Smoke harms the health! Everyone knows that. Nevertheless, around 23 percent of adults in Germany smoke – that’s around 12 million people. Many smokers die as a result of tobacco use.
Quitting smoking is always a good idea given these numbers. And many smokers also want to get out of their addiction. But quitting nicotine is often harder than you think. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can become a non-smoker – and stay smoke-free.
Quitting Smoking: Benefits of Nicotine Weaning
While quitting nicotine is tough, there are many benefits to being smokeless. So it’s definitely worth it. After quitting smoking, you can look forward to these benefits:
#1 Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- According to the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), smoking is responsible for around a fifth of all cancers. “But heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes or chronic bronchitis can often be traced back to smoking,” they write on the smoke-free platform!
- For example, after one to nine months after quitting nicotine, your risk of infection decreases – fits of coughing and shortness of breath slowly subside.
- Your taste and smell nerves regenerate from the first day of quitting smoking – you will be amazed at how much more intense your favorite dish tastes all at once.
- Your breathing will noticeably improve after just a few days. After three months of quitting smoking, your lung capacity increases by up to 30 percent!
#2 Quitting Smoking: Beauty and Psychological Benefits
- You get fewer wrinkles. Because nicotine and smoke accelerate skin aging. If you want your complexion to look fresher and more even, you should quit smoking.
- Discoloration on your fingers and nails will disappear after you stop smoking – your teeth will not discolor again after you have your teeth professionally cleaned.
- When you’re smoke free, you’re also free from the addictions and compulsions that previously limited you. You no longer have to search for cigarette machines or worry about running out of cigarettes.
- Quitting nicotine can also have a positive impact on your social life: you no longer have to interrupt stimulating conversations for a smoke break.
- If you want to quit smoking, you can use the nicotine cessation to replace old habits – such as the pleasure cigarette after a meal – with healthier habits – such as a short digestive walk.
- Your nerves calm down after the first withdrawal period and you are more resilient than with cigarettes.
#3 Financial benefits of quitting nicotine
Cigarettes are expensive. Calculate how much money you could save if you quit smoking. You could invest all of that savings in a vacation or some other reward.
The Federal Center for Health Education states smoke-free on its website! Also a free smoke free calculator available.
Weight gain when quitting smoking – no reason to continue smoking
Many women want to quit smoking, but are reluctant to stop smoking because of the possible weight gain. And of course it can lead to weight gain – especially if you reach for a candy bar instead of a cigarette. However, you can counteract the increase with a healthy diet and enough exercise.
And the health, financial, psychological and cosmetic benefits of quitting smoking clearly outweigh the disadvantages here!
Tackling Quitting Smoking: Preparing for Sustainable Success
Even the best cessation tricks are useless if you stand in your own way. Realize that long-term success only comes with a strong will and if you stick with it. So here are some tips to keep in mind before quitting nicotine:
- Motivation: You will only succeed in quitting smoking if you are 100 percent convinced. You need to break out of your old habits and see the old comfort nicotine as your worst enemy. Show you all the benefits of a smoke-free life. A good motivator here is a list of rewards you’re giving yourself out of your savings.
- Change in diet: Nicotine suppresses appetite and stimulates metabolism. Smokers burn between 200 and 250 more calories a day. To keep your body weight from increasing as a result of weaning, you should change your diet and subtract those calories from the start. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, salads, fish and whole grains. Drinking a lot, especially before meals, helps to get the feeling of hunger under control. Stay away from small snacks like chocolate or crisps – even if it’s difficult. Because in withdrawal you will always be on the lookout for substitute satisfaction. Be aware of this and control yourself.
- Prepare yourself, your friends and family for withdrawal symptoms: If your daily dose of nicotine is missing, you will become easily irritable, anxious and in a bad mood. The sooner you adjust yourself and your surroundings to this, the better. Of course, you should always try to restrain yourself. Meditation and exercise can help keep your moods under control.
