Become former smoker step by steps
A Smoking cessation Guide can be helpful on your way to quit smoking. Do you want to quit smoking but are wondering how to do it? Or have you already had a failed attempt and are doubtful that you will ever get rid of the cigarette? With these step-by-step instructions you can optimally prepare yourself to quit smoking, so that your quitting is a complete success. With these 10 tips you can become smoke-free and stay that way for a long time.
Step 1: Make a conscious decision
At the very beginning of quitting there is a conscious decision to stop smoking. Most smokers find themselves in an inner conflict.
On the one hand, you want to quit smoking because you know how harmful, expensive and smelly cigarettes are. On the other hand, your inner weaker self persuades you to need the smoldering stick to cope with stress, to make connections, to bridge boredom and to be able to concentrate.
Are you familiar with that? You can only get out of this inner turmoil if you consciously make the decision for yourself: I will quit smoking!
Step 2: Find out your personal motivation
In order to consolidate your decision, it helps to shed light on your own motivation. To do this, deal with the advantages that you see in smoking and the disadvantages that the cigarette brings with it. Likewise, ask yourself what is positive for you when you quit smoking and what disadvantages this could have.
It often helps to ask the “worst-case” question:
What happens in the worst case if I keep smoking?
What happens in the worst case if I quit smoking?
The answers to these questions should help you to consolidate your resolve. You can only win! At the end of your motivational analysis, you should identify your top 3 reasons why you want to quit smoking.
It’s best to write down these reasons on a piece of paper. This can help you later when you are in a dicey situation and craving for a cigarette arises.
Smoking cessation Guide Step 3: Look through nicotine addiction
Not only is smoking a bad habit, it is ultimately an addiction to nicotine. It is a vicious circle that you are in. Once you understand how this works, it will be easier to get out of it.
If you smoke a cigarette, the nicotine reaches your brain via the bloodstream in seconds. There, various messenger substances are released that trigger a pleasant feeling in you. Since nicotine is poison for your body, it breaks down the nicotine quickly and your nicotine level in the blood drops. You get restless, nervous or feel a kind of inner emptiness. You probably know the feeling well.
Your thoughts then turn more and more about when you can finally smoke the next cigarette. These withdrawal symptoms are only gone when you light the next cigarette, the nicotine level rises and these messenger substances are released again in your brain. Then your head will be calm again for a short time. You are stuck in an absolute vicious circle that you can only get out of if you don’t smoke your next cigarette.
If you want to know more about how nicotine works, general nicotine addiction and how to quit nicotine with nicotine patches or nicotine chewing gums, take a look at the following blog post from me: Nicotine: The Comprehensive Guide.
Step 4: Know the tricks of the tobacco industry
Knowing the tricks of the tobacco industry can help to get rid of the cigarette even more easily through a kind of “enemy image”. The cigarette industry does everything to keep you a regular customer.
Did you know, for example, that in addition to pure tobacco and nicotine there are over 4,000 chemical substances in your cigarette or cigarette smoke, the majority of which have been proven to be harmful or even carcinogenic? Lead, arsenic and mercury can be found in glow stems or in tobacco smoke, for example.
The cigarette manufacturers invest a lot of money in research to make smoking even more pleasant and to make you even faster and more dependent. Therefore additives are deliberately added to the cigarette. Menthol is used, for example, to reduce itching in the respiratory tract, sugar and spices to soften the bitter taste and urea to improve nicotine absorption.
The cigarette industry is doing all of this in order to make as much profit as possible from you and your addiction, although it has been proven how harmful smoking is. They don’t care about your health, they just want your money.
Incredible sums of money are spent annually on advertising to suggest to you how cool, sexy, adventurous, relaxed and free smoking makes you.
However, it is exactly the opposite, right? Smoking makes you dependent, sick, unfit and unattractive.
Smoking cessation Guide step 5: Break the power of habit
Aside from nicotine addiction, smoking is also a very strong habit. You probably always smoke in the same situations and moods, right? For example the cigarette with coffee, while waiting for the train, after work, with stress and anger or with boredom.
It is important to know your smoking habits in order to be able to break them. The best thing to do is to observe yourself for a full day and keep a log of the number of cigarettes you have smoked. You will see how many cigarettes you are not even consciously aware of and how you reach for the box almost automatically.
Over the many years of smoking you have firmly linked certain situations with smoking. For example, drinking coffee and smoking are tightly coupled in your brain. But now the good news: You can break this link again. Customs can be changed!
