Devise a plan to stop smoking - how to give up smoking and which method to use.
If you have tried to stop smoking once or several times in the past and found that certain methods did not work for you, you should have some idea of what might work this time round.
If you tried "cold turkey" or used nicotine patches and failed miserably, it is probably best to try a different method for a greater chance of success.
After setting your quit date, you should have enough time to decide on the best method for you and to organize everything that you will need in time for the all important day.
If you decide to use a nicotine replacement therapy, you will have to go out and stock up on supplies, whereas if you chose to join a stop smoking group, then you will need to make appointments and find a suitable group.
Now, if you have tried to stop smoking by using the "cold turkey" method on a previous occasion and just couldn't handle the withdrawal symptoms or if you have read our section
on nicotine withdrawal symptoms and think that you will not be able to cope with the headaches, depression, tiredness or insomnia, maybe you should look to using a nicotine replacement therapy product such as a gum
. Nicotine replacement therapy products can help to relieve withdrawal symptoms so that you only have to concentrate on handling the cravings to smoke.
For more information about these products and to find out which one may be most suitable for you, read our articles in our "Quitting Aids" section.
If a certain product does appeal to you, consult your doctor for more advice, as there are health risks involved.
Using a nicotine replacement therapy product entails replacing the high doses of nicotine in cigarettes, with lower doses of nicotine that are administered through a steady and safe supply. The treatment usually lasts for 3 months.
For some, the thought of pumping their body with more nicotine may not seem appealing, even though the doses are considerably lower, or for those who prefer a healthier method or one that is slightly less hassle-free and is over and done with in one go, you might want to try an alternative method such as hypnotherapy or acupuncture (see our section on methods of giving up smoking).
Alone or in a group?
The next step is to figure out whether you have enough willpower to go it alone or whether you prefer to give up with a friend or join a smoking-cessation group in your area.
If you think that you may not get enough support at home, you may decide to join a stop smoking group.
These groups are run by health experts, with the idea of offering support, advice and counselling sessions for smokers who wish to give up. You will probably attend group meetings once or twice a week for a period of about 8 weeks. During the third week, the whole group will give up smoking together. As you will attend these sessions with other smokers, you can all share experiences, offer each other helpful tips and advice and generally provide and receive support from people in the same situation as yourself.
If the above does not appeal to you, you could just quit "cold turkey" with a friend and encourage each other. Make sure that at least one of you has the determination and willpower to give up though.
If you are not alone in giving up and have the support of at least one more person, research shows that you will be more likely to succeed.
You do not have to give up alone and there are plenty of services available to help and advise you. Giving up with another smoker will provide you with mutual support, a friendly ear that completely understands what you are going through and even a bit of rivalry and competition to make sure that you do not give up giving up quite so easily.
Hopefully the above will have given you some idea of which method you are going to use in order to give up smoking and that you can now devise some sort of plan to help you achieve your goal.
After further research, if you need to, you should be able to decide whether you are going to stop "cold turkey" or whether it is safer to take an NRT or try an alternative therapy. If you do decide on an NRT, which one is most suited to your needs and lifestyle. Are you going to give up with a friend, attend a group or go it alone?
Once all of these questions have been answered, the next step is to look at when you smoke and how to change your routine, so that you are doing something else at these times. Also you need to look at where and in which situations you think that the most temptation lies, which could stop you on your way to becoming a non-smoker. In the next
section we will study all of these points and offer some advice on how to cope with the cravings and get through the tricky times.