Stop Smoking - A Smoking Cessation Plan
A Plan for Success
In order to succeed, we would develop an overall plan which would include some education, counseling, and intention setting. Also we would discuss some planning for avoidance and substitution and a little practice using the different tools discussed below.
After the initial period, we will modify your individual program to restore health and insure success as a former smoker.
Tobacco is one of the most difficult addictions there is. There are a number of reasons for this:
It is one of the few substances that is both relaxing and stimulating
Cigarette smoking predisposes the individual to several different clinical atherosclerotic syndromes, including stable angina, acute coronary syndromes, sudden death, and stroke.
Smoking, through second hand smoke, also adversely affects those around us, especially children, creating many of the same health issues for them as it does for us.
Our lives and health have a momentum, much like a train barreling down tracks or weather system. Changing a long term pattern is just as difficult as stopping a train. It takes a commitment and a concentrated effort.
2. Change Tools
Plan to Succeed
This is the first step: Make a commitment to stop. Pick a stop date, prepare, and then stop.
Much of our smoking revolves around patterns; it is part of the fabric of our lives. To disrupt the momentum of smoking we need to change our patterns by either avoiding triggering situations or substituting some other activity or response.
Avoiding situations like hanging out with smoking friends, smoking in your car, or smoking while drinking coffee or having a beer.
Stop drinking alcohol or reduce usage to one or two times per week for the first 2 months as alcohol as been linked to non-smokers returning to smoking.
If your social circles include people that you previously smoked with, ask them to refrain from smoking around you, and also to not ask you if you want to smoke. If members of your household smoke, ask them to join you in stopping. If they are not open to stopping at this time, ask them to smoke at times when you are not home, or to smoke outside the dwelling.
Substitution can be as simple as brushing your teeth. To replace the oral cravings of the cigarettes use either toothpicks, or lozenges, to reduce the need to have the cigarette in your mouth.
Take a brisk walk, a bike ride, or exercise instead of sitting down and smoking.
A healthy snack can also help – nuts, dried fruits and a reasonable amount of chocolate are all better than smoking.
Tobacco smoke deposits toxins in the body. To remove them as quickly as possible (which helps with the addiction) drink an adequate amount (at least 3 quarts) of water each day. The easiest way is to start the day with a glass or two of water – add some lemon or lime to help.
Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and good protein. Ideally you would eat fruits and vegetables that are organic as certain pesticides such as 2,4D have been shown to reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Good protein means locally raised beef, pork, chicken and turkey, that has not been fed hormones and the beef has been grass fed instead of raised on grains. The grass fed beef has better essential fatty acids than the grain fed beef. Try to avoid simple carbohydrates such as breads, pastas, and potatoes. Sweet potatoes and yams and other root vegetables as well as most fruits are generally fine. It is better to eat the fruits instead of just drinking fruit juice.
The current healthy diet guideline are 7 to 9 fruits and vegetables daily – start where you are and add one of each weekly until you get where you want to be.
A good way to start the day is with a smoothie – the best are combos of fruits and vegies, lots of nutrients and they taste delightful.
In addition to substituting movement for smoking, increase your exercise levels. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins and other chemicals that replace the feelings in the brain that were previously stimulated by nicotine and the other 4000 chemicals in cigarettes. If you have not exercised in awhile, consult with your medical provider about how to progress. Set realistic goals for yourself. So if you have previously only walked a certain distance, increase the distance slightly each day. If you want to increase your lung and heart capacity, add little mini (20 to 30 seconds at 3 to 5 minute intervals) sprints to your walking or running. Eventually, you will want to exercise 3-4 times per week for at least 30 minutes, and set exercise goals such as walking or running a 5K within a year of quitting smoking if your medical provider indicates it is safe for you.
Qigong and TaiChi both have movement patterns designed to support and strengthen the lung.
Yoga revitalises and opens the body.
Methods for dealing with stress are helpful.
There are techniques using relaxation points on the body, such as EFT, and yoga breathing methods that can be used to reduce or release stress. Smiling and laughing are always winners.
For at least 5 minutes a day, sit quietly and in your mind envision yourself as a non-smoker in your daily routine. Say to yourself during this time as many times as you feel comfortable, “I am a non-smoker and I enjoy full vibrant health in my life”.
Learn Mindful Meditation
Learn to meditate by following your breath. This is as simple as:
“Breathing in I am calm”
“Breathing out I smile” and then shortening them to “Calm”, “Smile”.
When interruptions present themselves, acknowledge them and return to following your breath.
Learn some of the Kundalini Yoga breathing techniques for energizing your body.
The first 3 to 5 days are critical in ceasing smoking. This comes back to the momentum issue – your addiction has a momentum. Redirecting your addiction to a healthy pattern is going to take a powerful interruption. Five days of acupuncture treatments are enough to assist you through the initial change period. To increase your chances for a complete life pattern change, consider a full course of acupuncture which would be three weeks of 5 days of acupuncture, then three weeks of 3 days of treatments followed by a reassessment of progress - this is similar to the treatment pattern one would find in China.
5 times a week for week 1 then
1 time a week for 20 weeks
5 times a week for week 1 then
3 times a week for 2 weeks then
1 time a week for 18 weeks
5 times a week for 3 weeks then
3 times a week for 3 weeks then
1 time a week for 15 weeks
The complete treatment is similar to some of the more successful alcohol rehabilitation programs which utilize acupuncture on a daily basis for the first 30 days of rehab.
There are herbs, formulas and supplements which support the body changing. These vary by individual and require an individual assessment.
The patch has proven helpful in leaving tobacco behind. Check with your primary care physician concerning viable alternatives.
Find a support partner. Someone you can go through this with, a person you can call any time you need a little push in the right direction or who can listen and understand the some of the difficulties you may encounter.
Optional: Find a counselor to work with through your health insurance during the process.
1-800-QUIT-NOW 800-784-8669 to enroll.
The information presented here was a community effort and involved contributions from Ellie Schweizer (KY), Al Thieme (OR), Carol Griesmeyer (OR), Rebecca Sobin (AZ), Cindi Ignatovsky (CA), Kevi Keen (OR), Kseniya Stevens (OR) and Rik Ehmann (KY). Thank you all.
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Documents to help stop smoking