Smoking cessation Guide step 6: Find suitable alternatives
In order to break these tight connections in your brain, it helps to think of alternatives. Deliberately distract yourself and do something else instead of picking up a cigarette as usual. Does your day usually start with a cup of coffee and a cigarette in hand? Then think about what you can do alternatively while drinking coffee in the future! E.g. reading the newspaper or a magazine, having breakfast, going through the to-do list for the day or looking at the non-smoking app on your smartphone.
Ultimately, it’s nothing more than building new habits. Logically, this takes some time before it becomes completely normal and habit. But don’t worry, it can be done and it is getting easier and more normal every day. At some point you will drink coffee and your brain will no longer demand a cigarette.
So think in advance about suitable and feasible alternatives for your typical smoking situations. This helps enormously in the first few days in order not to even let the thought of a cigarette arise.
Here are some ideas:
- Read a book / newspaper
- Drink water / tea
- Nibble on vegetable sticks
- Movement (e.g. walking up and down stairs)
- Breathing exercise (Anger & Stress management)
- Do housework
- Keep your hands busy (stress ball, fidget spinner, …)
7. Step smoking cessation Guide: Plan your first day of non-smoking
It is important to set a fixed date for your smoking cessation day and to stick to it. Smoke your last cigarette the night before and make yourself aware again how much toxins you are taking in with each puff, how disgusting the smoke tastes and why you personally want to quit.
Then throw away all of your smoking paraphernalia – you won’t need them in the future. Avoid having secret cigarette depots in your home in case of an emergency. This only makes it unnecessarily difficult for yourself and increases the risk of relapse. Because if you should ever feel the urge to smoke, you can of course quickly pick up the box if there are still cigarettes in the house. Plus, the smell will always remind you of smoking. For this reason, you should definitely remove the smoke smell from the apartment!
Plan your first smoke-free day in as much detail as possible. How will your day start? What typical smoking situations will you encounter and what distractions do you plan to use? Are there any dangerous situations that you will face and how do you intend to master them?
It is best not to let boredom arise on your first smoke-free day, but plan the day well so that you don’t leave any space for thoughts about the cigarette. Well prepared, nothing can surprise you and throw you off track on your first smoke-free day.
Smoking cessation Guide step 8: Reward yourself for not smoking
If you have managed the first smoke-free day, you can be proud of yourself. Make sure you plan a reward for yourself. For example, let yourself be well again and go to the sauna, swimming pool, massage or dinner with your partner.
In the first few days and weeks, plan small rewards in your everyday life, such as a new special tea, a bouquet of flowers, a visit to the cinema or the theater. On the one hand, this is good for you if you initially suffer from a bad mood and irritability. On the other hand, it actually helps your brain as well.
You are probably familiar with the phenomenon that children learn much better if they are promised a reward afterwards. The key word here is: learning through reward. It works the same way with adults. So if you reward yourself regularly, your brain will learn faster and better that not smoking is the new state and that not smoking is good.
It is important to have tangible everyday rewards and not just the planned summer vacation for the coming year, which you would like to afford with the money you have saved.
Step 9: Prevent Relapse
Becoming a non-smoker is one thing, remaining a non-smoker is another. Perhaps you know Mark Twain’s saying “Quitting smoking is child’s play. I’ve done it a hundred times “. It is crucial to stabilize non-smokers after quitting smoking and not fall into the trap again.
An important rule that you should keep in mind is: There is no such thing as “one”! If you only smoke one cigarette, your addiction memory is reactivated in no time and your brain demands the second cigarette. The second becomes the third and you are back in the old pattern faster than you can think.
Think ahead of dangerous situations. Think about what dicey situations you will face in the next few days and weeks. This could be a birthday party or a meeting with friends who all smoke. Think in advance what you will do in these situations, how you can distract yourself.
Most relapses happen on social occasions, usually with alcohol or in stressful situations. It can therefore make sense to consciously avoid alcohol at the beginning or at least drink less. Is it worth this one evening to endanger your hard-won non-smoker existence?
To stay smoke-free in the long term, it is important to find a new outlet for your stress and anger. So far, that has been the cigarette, but ultimately it hasn’t changed the actual situation.
How can you reduce stress in the future? Sport and exercise, talking about problems, taking a deep breath and making yourself a cup of tea, punching in the pillow, etc., can be possibilities.
Step 10: Enjoy your smoke-free life
Enjoy every day without a cigarette, but with more life energy, fitness, health and above all freedom.
Consciously take in all the positive changes in your body. After just a few days you will notice that you smell and taste better. After a short time you will notice how you get more air, your fitness gets better and it is much easier for you to get to the third floor again.
Make yourself aware of all these positive changes, especially in dangerous situations. Always try to think positively: the glass is not half empty, but half full.
Always have your personal reasons for quitting in mind. Quitting smoking was and is the best decision!