How do I Choose the Best Quit-Smoking Plan?

L. Burgoon

Smoking can be an extremely difficult habit to break, and success often hinges on choosing the best quitting plan. The proper quit-smoking plan may depend on the individual’s willpower and personality as well as the level of addiction to nicotine. Picking the best quit-smoking plan involves assessing smoking habits, deciding what level of withdrawal symptoms are acceptable, and setting timed goals to break the habit permanently. These factors will help determine which smoking cessation plan is best. Regardless of the method used, it is important to obtain support and resources to remain committed to the plan to stop smoking.

Prescription pills are available to help smokers quit.
Prescription pills are available to help smokers quit.

There are many approaches to smoking cessation. Some people choose to go “cold turkey,” i.e., immediately quit. Others prefer a more gradual decline to ease their way into quitting and will slowly decrease the number of cigarettes smoked. Some smokers employ nicotine substitutes, such as patches, gum, lozenges and nasal sprays. There also are prescription pills available to wean people from cigarettes.

Nicotine gum can help with quitting smoking.
Nicotine gum can help with quitting smoking.

When deciding which method is best, it is helpful to assess your smoking habits. Those with specific triggers to cigarette use — for instance, when drinking alcohol or after a stressful episode at work — may find that quitting hinges on avoiding those activities. For them, a cold turkey plan could work.

Some people turn to nicotine patches when trying to quit smoking.
Some people turn to nicotine patches when trying to quit smoking.

Others with a long-term cigarette habit are likely are much more addicted to nicotine. These people probably will find the cold turkey method intolerable because of withdrawal symptoms. For them, a more gradual decline in cigarette use could work better. They also may prefer to use a nicotine substitute product in conjunction with decreasing the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Some may need the prescription medicine designed to ease smokers’ addictions.

Many people decide to wean themselves off nicotine little by little.
Many people decide to wean themselves off nicotine little by little.

The best quit-smoking plan also takes ability to tolerate withdrawal symptoms into account. Nicotine addicts who suddenly quit usually experience headaches, mood swings, and anxiety. Some people are willing to tolerate these side effects in the name of quitting, while others will be more likely to return to cigarette use when faced with these symptoms. Smokers should decide what level of withdrawal they are willing to endure and pick a full-stop or gradual quit-smoking plan accordingly.

A timed goal for breaking the cigarette habit also can help identify the best stop smoking plan. An immediate goal may call for the cold turkey approach. A longer time frame could accommodate progressively decreasing the amount of cigarettes smoked. For a goal somewhere in the middle, nicotine substitutes could be the best plan.

Research shows that people who successfully stop smoking received support in their efforts. Choosing the best quit-smoking plan is important, but it is equally vital to find emotional assistance. Consider accessing a government-sponsored counseling program or smoking cessation private support group. A number of nonproft organizations also provide counseling, advice, and literature to help back up smoking cessation efforts.

Some smokers use self-hypnosis to address their addiction through visualization and other techniques.
Some smokers use self-hypnosis to address their addiction through visualization and other techniques.

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