Today is No Smoking Day. I know personally how important this day can be for people across the globe. I have struggled with tobacco addiction for much of my life. I grew up in Virginia, aka tobacco country, and picked up the habit when I was far to young to be smoking legally. After years of struggle, numerous relapses, and trying almost every trick in the book, I am finally tobacco free. Are you or someone you love struggling with tobacco addiction? Try these tips to kick the habit.
Setting a goal gives you time to prepare yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually for the journey of quitting. The first three days of quitting smoking are the hardest on your body physically. After three days the physical addition has dramatically shifted and what you’re up against is largely emotional, social, and spiritual. If you’ve ever quit before, you probably know that these are the days when your inner beast can come out in some really gnarly ways because of the withdraw. Pick a time when you have at least three days of rest and less stress if you can. Is there an upcoming three day weekend that you could take advantage? Are there days of the week that are less stressful at work? Try to time your date so that you have some space from others.
2) Ask for Support
I always encourage people I’m working with who are quitting to reach out to their families and friends for support. Tell them about your plans to quit and ask for their support. This is critical because most people can’t do this alone. Getting your support networks involved with your journey to break your addiction both increases the network of folks around you holding you up and also increases accountability. For many of us, it’s easier to keep a promise if we are making it in front of our loved ones than if we make it by ourselves. Also, make sure to tell your friends who smoke that you are quitting. Consider asking them not to smoke around you or even taking a break from spending time with them until you have a few weeks of not smoking under your belt. You also might consider attending a twelve step meeting for smokers, Nicotine Anonymous.
You have probably heard this already but exercise is one of the best ways to support kicking tobacco addiction. Rigorous exercise like jogging, speedwalking, or biking gets your blood pumping and your endorphins flowing. These “happy hormones” can be a great way to shift your energy away from your addiction. It won’t take long for you to notice the difference in your breathing. It’s powerful to pay attention to your body healing as your ability to run without getting winded increases each week.
4) Try these Herbs
The plants can be powerful allies for the journey to quit smoking. Herbal remedies and teas can bring ease and calm to the chaos of quitting smoking. When I’m working with someone who is quitting smoking, I always give them a bottle of Milky Oats aka Oatstraw tincture. This plant is a nervous system tonic that can bring significant immediate relief to cigarette cravings. Take 3-5 drops whenever you have a craving. I generally give folks free reign to take as much as they need throughout the first few days but if you’re halfway through the bottle on the first day, you might want to tone it down a bit.
Another plant that I like a lot with folks who are quitting tobacco is Mullein leaf. This plant is an amazing lung tonic and offers powerful medicine in healing the silia, the tiny hairs lining the lungs that are damaged during smoking. This plant also offers support to the entire respiratory system and will help your body to expel the gunk that’s been building up during your years of smoking. I generally suggest people take mullein for 3-6 months after quitting smoking. It’s lovely in a tea if mixed with a flavorful herb like mint or chammomile. Drink 2-3 cups a day. Or you can try it in tincture form and then I would take 12 drops three times a day for the first three weeks and then drop the dose to 5-10 drops three times a day.
I have both experienced Chinese medicine to be highly effective in quitting smoking among my clients and in my own personal journey. An acupuncturist will ask you some questions and then insert very small needles into points in your body along energy channels to support your body healing and to help with the cravings. This treatment can bring great relief especially during the first few days of quitting. You also might ask your acupuncturist to place some ear seeds in your ears like in the photo to your right. These seeds are taped in your ear along different points that are connected with your cravings. When you feel the urge to smoke, you can press on the seeds and take some deep breaths. These buds bring tremendous relief!
6) Do what you need to do
The average smoker quits 7 times before they quit for good. Chances are if you’re quitting, you have probably quit before. What worked the last time you quit? What triggered your relapse? Create time and space in your life to increase the activities that helped last time you quit and stay away from the ones that led you to relapse. Does drinking coffee or beer make you want to smoke? You might want to consider taking a break from these as well. Do you want to smoke after you eat? After sex? Work on a plan of alternate activities when those cravings come around.
You can do it. It is an uphill battle and it’s never easy. With these tips, determination and the loving support of community you can do it.
Feel like you need more support in developing your plan to quit smoking. Click here to schedule a FREE 30 min phone consultation to discuss herbal medicines and strategies to quit smoking and stay quit!