World No Tobacco Day is an annual campaign conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness about the tobacco industry and the dangers of smoking. It invites smokers to observe at least one smoke-free day of the year. Smoking tobacco products remains one of the most prevalent causes of death worldwide and is responsible for over 90% of all lung cancer cases.
Fortunately, smokers have several options available to them to help them stop smoking for good. It will still require willpower, the most important component, and it might take a few attempts to discover which method is ideal for each individual, but the health and financial benefit of quitting outweighs everything else.
Cold Turkey: Don't let the image fool you. Stopping smoking by simply putting tobacco down and never picking it back up is probably the hardest method. By the second day it is very likely that you will be irritable, angry, depressed and anxious. The reason for this is that most individuals who smoke have deeply rooted smoking routines and breaking them suddenly and without any help can be very difficult. The brain was receiving the "calming" and "rewarding" effects of nicotine, which would help smokers get through their day, but in the absence of this chemical withdrawal symptoms occur. This is the reason why most individuals go back to smoking, as they are unable to cope with the withdrawal symptoms and the disruption to their normal routine.
What to do to make it easier? Keep busy. Occupy yourself with something like sports, exercise and hobbies that take up your time. Unlike work, they shouldn't make you stressed which could cause a relapse.
Hypnosis: You're feeling sleepy. But not sleepy enough to forget about cigarettes. Hypnosis has become a popular "alternative" method to quitting smoking. If you have ever seen someone who has been hypnotised, you will know that all it involves bringing the mind to a more relaxed point where it is more open to suggestion. In the case of smoking, hypnotists help increase resolve which can possibly increase the willpower of individuals in order for them to quit successfully.
What to do to make it easier? Believe it. Positive re-enforcement is the key here. The mind needs to believe that hypnosis has had an impact over the urge to smoke. If you decide to consult a hypnotist, be open to the possibility that it might work and try not to dismiss it outright.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): Nicotine is the component inside tobacco that stimulates the brain and it is what smokers are actually addicted to. Nicotine replacement therapy takes away the necessity to smoke cigarettes by providing an alternative form of the chemical. Chewing gum and nicotine patches are two of the most common types of NRTs.
What to do to make it easier?Try not to have one nicotine delivery system replace the other. Putting down tobacco in favour of chewing gum or skin patches is a positive step, but individuals sometimes quit smoking only to become reliant on the alternate form of nicotine. Gradually reduce using these NRTs over a few days while keeping them close at hand. If you feel the cravings, use the method you've chosen and gradually increase the time between applications.
Prescription medication: Considered to be the most successful method of quitting smoking, prescription medications like Champix don't replace the lost nicotine from avoiding tobacco. Instead they block the nicotine-receptors inside the brain from experiencing the "reward" of smoking. By doing this, the medication makes the act of smoking feel distasteful and unrewarding, and so eventually individuals should stop smoking naturally simply because there are no associated positive feelings.
What to do to make it easier? Consult your doctor first and foremost before using a prescription medication like Champix. The medication functions inside the brain and smokers with a history of depression or anxiety might not be able to use the medication safely with effective results.
Make sure that you consider quitting smoking this World No Tobacco Day and if you have any methods not mentioned here that you feel helped you quit already, feel free to share your experience below.