Quit Smoking: Tips and Tricks
The power of habit is sometimes overwhelming. Especially in the early stages of nicotine withdrawal. We’ve collected some tips and tricks here that might make it a little easier for you.
#1 Analyze your smoking behavior and look for counter-strategies
Observe the situations in which you want to smoke. After the meal? With stress? In the evening on the sofa? Now you can look for specific counter-strategies so that you are not so tempted in these situations. After dinner, go for a walk or get a stress ball!
#2 Reward even small successes
Many smokers associate the cigarette with positive things – during the smoke break they get into conversation with others, the cigarette gives them a little break from stress. In order to free yourself from these thoughts, it is important that you reward not smoking and recognize positive things about it. How best to reward yourself for your successes is up to you.
#3 Distract yourself
It may sound obvious, but when it comes to quitting smoking, distraction can do wonders. Whether it’s exercise, meditation or a coffee with friends – distraction is good for you now.
Why not learn a new language or instrument and practice every free minute. Or how about the motto: “Instead of every cigarette a Sudoku”? A project that you are working on alone or in a group can also be a very specific distraction. Just trick your mind.
#4 Change of location
Plan a mini-vacation to seal your new chapter in life. Even if you are obnoxious now, a change of location with new impressions and impulses can work wonders. Quitting nicotine might be a lot easier in a brand new place.
There are countless reports of former smokers who were able to quit smoking through hypnosis. However, the effect of hypnosis for smoking cessation cannot be definitively proven by large studies. If you think that hypnosis could help you to quit smoking, you should inform yourself sufficiently beforehand. Don’t book an appointment with just any hypnotist – it’s easy to get ripped off here.
#6 Nicotine Replacement & Medication
There are many nicotine replacement products available: patches and gum are the most popular. There are already initial studies that suggest that these drugs make it easier to quit smoking. However, nicotine substitutes are not a magical solution to quitting smoking.
There are also medications that can help you quit smoking. In addition to nicotine substitutes such as patches and chewing gum, agents such as buproprion and varenicline are also said to help people stop smoking. The best thing to do here is to talk to a doctor about your options – but keep in mind that these medications are usually used as the last step, as they can also have strong side effects.
#7 Medicinal Plants
St. John’s wort and valerian can have a calming effect in all kinds of stressful situations and provide mental relaxation. A lavender bath will also give you an emotionally positive experience during this challenging time.
Licorice root also promises distraction for the mouth and the desire for a cigarette. As the name suggests, it tastes sweet, keeps you busy and reduces your cravings for sweets. In addition, its ingredients also stimulate the bronchial tubes to secrete.
Especially in moments of stress you should be particularly strong – this is where the temptation is usually greatest. Then try to move out of the situation. Fresh air or a little meditation or breathing exercise will help you. Autogenic training, a massage , yoga or progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson are particularly suitable for building inner strength.
Scientific studies have repeatedly found that athletes generally smoke less. According to a British study, what is new is that training sessions can reduce cravings for cigarettes. Therefore, make sure you get enough exercise and sport during your weaning. In this way, you not only control your weight, but also your cravings for nicotine.
#10 Find like-minded people
Group therapy always has the best chance of success. Individual institutes offer smoking cessation courses at so-called smoking outpatient clinics. The gentle peer pressure has a positive effect on the result. But the good old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” also applies to a friend, partner or family member.
In addition to hypnotherapy, acupuncture is one of the alternative methods of smoking cessation. The fine needle pricks should not only suppress the need to smoke, but also alleviate the negative side effects of withdrawal. However, their benefit has not been sufficiently proven.
Acupuncture is safe and easy to try – but always seek professional help.
Quitting Smoking: Help Centers and Resources
Quitting nicotine is often very difficult – that’s why we’ve collected a few important resources and further information for you here that can help you to become smoke-free:
- Chemniz smokers outpatient clinic
- Smoke-free exit program of the BZgA
- Non-smoking calendar for the first 100 days
- Provider of smoking cessation courses and telephone counseling