Though it might seem hard to quit smoking, it is possible. Just follow these 5 steps to say goodbye to tobacco for good.
Smoking is bad. That we know. It’s a fact. But what they don’t tell you is how good it feels to spill the tea with a cigarette in hand. Or what about that feeling you get from a drag after a long day at work? Or, what about that post-Tinder connection, lying there on the bed blowing out smoke while having a few laughs? Yes, it does feel good to smoke; it can give us relief and even excitement. But honestly, smoking is usually an acquired taste. So, just as we made an effort to love it, we can make the same effort to quit.
Something personal here: The first time I smoked a cigarette, I was 16 years old, and I choked... and I also threw up a little bit afterwards. Then, in college, I gave it a second chance, and this time, I got the hang of it. I did Liberal Arts, where apparently you need have a cigarette in your mouth to use clever words that are actually just useless, fancy, college words. By the time I turned 23, I was smoking industrial amounts of tobacco, specially after stressful days or parties.
Then, one day, I decided to quit. Why? Well, my teeth began to look non-canonically beautiful. I felt tired most of the time. My skin looked tired and dry, and yes, my heart began to feel a little weird (I have a heart condition, so I was knowingly doing harm to myself. Silly me). So, I began to quit. I say “I began” because it is, really, a long process. It has taken me at least a few good 5 tries to do it “permanently” (you never know when you’re going to fall for it again), and fortunately, each attempt lasts longer than the last. So, here’s how I’ve coped with the struggle of quitting and not falling for it again:
1. Lower the doses
Take it easy. If you start to lower the amount of cigarettes per day, then it will eventually be easier for you to quit smoking. But, you must set a deadline. Let’s say that you want to set weekly deadlines, so, if you smoke around 35 cigarettes a week, you should smoke around 15 next week (but 15 only). Then, reduce the amount of cigarettes week by week until you smoke one per day, and then one a week until you don’t smoke any at all.
2. Take up exercise or find a hobby
The most difficult part of quitting is the anxiety that comes with it, so you need to find a healthy way to decompress. Join dance lessons, sign up for the gym, take a 30 minute stroll every night, take a YouTube yoga lesson. The thing is that you should keep your body and mind busy, so you don’t fall into temptation.
3. Eat healthy
Okay, so every time I tried quitting, I realized that I gained weight because I was coping with it by eating. The thing is that I felt the urge for sugary food and lots and lots of carbs. So, see your doctor and ask them for an easy and healthy diet, and tell them you’re quitting smoking. This way, whenever you feel the craving for a cigarette, instead of eating large amounts of junk food, you’ll know what to do or what to eat to reduce that stress.
4. Stay away from other smokers
No parties, no homies, no bottomless mimosas. Seriously, at least for a couple weeks after you feel comfortable with lowering your dose or you have completely quit smoking. Now, no cheating here because I know that we say things like “okay, it’s Saturday night and I can smoke whatever I want because it’s a day off” or something like “just one." No, that’s not how it works. So, just away from temptation and be boring for just a few weeks. It’ll pay off and everyone will love you just the same.
5. Stay focused
Baby steps, one day at the time. Stay true to your goals and be strong. I know it sounds cheesy, but it takes a lot of willpower to quit anything; a relationship, alcohol, carbs, smoking, I mean, the list can go on and on. Remember why you’re doing this whenever you feel like smoking and talk to someone, a friend, for example, if you feel you’re about to give in and let them know what you’re going through.
I know it’s not so easy for some us to quit smoking, so the first step is basically to commit to it. Just like a mantra, say something like “I quit” whenever you’re offered a cigarette, even if you inner voice says that you need a drag so bad. Also, if you happen to give in and smoke, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have our ups and downs in this journey to a healthy lifestyle.