The quickest ways to quit smoking
You’ve decided to become smoke-free and kick the habit. But what are the quickest ways to quit smoking and get back on your game?
The good news is you’ve taken the most crucial step on your journey. So take some time to congratulate yourself.
We know quitting isn’t easy. Nicotine gives the brain that craved-for hit of dopamine which accounts for its addictive properties.
The fear of withdrawal and all too frequent cravings can make the smoke-free dream appear impossible. But it can be done and it’s all about finding the best way for you.
Taking an all-or-nothing approach (like going cold turkey) might not be the easiest route. The journey of quitting smoking is different for everyone. So a combination of methods might be required to increase your chances of success.
We want to share the quickest ways to quit smoking whilst coping with the inevitable dopamine drop.
Master your motivations
Feeling like you ‘should’ stop smoking is not enough to carry you toward your goal. Becoming the fabulous smoke-free version of you needs to be something you WANT to achieve.
Getting laser-focused on your motivations for giving up puts you on a positive path to your smoke-free future.
Think about what you will gain from stopping smoking. You will save money, improve your health and smell great too.
Make a list and pin it somewhere to keep yourself focused on the future.
Shifting your mindset is a great motivational technique. Research suggests that having a growth mindset increases your chances of recovering from addiction. A growth mindset means you believe in your ability to change your habits.
Telling yourself you are giving up something can make it feel like you are losing out.
Instead, frame your thinking towards adopting healthy new habits. You are introducing a new lifestyle that supports your wellbeing.
Make a plan
To stop smoking quickly, you need to plan ahead. Maybe you need to save up some funds for that dream holiday? Or stop smoking before trying to conceive?
Decide what date you want to quit and stick to it. When you want to quit and quit fast, this is the most important first step.
Nobody likes a quitter, unless they are quitting an addiction. Speak to your family and friends before you quit and ask them for support.
Having people to call on when you need it can be a real lifeline. A supportive community inspires you to stick to your goal.
Various stop smoking apps can connect you virtually with others on the same journey. These online communities can provide support, encouragement and share helpful tips.
Decide how you are going to manage your smoking cravings. Set yourself up with anything you might need, so you are prepared from day one.
Plan what you are going to do to reduce your withdrawal symptoms. As the level of nicotine in your body lowers, your dopamine level drops. This can leave you unable to concentrate and subject to mood swings .
Symptoms range from mild to severe. Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feeling stressed and irritable
- Flu-like symptoms
- Tiredness or difficulty sleeping
- Hunger and weight gain
- Digestive changes
These symptoms are at their worst during the first few weeks. But keep the faith as these will ease over time and become more bearable each day.
Think about how you can reward yourself for your small wins. You just said no to the offer of a smoke? Then, yes, you do deserve that donut! Having special treats to look forward to inspires you to keep going.
Go cold turkey
There’s no doubt the no nicotine route is the hardest and demands huge willpower. The biggest benefit is you will be smoke free from the moment you stub out your last cigarette.
Quitting smoking cold turkey also means you suffer increased withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Being prepped is the key to coping.
Pick your quit date wisely to avoid any social events that might distract you from your goal.
Throw away anything related to your smoking habit. Chuck out the cigarettes, the lighters and ashtrays.
The act of getting rid of these things is a powerful ritual that sets your intention in motion.
Although the symptoms can be pretty intense, the health benefits are felt immediately by your body.
And the good news is that withdrawal symptoms are only temporary.
Keep your goal in mind and remember that this too will pass. It will get easier. And every time you beat a craving, you are one step closer.
The nicotine free dream is yours for the taking long before any other method.
Nicotine replacement therapy
The smoking cessation market is flooded with promises. Various nicotine replacement products claim to be the quickest way to help you stop smoking.
If cold turkey isn’t your bag, then getting smaller hits of nicotine can help you cope with any withdrawal symptoms.
Speak to a medical professional to make sure you choose the right product for you.
Some of the most popular ones are:
- Chewing gum
- Mouth sprays
- Nasal sprays
They are designed to deliver nicotine into the bloodstream. This helps reduce the initial physical cravings.
Combine these with a powerful will and clear vision of your smoke-free life. This way your chance of success increases dramatically.
Manage your triggers
Take some time to identify your triggers. Some triggers that are commonly associated with smoking include:
- Attending social events
- Going to bars and clubs
- Feeling stressed or anxious
- Having breaks at work
- Seeing smokers or smelling smoke
- Being bored
- After eating food
- Friends who smoke
Knowing your personal triggers empowers you to take action. You can decline invitations, avoid certain people (in a nice way) or simply tune in to how you are feeling.
When you feel a craving, just pause for a moment. Give yourself something else to do instead.
It’s a process of retraining the mind to sever the link between these triggers and the act of smoking.
