Some of you are trying to get a head start before the family makes you come up with a New Year’s resolution to quit vaping and smoking. So you’ve cut back on tobacco and nicotine and have decided to quit. Awesome! Within the first half hour of quitting, studies have found your blood pressure and heart rate improve, so your health starts to improve immediately!
So, way to go!!!! But now what? It’s not that easy. You’ve got cravings.
Not being able to manage these cravings can put you at risk of relapsing back into nicotine dependence.
Withdrawal from nicotine can manifest in any of the following:
- sore throat
- hand tingling
- increase appetite
- sleep disturbances
- mood changes
- poor concentration
- memory loss
Firstly don’t be afraid to get help if you need to. Nicotine is a powerful, addictive drug and retraining your body to not ask for it is a challenging process. Smokefree.gov offers multiple resources to help one quit smoking/vaping.
Your medical provider can offer you nicotine replacement therapy to help you wean slowly, or medications such as (brand names) Chantix and Wellbutrin that can help you with your cravings as you cut back or quit.
Therapy and counselling can also be very beneficial while you are weaning off nicotine.
But some of you will want to quit cold turkey. How do you manage the cravings then?
So we break this down into biological and psychological factors.
Biologically, we can hit this a few ways. One, is the food choices you make can help with your cravings.
Vegetables like celery and carrots are great quick-to-grab veggies when you’re in a bind. Citrus fruits like oranges work well. Bananas with their vitamin B and potassium melt in your mouth and don’t leave room for a cigarette. Potatoes have potassium and when not loaded up with butter and cheese are….well… not as yummy.
Peppermint is good at curbing cravings, so when you’re walking out of a restaurant don’t forget to grab some of those free candies sitting there. Ginseng and ginger help with cravings as well, and don’t forget fiber. Stuffing your mouth with oats, bran and fibrous foods keep you so busy trying to pick them out of your teeth that you are too exhausted to smoke. Top all of this with lots and lots of water, and you’ll find yourself off the nicotine in no time.
Let’s celebrate. Some one grab me a beer….no wait! No alcohol! Alcohol fuels your cravings as does meat and caffeine. Sorry, I never said it would be easy.
Exercise also helps because it will help you keep busy, increase your endorphins and works on the weight gain that might accompany smoking cessation. Take a nice stroll every time you feel the need to grab a cigarette.
Which transitions nicely into psychological ways to quit.
Distraction is huge. As the cravings come on, distract yourself by exercise, reading, dancing, or writing about your journey towards a smoke-free life to help others.
Have index cards written out with reasons to quit.
Have a disgusting picture of tobacco-destroyed lung in the kitchen or wherever you get the urge to smoke.
And get your friends and coworkers on board to help. If they vape/smoke in front of you, it will make it that much harder. Have a friend, family member designated as your support guide who texts you encouraging messages throughout the day as you try to quit. Remind them that the content cannot include chores or reminders to pick things up on the way home. There……if these tricks don’t help you quit vaping/smoking, at least you can use them to get out of chores…..