The majority of smokers are aware of the detrimental impact cigarettes are having on their own health and on the health of those around them. However, the addictive nature of smoking means it is far from easy to kick the habit.
Some smokers turn to prescription drugs to lessen their addiction and while this might be right for a certain sector of smokers there are concerns about the serious side effects of some of these medications. What then are the choices if you wish to take a more natural approach to reducing your reliance on cigarettes or want to quit the habit completely?
The NHS offers local smoking cessation clinics and drop-in services. These offer both one-on-one and group stop smoking sessions. A range of options are on offer to help you quit but it is also the support you gain from fellow clinic attendees which can help you stay motivated. The NHS highlights you are up to four times more likely to stop smoking for good if you attend one of their clinics.
One book which has had a high success rate helping people to quit smoking is Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. The book highlights that Allen Carr’s methods have helped over 25 million people around the world kick the habit in the 30 years since it was first published. If your aim is to go cold turkey, then read this book first to set you off on the right path.
Another natural approach to help you quit is hypnosis. This approach varies between practitioners so it’s important to discuss with the hypnotherapist the form the treatment will take before you start to ensure you feel comfortable with the approach.
Studies have shown that the results of hypnosis on smoking cessation have been hit and miss. While anecdotally it’s clear that some people have been helped the American Cancer Society says controlled studies have not supported the effectiveness of hypnosis overall. However, many people believe it can have a positive impact, particularly when combined with other smoking cessation methods.
Acupuncture is another natural approach to quitting smoking and can be helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as irritability and shakiness. These symptoms are usually worse in the first week or two after quitting so that is the best time to seek treatment.
In 2012 The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) reported the findings of a review that observed 14 previous clinical trials where real acupuncture points were tested against a version where non-acupunctural points were used. The result of this review found that smokers who received the genuine acupuncture were more than three times as likely to not smoke for six months to a year after receiving treatment.
A more recent development has been the introduction of vaping or e-cigarettes. These allow you to still intake nicotine while avoiding many of the negative impacts of traditional cigarettes on health. If you want more detail on the safety debate between e-cigarettes and smoking cigarettes, this breakdown is a good place to start.
The desire to smoke is not just about the physical addiction to nicotine however, but is also linked to the psychological enjoyment of smoking at certain times of the day. For example, after a meal or as a break from work to relieve stress. Because vaping still involves the sensation of smoking it can help to alleviate the psychological withdrawal.
As highlighted earlier the physical addiction in smoking lies in nicotine rather than in any other component of the cigarette. Therefore, if you can bring nicotine withdrawal under control, it can be easier to quit smoking. Nicotine patches help you to cut back your intake more slowly. The usual time you continue using patches for is 8 to 10 weeks and during this time you also get to experience many of the benefits of now being a non-smoker, including better health, less stale tobacco smell and reduced weekly expenses.