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Today, May 31, marks World No Tobacco Day. Quitting smoking is not a single-day event; it is a journey. By quitting, you will improve your health and the quality and duration of your life, as well as the lives of those around you.

To quit smoking, you not only need to alter your behaviour and cope with the withdrawal symptoms experienced from cutting out nicotine, but you also need to find other ways to manage your moods. If you’ve decided to quit, you’re on the right track! With the right game plan, you can break free from nicotine addiction and kick the habit for good. Here are five ways to tackle smoking cessation.

1. Start with a plan

Pick a date. Once you have decided to stop smoking, you are ready to set a quit date. Pick a day that is not too far in the future (so that you do not change your mind), but which gives you enough time to prepare. Post the date on your calendar, and let family and close co-workers and friends know.

Visit your doctor. Discuss your decision to quit smoking, and ask if nicotine replacement therapy or other medications might help you quit.

Cut back now. In the days leading up to your quit-smoking day, begin cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Try to smoke just half a cigarette when you do light up.

Plan substitutes. Stock up on cigarette substitutes like carrot sticks, straws, and sugar-free gums and candies.

2. Seek support

Ask for support from your loved ones. Just having someone to talk with can help you during low moments.
Ask those who still smoke not to smoke around you while you’re trying to quit smoking.
Find a support group or a smoking cessation program in your area.

3. Make your quit-smoking day special

Don’t smoke at all. Not even one puff.

Get rid of all of your smoking paraphernalia. Toss out your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays.

Keep yourself busy all day. Go for a walk or exercise. Go to places where smoking isn’t allowed, like the library or the movies. Eat foods you don’t normally eat.

Drink lots of water and juice. This will give you something to do and help flush the nicotine out of your body.

4. Be prepared to deal with withdrawal symptoms

Avoid situations that trigger the desire to smoke. Find ways to deal with cravings. Take slow, deep breaths until the craving passes. Drink some water slowly and hold it in your mouth. Munch on carrot sticks or suck some hard candy. Focus on a crossword puzzle. Play chess or any leisure game.

5. Maintain your resolve

Whenever you feel your resolve weakening, remind yourself of all the benefits of not smoking:

Count the money you’re saving on cigarettes, consider how much better everything tastes and smells, and think about how your smoke is no longer affecting your family and friends.

Drinking makes it more likely you’ll slide back into smoking. So, avoid alcohol.
Eat right and exercise. A healthy diet and an exercise regimen can keep your mind off cravings and make you realise how much better you feel now that you’ve quit smoking.
Reward yourself by buying something special with the money you’ve saved on cigarettes.

Quitting smoking is difficult but not impossible. Many have done it before you and had to try several times before they were successful. Don’t give up!

Also read: World No Tobacco Day 2021: How smoking elevates risk of COVID-related deaths



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