Even if you have decided to give up smoking in the New Year, it can be a little difficult knowing where or how to start. If you are seriously considering quitting smoking, why not try buying or making a smoking cessation calendar.
There are a lot of products circulating in the world that support people who’ve decided to give up cigarettes. Many people have smoked for over 20 years, and their body and mind have grown accustomed to the habit and ritual surrounding smoking. Rather than focusing on how to quit smoking quickly, focusing on making a plan and a quit smoking timeline may help make it easier to finally give up cigarettes. Plus, by doing this you can prepare several things in advance. Here, we will introduce different products that may help with smoking cessation and how to create a preliminary environment.
Smoking cessation aids or stop-smoking calendars?
Let’s start with the necessity of smoking cessation goods and quit-smoking calendars. Of course, if you can easily quit smoking by going cold turkey, smoking cessation aids may not be necessary. Most people, however, need several attempts before finally being able to quit smoking, and not all approaches work for all people. The dependence on cigarettes often prevails over the logical mindset of “I shouldn’t keep sucking on cigarettes.” It is often because of this addiction that many people will fall off the wagon even by smoking a single cigarette.
A certain degree of willpower is indeed necessary – not just to forget about tobacco, but to leave the temptation behind for good. For many, the act of smoking cigarettes provides a certain degree of perceived stress relief. Suddenly stopping smoking before switching to a particular smoking cessation aid often causes a certain amount of stress, which in turn can make it difficult to overcome withdrawal symptoms. Paradoxically, if you are aiming to quit smoking, you can say that continuing the act of smoking is necessary to a degree to help reduce the stress caused from quitting. Certain products can even help avoid withdrawal symptoms since they allow smokers to continue the act of smoking – that is, until they finally give it up.
Quit-smoking products in the market
There are a wide number of cessation products found around the world. Generally speaking, quitting smoking will be easier when you can find a particular product or method that fits your intent, personality, and lifestyle. Below are a few examples of such products.
Nicotine patches and nicotine gums
As part of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), nicotine-containing patches and gums are widely available both over the counter and as prescription. Many cessation clinics and cessation therapists may prescribe patches as well. The concept behind NRT is quite simple: instead of taking in nicotine from cigarettes, nicotine is absorbed into the body from a patch or gum in decreasing strengths – the nicotine patches take the place of nicotine in cigarettes. Typically, people will begin at a higher nicotine dose and gradually step down over 8-12 weeks, and . Often, users of nicotine patches and gums will experience not just a certain degree of nicotine withdrawal, but irritation from being unable to smoke cigarettes at the same time. NRT may not be suitable for all persons, such as women who are pregnant or nursing or who have had a heart attack or stroke in the past.
There are two primary medicines available which do not contain nicotine and which are meant to help reduce the urge to smoke. Bupropion helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke, and can be used safely with NRT. Varenicline helps to reduce both nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It also blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if the user starts smoking again. Both quit smoking drugs are available by prescription but may be unsuitable for some people. They also have a fair amount of potential side effects. In addition, it is said that medications alone will generally not fully remove the urge to smoke, though they may help with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and cravings.
One of a distinct class of cessation products, Rien Pipe aims to gradually wean the smoker off nicotine without the use of NRT, smoking cessation drugs or medication. It attaches directly to the cigarette and diffuses inhaled nicotine at the rate of an additional 3% per day. Because smokers are still able to continue the act of smoking while the addictive nicotine component is gradually removed, many users have been said either not to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, or at least not the extent as with other products. Also, since Rien Pipe uses no chemicals or added nicotine, it is suitable for any smoker who’s looking to quit.
Despite using a cessation product, many smokers still find it difficult to give up the ritual of smoking entirely. For this reason, the act of goal-setting and behavior modification tend to reinforce new non-smoking habits and help transition a former smoker into new behavior patterns. Creating a quit-smoking calendar or quit-smoking timeline is very useful. As its name suggests, this kind of calendar helps a smoker mark down the days ahead of quitting, and after quitting, it allows them to count how many days they have been an ex-smoker. The goal of this is to increase motivation and to celebrate milestones – it’s this feeling of accomplishment that really helps through times of temptation.
Various smartphone apps and web services are also available which can help calculate the money saved by not smoking, gained life, and other factors positively influenced by quitting smoking.
Making your own quit-smoking calendar is quite easy.
- First, regardless of what method or cessation product you decide to use to help quit smoking, decide on your start date. This is the date when you promise yourself to start the active process of giving up smoking. Circle the date on your calendar and enter it in your phone or PC as an alert.
- Next, calculate your tentative quit zone. This is the timing – can be a day or week – during which you will make the decision to completely give up smoking. It is based on the duration of the approach you’re using. (For nicotine patches, this may be 8-10 weeks after your start date; for nicotine gum, this may be 10-12 weeks after your start date; for Rien Pipe, this may be 4-6 weeks after your start week.) Highlight your target quit zone in your scheduler.
- Finally, after you have become an ex-smoker, write down your quit date in your scheduler. Each year, celebrate your quit date as though it is your birthday – your new lease on life. Also celebrate different milestones: the first week after quitting; your first month after quitting; first 50 days; second month and third month. And what you feel are important milestones as well.
What to do when you decide to stop smoking
Now that you have a reasonably good idea of how long it will take you to finally quit smoking, it’s important to get into the mindset of quitting and to make certain changes around you. It is vital to change the environment around you in advance. Just by changing the environment around you, your chances of successfully quitting smoking may be greatly improved.
Discard cigarettes, lighters, ashtray
In preparing yourself for your quit date, throw out all of your smoking paraphernalia – lighters, ashtrays, rolling papers. Also soak your cigarettes in water before throwing them out as well, so as to avoid any temptation. No going back now: forcibly pursue myself in an environment in which you will not be able to smoke.
Remove traces of smoking
It may sound strange, but deodorizing your home and belongings to get rid of smoke smells may help make it easier to stay quit. Consider having your car detailed, steam-cleaning your home and having all of your clothes drycleaned to remove smoke odor.
Avoid places where you can smoke
If there are others smoking cigarettes around you, there is a possibility that your determination to quit and stay quit will be shaken. You may cave in to temptation and have “just one” cigarette. In that case, we recommend that you do not approach smoking areas.
Decide on alternative actions
Planning is an important way toward prevention. By being realistic with your own circumstances and knowing that the temptation to smoke might be high, you can increase your chances of preventing yourself from smoking.
Decide on alternative actions to take when you might be driven by the urge to smoke a cigarette by using the following format: “if I (face this situation)/then (I’ll do X)”. Having a specific action in mind when encountering a predictable situation can do wonders. And doing this can be as involved as you wish to make it. Take the following for example: “If I happen to want a smoke in the morning, I’ll first take a deep breath and hold it, relax, and repeat.” (It is said that breathing deeply has a relaxing effect.)
Continue by reviewing your day and considering different points when you might encounter smoking or the temptation to smoke, and consider an alternative action for each situation.
Encountering stress can be a heavy burden especially for smokers who are in the process of quitting smoking. Try not to let stress get in the way of your goal of becoming a non-smoker. To alleviate stress to the extent possible, we recommend that you consider your approach to quitting. This can involve preparing some kind of smoking cessation aid, creating an environment conducive to non-smoking, and a post-quit action plan.