Before long you will be an expert at diverting your mind to a different focus.
Take up a new habit
We all know smoking is a habit and habits are difficult to kick. Especially in the case of nicotine addiction.
Once you’ve committed to making the change, and shifted your mindset, it can help to take up something else instead.
Smokers start for different reasons and carry on smoking for different reasons too. But we all know the health impact is huge and the benefits of stopping are immediate.
When you first quit, the cravings can be intense. The desire to reach for a cigarette to make you feel better can be all-consuming.
So what could you do instead?
If you feel stressed, it could be the perfect opportunity for some mindfulness. Close your eyes and take a moment to check in with yourself.
Notice your breathing but don’t place any judgment on it. Simply observe until you feel a sense of peace. Really appreciate how totally amazing you are.
Try drinking a glass of water when you notice you are thinking about smoking. Not only does this distract your mind, it benefits your body by keeping you hydrated.
Grab a healthy snack like an apple or some carrot sticks. These will keep you occupied and boost your health. Have these easily available so you don’t end up reaching for the junk food. There’s no sense replacing one bad habit for another!
Your hands are used to reaching for cigarettes automatically. Especially if you are in a situation you associate with smoking. So give them an alternative to reach for instead.
Keep a notebook and pen handy for a bit of journaling. Or try massaging in some hand cream. This will remind you that your hands smell amazing without the odour of smoke.
You could also try playing a video game until the craving has passed. This is a good technique for diverting your mind as well as your hands. Squeezing a stress ball or using a fidget toy can also distract your hands.
Keeping your whole body active is important too. Taking a walk round the block can help curb cravings short term. For a longer term fix, get yourself down to the gym and sign up for a new class.
Scientific studies report the benefits of exercise for reducing smoking cravings. Exercise increases the activity of nicotine receptors in the brain. This helps to reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms and the occurrence of cravings.
Exercise also delivers a hit of those feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine. These beat your cravings and improve your mood. Swapping cigarettes for exercise is a win-win situation.
Understand the timeline
Knowing what to expect on your quitting smoking timeline can help you prepare. The best thing is knowing that as soon as you reject the next cigarette, you are improving your health and wellbeing.
Within 20 minutes of the last nicotine hit, your body starts to benefit. Your blood pressure falls and your heart rate returns to normal. After only one day, the risk of heart attack is significantly reduced.
After quitting smoking, the first 72 hours can be the trickiest. During this time nicotine withdrawal symptoms tend to be the worst.
Just four hours after your last cigarette, you are likely to experience a strong craving. The nicotine in your body has dropped significantly. Be prepared and ready to distract yourself.
At this point, be strong and do anything other than reach for that pack of cigarettes. Go for a jog, walk the dog, clean the windows - whatever takes your mind off your need for nicotine.
Over time your body adjusts to the absence of nicotine. This creates a mixture of physical and mental effects.
You are likely to feel irritable, anxious and jittery. Keep reminding yourself that this is all normal and expected. It will eventually pass and every hour you resist, you are one step closer to your smoke-free goal.
After three days, nicotine is no longer in your bloodstream. This can increase uncomfortable sensations such as headaches and irritability.
At the same time, your body is reaping the benefits. With an increase in oxygen levels, exercise feels easier and there’s less shortness of breath. Your lungs are already improving and healing themselves from smoking related damage.
Some studies suggest essential oils used in aromatherapy can help smokers quit their addiction. Using essential oils for anxiety and depression helps to relieve the stresses associated with quitting.
Essential oils are derived from plants. Drawing on the healing powers of nature is a great option if you are looking for a nicotine free method to quit.
They can also be used alongside other smoking cessation methods. As well as being easy to use and cheap to buy, they do not cause any side effects. Inhale some calming scents as part of your smoke-free relaxing self care routine.
One of the best oils for stopping smoking is black pepper. It creates a warming sensation in the throat and lungs to simulate the feeling of smoking. This can significantly reduce cravings.
Another essential oil that can support you kicking the habit is peppermint. This refreshing scent effectively relieves headaches and nausea.
Lavender essential oil is the best choice for relaxation and sleep. Quitting smoking can make you feel anxious and restless. This herb can help soothe you back to a peaceful state of mind.
Look forward to the smoke-free you!
Remember that there’s no single quickest way to stop smoking. The journey to living smoke-free is different for everyone. It can take a few tries to hit on the right combination of methods that suit you.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t succeed on your first attempt. Your journey is personal and you will only ever fail if you stop trying.
One day you will be able to look back on your journey and congratulate yourself for sticking with it.
At ripple+ we are committed to supporting you down the nicotine-free path. If you need an all natural, plant-based boost along the way, be sure to check out our diffusers.