Being hooked on cigarettes is both a habit and addiction. In order to break free and quit cold turkey, it’s important to address both. Because of this you should know that the use of e-cigarettes does not help you quit smoking at all; it’s just changing the method of taking in nicotine, and does nothing to change the habit.
Nicotine “vapor” is also harmful for your lungs, and when you add the negative effects of the other components found in the e-cigarettes, it is clearly not a safe option either. If you are wondering how to quit smoking cold turkey, here are some ideas that might help you quit.
List the Benefits
The very first thing to do when you are looking to quit is to list the benefits you stand to gain. Whether you are just curious about how to quit smoking or you actually want to do it, listing the benefits is always a first step that will motivate you. Once you have written down the benefits, make sure that you always carry the list with you for motivation whenever you are tempted to lapse. It’s also a good idea to list the negative things about smoking that you want to leave behind.
Pick a Quit Day
Pick a significant date for you, your birthday, your daughter’s birthday, anniversary, Summer Solstice, etc. Have it be a week or so ahead, and every night you go to sleep leading up to that day, review your positive benefit list, and the negative things you want to leave behind, and imagine how good it is going to be to be free of the habit and the addiction. Imagine it’s a month, 6 months, six years after you’ve quit, cigarettes are completely out of your life, you’re enjoying every good thing in life, your concerns about your long term health are gone, your energy has returned, your fit and healthy, the cough is gone, and smoking and cigarettes are simply irrelevant.
Then, on your quit day, do something special and different, and especially change your daily routine around like I describe below.
Change the Habit
The secret to changing a habit is to replace it with a positive parallel habit. If you’ve been smoking a pack a day, there have been 20 intervals a day where habit has formed around. Deliberately do something different during each of those times. For instance:
- Wake up and go for a walk, then come home and drink tea instead of coffee
- Take breathing breaks at work, instead of smoking, step outside or away from your desk and count down 20 deep breaths with extended exhales
- If you work out in the evening, workout in the morning
- Listen to an audio book while driving
- If you get bored, get creative with your time, start painting or pick up a hobby you’ve been wanting to do
It’s even good to change routines and habits for a week or two that had nothing to do with smoking, for example: breathe through any challenges, drink tea instead of coffee, Club Soda instead of Coke, shop at a different grocery store, or drive a different way to work. These alter your neural processes and make it easier to change the old habits into positive ones.
When You Quit
Most people are surprised to learn that nicotine is completely gone for your body in about 48 hours. After this time, since there is no more nicotine, there is no more addiction. What remains is the habit. So being deliberate about changing the habit, as described above, is paramount to becoming free.
During the first couple days after you’ve quit, you can minimize withdrawals by, first, deliberately changing the habit.
Next, drink lots of water, take vitamin-C and -B, a calcium and magnesium supplement, do lots of deep breathing and keep busy while the body frees itself of poisons and pollutants. These actions help replenish the body’s natural resources that have been significantly depleted by the constant detoxification of your past smoking habit. They also help the body recover more quickly.
Also, frequently snack on high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate foods such as Zone-balanced snack bars, jerky (turkey, salmon or beef), pre-prepared lean meats, soy or whey protein shakes, edamame (soy) beans, canned sardines, etc. Also, minimize simple carbohydrates like ice cream, potato chips, cookies, cakes, etc. This helps balance your blood sugar, minimize withdrawal, and gives you a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
Enjoy Your Freedom!
Quitting smoking cold turkey doesn’t have to be difficult. Honestly, in the nearly 30 years I’ve been helping people quit, I realize it’s only as hard or easy as you want to make it. Don’t believe all the hogwash about it being more difficult than heroin or cocaine. That is propaganda by the tobacco companies that want you to think it’s hard so you keep smoking and lining their pockets while damaging you.
Just remember that nicotine is so poisonous that your wise and intelligent body eliminates it in a couple short days. After that, it’s just a habit that you can change quickly and easily, as long as you recognize it. Then, all you have to do is enjoy your freedom!