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The Great American Smokeout, hosted on the third Thursday each November, strives to bring awareness to how quitting smoking can improve overall health. This is certainly something our dental office in Chapel Hill can get behind since smoking directly affects oral health, too. Even though quitting smoking may be one of the hardest things for someone to do, there are tried-and-true methods that you can use to help kick the habit.
There are many different methods that people use to quit smoking. However, no one solution is the right fit for everyone. It’s even common for some people to try a few different things to successfully become smoke-free, and that’s ok. The important thing to remember is to never quit trying to quit. Here are some popular ways former smokers have quit.
Pick a Quit Date
One of the main messages behind the Great American Smokeout is to pick a quit date and create a plan to make that date a reality. Instead of trying to quit cold turkey (which may work for some, but not all), decide on a date when you’re going to put down the cigarettes once and for all and stick to your plan.
Use a Support System
Quitting smoking can be tough and unpleasant. Your brain is going through nicotine withdrawal, which can lead to some undesirable side effects. During those tough times, it can be helpful to have a support system to help you through it. Ask family members, friends, or even coworkers if they would be willing to help you when times get tough. Make sure to communicate with them prior to your quit date so they know how you preferred to be assisted. Professional support can also help curb cravings and make quitting successful.
Know Your Triggers & Avoid Them
Some smokers have a difficult time quitting because they’re so used to lighting up in certain situations. Perhaps a smokey bar, drinking alcohol, or stressful moments trigger your need for nicotine. If you can identify what triggers you and you do your best to avoid those triggers, quitting may become a bit easier.
Keep Alternatives Around
When trying to quit, a lot of smokers struggle with the absence of holding something in their hands or the motion of moving their hands to their mouths. For these individuals, having healthy alternatives that can act as a substitute for cigarettes can ease that feeling of discomfort. Snack on baby carrots, chew sugarless gum, hold a straw or pencil between your fingers like you would hold a cigarette. Tricking your brain into performing comfortable behaviors can help you feel more comfortable.
Many times, smokers find quitting so difficult because of the lack of nicotine. Finding a healthy nicotine replacement option may help. There are a number of different nicotine replacement therapies for you to choose from including gum and patches. Please note that vaping is NOT a healthy nicotine replacement option and may contribute to other health issues. If you’re considering using a nicotine replacement, consider talking with your physician first to find the best option for you.
We understand that quitting smoking isn’t easy, and you may have to try to quit a few times before you find a method that works for you. But your dentist in Chapel Hill wants you to know that you can do it! Pick a quit date and start quitting today.