Whether you’re a teen smoker or a lifetime pack–a–day smoker, quitting can be tough. But the more you learn about your options and prepare for quitting, the easier the process will be. With the right game plan tailored to your needs, you can break the addiction, manage your cravings, and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good
Questions to ask yourself
Take the time to think of what kind of smoker you are, which moments of your life call for a cigarette, and why. This will help you to identify which tips, techniques or therapies may be most beneficial for you.
- Do you feel the need to smoke at every meal?
- Are you more of a social smoker?
- Is it a very bad addiction (more than a pack a day)? Or would a simple nicotine patch do the job?
- Do you reach for cigarettes when you’re feeling stressed or down?
- Are there certain activities, places, or people you associate with smoking?
- Is your cigarette smoking linked to other addictions, such as alcohol or gambling?
- Are you someone who is open to talking about your addiction with a therapist or counselor?
Elements of Successful ‘Quit Smoking’ Programs
If you are looking to put together or select a quit smoking program, I suggest you consider four elements in your “combination”:
- Appropriate use of pharmacological products: If you feel you are severely addicted to smoking, you may wish to consider nicotine replacement products so your body gradually gets used to living without nicotine: always talk to qualified quitting expert first before using these drugs.
- Advice and support: Advice and support can help you become more self-aware, identify your triggers and when moments of weakness may occur, develop strategies and contingencies, keep you realistically grounded and on track with your plan, and prevent relapse. Examples include one-to-one or in-person counseling, telephone counseling, internet programs, group support, mentoring, and coaching.
- Measuring and recording: To help you see in black and white how much you smoke, how much it costs you, how much you could save; also keeping a journal of your quitting journey.
- Improving your knowledge: Read the science, talk to experts, and learn for yourself how smoking damages your health and the health of those around you. Learn how others tackled the challenge.
If you have had a health problem, such as a heart attack or stroke, or if you are pregnant or planning to start a family, go and see your doctor and discuss your ‘quit smoking’ plan before you start.
Dr. Nada Mohamed
Bahrain Specialist Hospital