You probably know the reasons you should quit nicotine. But if you’re wondering how to go about it, you may have some questions. Here are answers to some of the top concerns people have when it comes to quitting.
Have I waited too long?
It’s never too late to quit. Your health improves immediately upon quitting. And the benefits increase with time.
Should I quit all at once or slowly?
When you decide to quit, set a quit date. That’s the date you’ll stop, completely. Smokers and vapers who quit cold turkey tend to be less successful than those who reduce their smoking or vaping slowly.
Should I use a medication or nicotine replacement?
There are two types of options to help you quit. Prescription quit medications decrease cravings and make smoking or vaping less pleasurable. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can mean patches, lozenges, gum, spray or inhaler. These give your body nicotine to lessen the physical discomfort of withdrawals experienced when quitting. Talk to your doctor about which options are best for you.
Should I find a coach or a counselor to help me quit?
It can be hard to quit, especially in the first few weeks. Having support is a proven way to help you quit successfully.
There are many options for finding support. Quitlines and text services offer access to coaches and counselors who can support you in the quitting process. Teladoc offers a Tobacco Cessation program that includes a health coach and 24/7 helpline, as well as medications if necessary. Talking to supportive friends can also be helpful.
How can I distract myself when I crave nicotine?
Everyday behaviors are often common triggers that can bring on nicotine cravings. Figure out your triggers and plan what you will do instead. Try these alternatives when you are having urges:
- Keep your hands busy by doodling or squeezing a hand ball.
- Sip some water whenever you have the urge to smoke or vape.
- Chew on sugar-free gum or munch on crunchy carrots or sunflower seeds.
- Practice relaxation techniques, like taking a deep breath or counting to 10.
- Call a friend or chat with a counselor
- Avoid places where people smoke or vape.
- Brush your teeth after eating.
What should I do with my vape, cigarettes, matches and other supplies?
Throw away cartridges, cigarettes and matches. Throw away or give away vapes, ashtrays, lighters and other supplies. Clearing these daily reminders from your space makes it easier to have a fresh start.
What if I slip up?
It is common to have slips after quitting. If that happens to you, remember your reasons for quitting. Reach out to a friend or counselor for support. Try to use it as a learning experience. What triggered you and what could you do differently next time? Use that information to help you move forward.
How will I feel after I quit?
Quitting can feel uncomfortable, both emotionally and physically. You may feel irritable, angry, restless, anxious or depressed. You may have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might find your appetite is stronger, and you may gain weight.
Nicotine-replacement therapies and quit medications can make quitting more comfortable. And having support can help you process the feelings around quitting. Know that you are making one of the best decisions for your body and keep at it.