to stay away from cigarettes completely and just use nicotine gum when I feel cravings. Sometimes you'll slip and smoke a cigarette (which I avoid like the plague), but you don't have to stop taking the nicotine gums or placing the nicotine patch if that is what you opt for. Please be very careful not to smoke a cigarette while trying to quit.

How to Avoid Smoking a Cigarette while Trying to Quit Smoking

Avoiding Your Smoking Peers as a Way to Avoid Smoking While Trying to Quit

A good way to avoid smoking when trying to quit is to stay away from smokers. Your friends could pressure you to smoke by smoking themselves. Peer pressure is a leading cause for many people to start or continue smoking, be warned.

Avoiding Triggers for Smoking

Additionally, stay away from pubs or places or drinks that you have previously associated with smoking. For example, if you usually smoked while taking your morning coffee, please try and shift to taking some tea in the morning and not coffee. You could even opt for iced tea. An added benefit is that green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants that help your body bolster the formation of detoxification properties.

The Role of Detox Tea in Quitting Smoking

You can even go for detox tea which is a natural remedy for cleansing blood and removing toxins from your body. Detox teas are made from several herbs, flowers, and spices and can be taken as a health tonic and even as a way to aid in weight loss.

The Key to Quitting Smoking the Realistic Way - My Experience

The key to quitting smoking is to keep trying. To be honest, you'll slip up a few times and by a few, I mean several times. The key to quitting though is to keep trying. Your body will learn how to keep away from cigarettes and once you stay away and feel all the health benefits, you'll be more motivated to quit. Did you know that quitting smoking even makes you look better as your face isn't irritated by the toxic smoke from cigarettes?

Why You Should Stay Away from Cigarettes

Cigarettes also have dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, used in morgues to preserve the dead, and many more harmful chemicals such as tar, that's used to pave roads. Please stay away from cigarettes and you'll be happier and healthier. Remember, smoking makes your life miserable and the only way to escape a life of misery is to quit smoking.

Your life and leading it in the best way possible is the number one priority, cigarettes prevent you from doing that. So can living a sedentary lifestyle. Read more on how sitting is the new smoking and why you should move away from a sedentary lifestyle below.

How Sitting is the New Smoking and Why You Should Move Away from a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sitting is the same as smoking and increases one’s risk of contracting cancer and becoming diabetic or obese.
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