Many smokers decide to go cold turkey when wanting to nip smoking in the bud. Others take it on a day-to-day basis and hope for the best. Fact is, whether you’re an occasional smoker or a 30-a-day smoker, taking that last puff can be difficult. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance.
Your options for quitting include:
- A diet and beverage change
- Positive thinking
- Identifying your cigarette cravings
- Patches, lozenges, gum and nasal sprays
And then, there are alternatives…
Allen Carr method
According to Allen Carr, a British author who specialises in psychological dependencies, there’s a smoking trap, as it’s not a lack of willpower that makes it difficult to stop smoking, but a conflict of will. His method aims to remove this conflict so that the smoker doesn’t have to use any willpower to stop. Once the smoker understands completely how the smoking trap works, by following simple instructions, the physical withdrawal becomes easier to manage.
How does this work?
Carr identified that smokers are aware of how unhealthy, expensive and antisocial their habit is, so what keeps them smoking?
It’s fear, says Carr. It stems from the inability to cope with things like stress, social occasions, concentration, boredom and trauma. All these fears arise out of powerful illusions associated with smoking and nicotine addiction.
He discovered that the actual physical withdrawal from nicotine is slight and is more of a feeling very similar to hunger for food. Smokers recognise it as a feeling of “emptiness” or “something missing.” The real trauma smokers suffer when they try to quit is the mental sense of sacrifice and depression caused by the belief that they’re being deprived of a certain pleasure.
What is the verdict?
The Allen Carr Method works by destroying the psychological addiction to nicotine by educating the smoker about the facts of the smoking trap.
As soon as a smoker understands and believes that they can enjoy life more, concentrate better, feel more relaxed, handle stress better and that cravings will eventually go away; the fear of stopping disappears.
The method also allows the smoker to realise that if they completely understand how nicotine withdrawal works and they follow a few instructions, they will find it easy to manage and may land up enjoying the process.
Resist tobacco cravings
Try nicotine replacement therapy
Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. The options include:
- Over-the-counter nicotine patches, lozenges and gum.
- Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler.
- Prescription non-nicotine stop smoking medications.
Don’t set yourself up for smoking relapse. Identify your triggers and have a plan to either avoid them completely or to get through them without the need to use tobacco.
If you feel like you’re going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must wait 10 more minutes first. After that, do something to distract yourself.. When you’re out in public, opt for a smoke-free zone. These tricks may be enough to derail your tobacco craving.
Chew on it
Pop sugar-free gum or sweets. Alternatively, you can snack on raw veggies, nuts or seeds for something crunchy and satisfying.
Don’t give in
Having just one cigarette leads to another and you may end up using tobacco again.
Exercising can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Go out for a walk or jog. If exercising isn’t your thing, do chores as a form of distraction or pick up a new hobby. Get plenty of rest and focus on eating well.
Practise relaxation techniques
Getting rid of a bad habit can be stressful. Take the edge off with deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga or listening to calming music.