Statistics are evident of the fact that smoking can kill people. Smoking cigarettes is dangerous and gives rise to many diseases related to the heart, lungs, and kidneys such as stroke, emphysema, COPD, and cancer. Tobacco contains thousands of poisons that harm the immune system, blood pressure, and energy levels no matter how much someone smokes. In fact, it has turned into one of the most alarming situations globally.
Fortunately, there are a number of rehabilitation centers, scientists, academics, clinics, and other professionals that are working to find a way to help people quit smoking and get over this issue but in the end, it is a matter of one’s own will and motivation to stop smoking successfully.
There are many ways to stop smoking and get rid of this deadly habit. Many smokers quit every year, but only a few manage to stay quiet. Some people’s quit smoking attempts last 2 hours, others few days and some can last months or even years. Smoking relapse is the only thing smokers should look out for once they quit. Specifically, five main things can cause a smoking relapse, and it’s best if you know how to avoid them or even better, manage them so you can quit smoking permanently.
So here are the most common things that can tempt you to have a cigarette after deciding to quit and how to avoid falling into these traps.
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can become an addiction in itself. In fact, alcohol is often coupled with other habits such as smoking cigarettes and can make quitting difficult. However, even if you occasionally drink alcohol, it can be a problem after quitting smoking as it can impair your judgment, weaken your willpower and make it harder to resist the temptation to have a smoke. Once a smoker successfully quits this habit, it’s important to avoid alcohol as much as possible for the first few weeks. If a situation where there’s drinking can’t be avoided, then remember to drink a glass of water for every drink.
- Rationalizing smoking
Giving up on this habit requires psychological persistence. It is practically not possible to quit smoking if you are not mentally prepared to do so. Willpower can take you a long way. What can prepare you mentally and increase your willpower, is to have a strong motivation and reasons to stop smoking as well as to understand that smoking has nothing to offer to you. On the contrary, it harms you physically and makes you feel mentally dependent on nicotine. And that mental hook will continue for a few months after you stop smoking. After quitting cigarettes, you will find many reasons to smoke another cigarette. That’s your mind trying to rationalize smoking. When that happens, understand that it’s the residues of your addiction talking. Not you. Irrespective of how compelling the thought of smoking may be, don’t let yourself into such negative thoughts and remain persistent in your original decision.
- Nicotine substitutes
Nicotine is an addictive substance that makes cigarettes hard to quit. Some ways to stop smoking such as the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, lozenges, sprays, or vaping include taking nicotine to experience fewer nicotine cravings. However, there’s a downside to using these quitting aids and nicotine substitutes.
If your body has nicotine inside, it is pretty much easier to restart the habit. The best way to quit smoking permanently is to stop putting nicotine in your body. Avoid these products and if you are already using them or have decided to use them, at least be aware of the dangers of smoking relapse associated with these aids. Fortunately, there are natural, non-nicotine, non-harmful ways to stop smoking easily.
- Social circle
One of the primary reasons for relapse is maintaining a social circle where few or all individuals are avid smokers. Usually, there’s a friend, a partner, or a family member who is smoking and is not interested in quitting. Therefore, seeing them smoke can tempt you to smoke a cigarette as well. Although it’s not realistic or helpful to avoid loved ones who smoke, you can ask for their support and help. For the first few days or weeks after quitting, ask them not to smoke in front of you. Their support can help you to achieve your ultimate goal. What can help you avoid relapse is to socialize with people who do not smoke. Apart from preventing temptation, a new non-smoking circle can be a valuable lesson. When you are around non-smokers, try and observe them. Do they need to hold a cigarette? Do they feel weird if their hands are empty? What do they do when they want to take a break or feel bored? How do they hold a conversation and socialize? For some people, the easiest way to quit smoking is to notice and mimic how non-smokers or ex-smokers behave and cope.
- A stressful event
Stress is another reason why people begin smoking cigarettes after having quit. It can cause someone to relapse even after having quit for years. A stressful event that can cause relapse is losing a loved one, making a career or job change, going through a break-up, facing a financial challenge, family sickness, and many more unfortunate events that are part of life.
If an ex-smoker has not learned new ways to deal with stress after quitting, it is very likely that they will be tempted to smoke a cigarette. For that reason, it is essential to have a plan to cope with these high-risk events. Of course, it is impossible to plan for everything, but some planning is better than being caught by surprise. Also, it’s helpful to remember that smoking is not a solution to any of life’s problems. It never has and never will offer you a way out of your challenges. It can only add to them. Stressful events are inevitable. Just remember that cigarettes are not the remedy, look forward to a positive mindset towards such concerns, and know that you are better able to overcome adversity with the mental clarity, energy, and health of a non-smoker.
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.