31st May is marked as World No-Tobacco Day every year with an intent to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. This campaign was launched to create an awareness on the negative impact that tobacco has on us in the long run. So, here are 10 techniques that can help you in quitting and reducing your tobacco cravings.
1. Fix a quitting date and stick to it.
You have to prepare yourself well in advance if you want to quit smoking. Make up your mind on when you want to quit and stick to it. It might be difficult to do away with the cravings but you have to stay strong. Once you decide, you shouldn't even reach out for a puff because the risk of a relapse is too great, according to research.
3. Have a strong support group.
Your friends and family play an important role in motivating you to quit smoking. They can give you moral support and encourage you to push your limits and fight your cravings. For the first few days, try to stay away from people who smoke. You should avoid people who are negative and unsupportive. Make sure you surround yourself with positive people. Also, request others to not smoke in front of you. Even if you are offered a cigarette, decline it politely.
3. Avoid triggers.
Most often one reaches out for a smoke during parties or while having alcohol or sipping on coffee. These are triggers that increase ones urge to smoke. You should avoid attending such parties or drinking alcohol when you know you could end up smoking eventually. Identify your trigger situation and make sure to avoid those places. For the first few weeks, avoid public places where smoking is allowed. Also, if you smoke while talking on the phone, keep a pen and paper near by to distract your mind with doodling rather than smoking. Do your best to fight the cravings, don't give in easily.
4. Chew on something.
According to experts, addiction to smoking is kind of an oral fixation so, in order to fight tobacco cravings you can chew on sugarless gum, hard candy, raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds. Just have something that is crunchy and satisfying. This will be helpful in fighting the urges and cravings.
5. Exercise and indulge in other activities.
According to a study, physical activity helps in fighting tobacco cravings by reducing its intensity. If you are a regular smoker, you are bound to feel lazy, drowsy and irritated but you have to fight those feelings and distract yourself by working out, taking a walk, going for a run or playing outdoor sports. If you are not into physical activity try cooking, writing a journal, playing video games or doing chores that you have been meaning to complete.
6. Practice relaxation techniques.
Smoking may have been your way of coping with stress but trying to resist the tobacco craving, can be stressful in itself. Studies show that practicing relaxation techniques like deep-breathing, yoga, visualization, massage or simply listening to calming music helps in resisting the cravings and reducing stress.
7. Opt for nicotine supplements.
The first few weeks are going to be difficult but you should never give up. If you can't do without the nicotine, opt for supplements like nicotine gum, patches, Zyban or Champix but, do consult a doctor first. You can also take up Nicotine replacement therapy to curb the urges. Studies show that these supplements improve your chances of success when you are on a quit-smoking program.
8. Seek professional help.
There is nothing wrong with seeking help from someone who is a professional. If you can't deal with the urges and cravings, you should join a support group or talk to a counselor. Research shows that Behavioral therapy helps in identifying and sticking to strategies that help in curbing nicotine urges. A few sessions can make a huge difference so don't shy away from it.
9. Small goals go a long way.
Set small goals for yourself and when you accomplish them, treat yourself with something of your choice. For example, 'if I don't smoke today, I will eat my favourite ice-cream.' Research proves that accomplishing small goals, helps in boosting the morale of an individual.
10. Switch to healthy food and herbal tea.
Reach out for some healthy snacks and food whenever you feel that intense desire for nicotine. According to research, eating healthy or sipping on herbal tea can give the same stress relief as a hit of nicotine. You can also opt for flavoured toothpicks to curb tobacco urges.