5 Things to Help You Stop Smoking
The benefits of quitting smoking are endless. Not only does ditching the cigarettes reduce the risk of premature death but it can also enhance your quality of life and save you a lot of money.
Despite all of these amazing benefits, trying to quit smoking can be extremely difficult. Even with all of the best quit smoking aids, fighting against strong nicotine cravings takes a lot of willpower to overcome.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that only a fifth of adults who attempt to quit smoking are actually successful a year down the line. So, if you’ve tried to give up smoking in the past and have been unsuccessful, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, there is good news! Studies show that most people are able to quit smoking for good after several tries.
Luckily, there are now lots of natural remedies to quit smoking. From aromatherapy and essential oils to nicotine replacement therapy to something as simple as daily exercise, you can use a combination of these alternatives to smoking when you’re trying to fight against the nicotine cravings.
To help you along your journey to a cigarette-free life, here are five of the best methods to quit smoking.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is an alternative medicinal practice that uses plant extracts known as essential oils. Using various parts of the plant, these extracts can be obtained and used to improve physical and mental health.
Essential oils are one of the most effective natural remedies to quit smoking for many people. Despite not being a ‘cure’ and not being a scientifically proven way to reduce nicotine cravings, there are lots of anecdotal success stories of people using aromatherapy as a quit smoking aid.
Due to its ability to relieve stress and anxiety, aromatherapy can be a great way to cope with strong smoking cravings. It has the same calming effects as taking a puff on a tobacco-filled cigarette but it doesn’t come with any harmful carcinogens.
You can use essential oils in a variety of different ways. You may have recently gone for a relaxing massage at your local spa. During this massage, it’s likely that the therapist had an essential oil diffuser in the corner of the room and applied aromatherapy oils to your skin.
So, your massage therapist is using two of the many different ways to use aromatherapy – a room diffuser, which turns the essential oils into vapor that you inhale, and massage oil that enables the essential oils to get absorbed directly through your skin.
Another way to inhale essential oils is using an aromatherapy vape. Also known as an herbal vape, an aromatherapy vape is one of the most effective natural quit smoking products that reduces nicotine cravings and calms your mind.
There are hundreds of different essential oils, each of which are obtained from different plants and different parts of these plants. They all have their own set of health benefits, so there are certain essential oils that are particularly helpful when you’re trying to quit smoking.
Studies show that the best essential oils to help you quit smoking are:
- Black pepper
- Lemon Balm
- Sweet Orange
- Ylang Ylang
Alongside essential oil, many people use additional herbs to quit smoking. The following herbs have been shown to reduce cravings, stress, and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal in those who are on a smoking cessation journey.
- Catnip - an herb known to reduce anxiety, headaches, and irritability, which are common in nicotine withdrawal. It can be added to hot tea or placed directly under the tongue.
- Hyssop - a strong decongestant that increases lung secretions and reduces mucus build-up. It can calm the mind and reduce irritability, and is commonly taken in a tablet or tincture.
- Green Tea - a common type of herbal tea that is used for weight loss and smoking cessation. It’s usually consumed in hot drinks made using tea bags or loose leaves.
- Lobelia (Indian tobacco) - a herb that contains lobeline, which mimics nicotine in the body but is not as harmful. It promotes relaxation and reduces cravings.
- St. John’s Wort - an herb that has mood-boosting and sedative effects, making it great when you’re experiencing the common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as irritability and restlessness.
If you want to quit smoking faster, taking up a regular exercise routine may be exactly what you need. Moving your body promotes a healthier lifestyle. It’s one of the best ways to regain optimal heart and lung function after years of smoking and improves your overall health and well-being.
But the physical benefits of exercise aren’t the only reason that it’s helpful when you’re trying to ditch the cigarettes. The mental health benefits of regular movement are also noteworthy.
Exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, two of the main causes of nicotine cravings. When you exercise, natural stress-relieving hormones, called endorphins, get released inside your body. This can promote feelings of happiness and motivation, which makes your smoking cessation journey a little easier.
When you’re feeling stressed and you want to open up the cigarette packet, exercise provides a much-needed distraction. Whether you take a walk around the local park or you drive to the gym to lift some weights, any kind of movement will give you the relief you’re looking for.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a medication that supplies your body with low doses of nicotine to help you wean yourself off cigarettes and quit smoking altogether. It can help to reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as headaches and irritability.
Most of the time, NRT lasts around 8-12 weeks, with the nicotine dosage decreasing gradually over time. This is necessary to decrease nicotine dependency, which is caused due to the highly addictive properties of nicotine.
There are a few different kinds of NRT, such as:
- Over the counter nicotine patches
- Nicotine lozenges, oral strips, or chewing gum
- Nicotine inhalers, nasal sprays, or mouth sprays
- Prescription nicotine-free medications
Nicotine patches release nicotine slowly. They are worn during the day and removed at night. For ad nauseam relief, inhalers and sprays are more suitable as they act very quickly in the body.
You will need to see your doctor or nurse to get prescription nicotine medications but you can buy some over-the-counter options at your local pharmacy or health store. Often, a combination of multiple kinds of NRT is used.
Eat Raw Vegetable Sticks
The action of chewing on carrot sticks, celery stalks, or cucumber slices can be a great way to reduce stress and keep your mouth busy when you’re trying to quit smoking.
When you’re feeling an intense nicotine craving, it can be a great distraction to grab some healthy raw vegetables and trick your brain into forgetting about the cigarettes.
Not only does chewing on raw vegetables curb the cravings but it can also boost your health. Vegetables are full of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that enhance your overall well-being.
Carrots are packed full of flavonoids called beta-carotene that have been shown to promote great skin, vision, and digestion. Try peeling and cutting some carrot sticks at the start of each day and keeping them in your fridge, ready to snack on instead of puffing tobacco.
Admittedly, many of us aren’t keen on raw vegetables and find them to be quite bland and boring. To make the vegetable sticks taste more flavorsome and delicious, you could dip them into some humous or honey.
When you’re struggling, having a friend or family there to offer a supportive hand can provide all of the motivation you need to stay away from the cigarettes. They can offer words of encouragement and hold you accountable to help you keep going on your smoking cessation journey.
You might have a friend who is going through their own smoking cessation journey at the same time as you. Since you will both know how the other person feels, they can be the perfect person to hold you accountable and offer support.
There are also online support groups or telephone counselors that are available to talk to at all times of the day. If you’re having a particularly tough time, they are just a few clicks or a quick call away.
You can open up to fellow ex-smokers and trained counselors to share your thoughts and feelings. This can be a great way to relieve stress and vent your frustrations when you’re feeling unmotivated and anxious about the whole process.
Professional counselors will remind you of the benefits of quitting smoking and may be able to provide additional quit smoking products to help you even further. They may also offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a form of therapy.
CBT involves looking at your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that you can identify which specific thoughts and emotions are leading to certain actions. If you can identify the types of thoughts that are causing you to reach for the cigarette packet, you can work to change these thoughts. In turn, you can teach yourself to challenge and overcome these thoughts in other ways than smoking.
You’re never alone when you’re trying to quit smoking, even though it may feel like it. Make sure to use all of the resources available and the people around you to help you stay focused and motivated along the journey. It may take you several months to ditch the cigarettes once and for all but be patient and you will get there.