You’ve made a critical decision: you want to stop smoking and want to free yourself from your nicotine addiction.
This may in fact be quite difficult, especially if you lack sufficient motivation or don’t quite know how to go about quitting — even if you fully realize that smoking harms not only your health, but also the health of your family members and all people around you, who are affected as secondhand smokers. You understand all these things and really want to stop smoking. You actually even tried many times, yet…for some reason, you failed and started smoking again.
This is a recurring pattern you have probably recognized when looking back at your past quit attempts. You should first identify possible reasons behind your previous failures and make sure you won’t repeat the same mistakes.
You think you can stop any time.
Many smokers tend to underestimate the degree of their nicotine dependence, thinking they have full control of the situation and they can quit any time. Yet they don’t realize how painful the withdrawal symptoms can be before they actually experience them. Tobacco contains nicotine and the truth is that it has similar effects like any other addiction-causing substance: it increases the level of dopamine in the brain and creates feelings of happiness or helps to lessen feelings of anxiety and stress. Once this supply is severed, the smoker starts feeling uncomfortable, since the brain chemistry suddenly changes. These unpleasant feelings of excessive nervousness, irritation or worsened concentration, are very common in the first days and weeks after the smoker is trying to abstain from tobacco.
Sudden quitting can also cause other negative mood changes, depression, sleeping and eating problems etc. This is one of the main reasons why quitting “cold-turkey” works only for some people – those who are strong enough to bear the initial pain of these withdrawal symptoms. If you are not one of those lucky people, recent medical discoveries still offer you several other options. You can go to a drugstore and try nicotine gums or patches, or contact your doctor and get a prescription for medication suppressing these symptoms.
Add a non-nicotine alternative
The Rien Pipe program was developed as an alternative for smokers who want to quit, but who share concerns about the latest quit methods, or those who have tried other cessation methods, but had to stop because they didn’t react well to them. With the Rien Pipe program, you don’t have to worry about the pain of sudden cravings, since you are allowed to smoke as usual and there is even no limit to the number of cigarettes you can smoke every day. After completing the program, your body reaches almost zero level of nicotine, but as the possibility of relapsing is still there, you should still make sure you plan your quit day well to increase your chances for successful quitting.
Choosing the right day for quitting and how to prepare
With Rien Pipe, you should start planning your quit day a few days before you start using pipe No. 31. This is the stage when your body doesn’t crave those regular dosages of nicotine. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get rid of your psychological dependence on smoking at this point.
Ideally, plan your quit day to happen when you don’t have a lot of stress or work to deal with. At the same time, you should think of how to get involved in some enjoyable activities to keep yourself busy and not to think of smoking. That’s why it is recommended to plan your quit day for weekends, holidays, vacation days, or some other special days that would symbolize your new start (New Year’s is the most typical example.) You can plan some outdoor activities, such as a hiking trip with friends or family, or you can invite your neighbors and treat them to a nice home-made dinner. Of course, you should ask them to obey the rule: not to bring along any cigarettes. Remember, your quit day should be a celebration of starting your new, smoke-free life — you should celebrate it without tobacco. It is good to get ready for quitting by cleaning your place and car and throwing away all items that would remind you of smoking: ashtrays, lighters and remaining packs of cigarettes.
If you usually smoke at work, planning your quit day for the beginning of the work week can be best, especially if your workplace has strict non-smoking rules. This can also back you up in your quest to get off smoking since you have a strong motivation to start a new week as a non-smoker. However, if this is the case, be sure to avoid days with heavy mental load such as days when you have an important business meeting.
You should also try to avoid situations where you would likely encounter cigarettes. Drafting a list of your possible smoking triggers may be very helpful to prevent relapsing.
Get support and reward yourself
Having somebody who would provide you with support and advice — a family member, a friend or a medical professional with whom you can consult — can increase your chances for successful quitting. When you’ve decided on your quit date, tell your friends and family about your decision to quit and keep them informed of any progress you make.
Make sure the people around you know that you are trying to quit, so that they would not offer you a smoke. You can also try to join a quit smoking community online or on Facebook, or start your own quit-smoking blog. It is always valuable to exchange your experience with others who face a similar situation.
Another important thing you should keep in mind: be good to yourself and reward yourself for every day you are able to go without a cigarette. You know that non-smoking has many benefits; keep them in a list and look at it every time you feel tempted to smoke again.
When you choose to quit with the Rien Pipe program, it is good to keep the pipes with you for several weeks after you actually stop, so you don’t slip back into to nicotine addiction. Remember: to keep yourself as nicotine-free as possible, if you do desire even one cigarette, be sure to smoke with a Rien Pipe.
Once you successfully quit, apart from improved health, you will also get more time. You can think of starting a new hobby, or you can spend more time with family. Of course, you can save the money you were spending on cigarettes and express your gratitude to somebody you care for by buying a little gift for them. Or you can make a “quit jar” and place the money you would otherwise spend on cigarettes in it for a year. There are millions of possibilities.
Try to visualize your life without cigarettes and try to imagine the feeling of freedom you’ll get after you kick the habit for good. Think positively and instead of making more excuses why you are not able to quit, look at the many good examples of others who said good-bye to cigarettes. There are many ways leading to the same goal. It’s up to you to choose the one that would surely lead you to your new status of a non-smoker.
This sample timeline is for people smoking cigarettes containing 0.1mg nicotine.