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9 effective ways to quit smoking

May 30, 2015 11:59 IST
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Sunday, May 31 is World No Tobacco Day.

Here, Dr Samir D Garde, pulmonologist, Global Hospitals, Mumbai shares simple ways of how you can effectively kick the butt.

Nicotine addiction is a fatal health issueNicotine addiction is one of the worst types of addiction.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year.

More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 6,00,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030.

In India, the problem is also more complex, as cigarettes are easily available in every nook and corner, and you can buy them loose.

On the other hand in Western countries, cigarettes are not sold loose and are not as easily available as it is in India.

In India one million deaths occur due to tobacco.

There are many risk factors associated with tobacco that affects heart, liver and lungs.

Smoking leads to heart attacks, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), strokes, hypertension, cancer and peripheral vascular disease.

We have been talking about banning smoking, law has been enacted, but nothing has happened till date, on the contrary smoking has gone up.

However with multiple health risks it prevails, quitting smoking can be tough. But with the right plan tailored to your needs, you can break the addiction, manage your cravings, and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good.

Here are some useful ways to quit smoking:

1. Identify your smoking triggers 

One of the best ways to quit smoking is to identify the things that compel you for smoking any such situations, activities, feelings or people.

Today adult smokers are more in number.

The reason being so is the unpleasant feelings which they are unable to manage such as stress depression, loneliness, fear or anxiety.

Rather than prioritising smoking, the most effective ways to keep these feelings at bay are exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.

2. Go for physical activity 

Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce the intensity of cravings.

Take up any sport, dancing, zumba that will distract you from immediate craving.

3. Meditation

Meditation will help your mind to relax thus distracting you from negative feelings and emotions that might attract you towards smoking.

4. Chew on something crunchy 

Give your mouth something crunchy and satisfying to fight a tobacco craving.

Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds.

5. Distract yourself from smoking 

Visit places where tobacco is prohibited. Better still, meet friends who don’t smoke.

Do things you’ve never done but just make sure to avoid the triggers or things that make you want to smoke.

You need to give yourself all the support you can.

6. Avoid alcohol consumption 

Many people have the habit of smoking while they drink.

Try non-alcoholic drinks or drink only in places where smoking is prohibited.

7. Medication

Medication is best treated for smoking cessation.

Prescription tablets are available which reduces your craving to smoke.

Check with your doctor or take help of a counsellor who can advise you on what medicines are available.

8. Counselling 

Counselling helps in quitting smoking.

People who are frequent smokers and are looking to quit, should visit a qualified counsellor who can detect your inspiration to smoke and accordingly suggest alternative ways to distract you from the bad habit.

9. Stay away from smokers 

One of the major obstacles in the path is having a friend circle of smokers.

The best way to fight this is by refraining from going or meeting friends, colleagues who indulge in smoking.

After you have successfully won over your addiction, you can try encouraging your friend also to quit the habit.

Remember your health is your priority.

If you have interesting ideas on quitting smoking, please share it with us in the messageboard below.

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