More and more smokers are deciding it’s time to stop smoking, either because the price of cigarettes is going up or for health reasons. Many of them take time to learn about some of the cessation techniques available, see their doctors, or join groups geared towards helping smokers stop doing it.

stop smoking

Almost every smoker has tried quitting smoking at some point in their lives. The method that’s most common, that could also be the most effective for many, is quitting cold turkey.

Quitting cold turkey means you just stop smoking, without help, drugs or anything else. The term is applied to anything that a person might be addicted to, including drinking, drugs, overeating, etc.

With some of these things, going cold turkey means changing some habits, such as eating less food. For others, it can mean dealing with a major physical and psychological change. That’s because their bodies have gotten used to foreign substances being introduced, which gives them pleasure and addicts them, and to suddenly have those things snatched away doesn’t make the body happy; at least not short term.

A research study from the early 1990’s took a look at 5,000 smokers who attempted to quit without anything artificial and no assistance other than their friends and family. The rates for success weren’t all that high, yet it was still the preferred method because people could try giving it up multiple times, which the study also proved. It also showed that the success rate decreased based on how many packs of cigarettes a day the participants smoked before giving it a shot.

What are the major problems when smokers try to go cold turkey?

The biggest problem is that most people who resort to this method don’t have a plan of attack for how they’re going to go about it. Willpower can be a powerful thing, but it also falls apart quickly without a plan.

There are many things that need to be considered: what to do with one’s hands, which are used to holding a cigarette; how to get around those cravings after drinking that first cup of coffee; what to do with one’s mouth, which is used to that sucking action; how to react when the smell of someone else’s cigarette wafts by; what to do when suddenly you’re in a crowd of other people who are smoking and drinking, and, for that matter, how to beat that craving that comes while drinking; how do you address stressful situations; etc. These, and many other things, are considerations that someone who hasn’t made a plan might have coming into play that could take them off the wagon.

Another problem is that people who don’t have a plan haven’t done any research on what’s coming, so they’re not sure what to do when they start having sweats or palpitations; when they have headaches they never had before; when they’re snapping at people without provocation; when they have the shakes; when food suddenly starts tasting different and they overeat… as well as a host of other things.

There are some tips that can help smokers get by if they’re going to attempt to stop cold turkey. Some of those tips are:

* Start drinking a lot of water. Water helps flush out bad toxins from the body, and helps to start making you feel better quicker

* Find a replacement for something to be in your mouth. Some people go with gum, others with hard candies

* Exercise is always a good option, because it helps to release endorphins, which gives some people the same sense of feeling good that cigarettes do. Even a short walk can help to get you past the cravings

* Talk to your friends and family about your journey to getting healthy. People love being a part of a challenge, and will find ways to help you out

* Carry a pen or pencil around as a substitute for a cigarette

It’s been said that getting beyond an addiction is often a series of five or six minute interludes that, if one can get past them, eases the road to recovery for any craving one is trying to overcome. During your cold turkey smoking cessation process, try to keep that in mind. Always remember that if you need help, there are lots of groups and other options available for you.

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