Understanding what methods are available to help quit will assist many in becoming non-smokers. There are many alternative approaches available, discovering if one is right for you is the most important aspect of quitting – for good.
Most smokers know they need to quit. Smoking leads to cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, and a whole host of other chronic and potentially fatal diseases. Some smokers, however, are not sure about the medications and other smoking cessation aids available.
There are numerous reasons these methods may not be for everyone, including potential side effects, drug interactions, or issues with cost. This has led to an increasing number of alternative therapies being introduced to help smokers kick the habit. Some of these treatments have shown great promise, while others may be more fad than helpful.
Types of Alternative Smoking Cessation
The number of alternative therapies aimed at helping people quit is extensive. Anything aside from conventional nicotine patches or gum, going “cold turkey,” and prescription medications may be considered alternative. The most common include hypnosis, meditation, and some supplements. Success rates among these methods vary, with some being quite effective for some smokers.
Hypnotism: Studies have shown that hypnosis may be a very promising smoking cessation aid for some people. In a study conducted at Scott and White Memorial Hospital, it was shown that forty percent of patients who underwent hypnosis were able to quit smoking. Some research indicates that this method may be more effective for men than women, although the reasons behind this aren’t clear.
Meditation: Meditation can have religious undertones, but not always. Smokers can use this method whether they want to add prayer into the mix or not. Meditation is a form of deep breathing and relaxation which often has participants envisioning certain thoughts or pictures, repeating specific mantras, or just focusing on deep breathing. There are many methods for performing meditation, and those who choose to try this aspect of treatment may try several variations to determine which works best for them.
This tactic may work because it helps calm the mind and reduce stress. Since many smokers feel anxiety and high stress levels in the days after quitting, meditation may help curb nicotine cravings.
Supplements: There has been some buzz about over-the-counter supplements for use as smoking cessation aids. One such example is St. John’s wort, which has antidepressant properties. The theory was that the supplement may act in much the same way as prescription antidepressants as a smoking cessation therapy, but studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic have not backed up this claim. Ginseng, however, has shown to suppress nicotine receptors in the brain, which may help some smokers quit.
Talking to Your Doctor: Believe it or not, speaking with a physician is a treatment approach all on its own. Studies have shown that those who talk to their doctor about smoking, even in passing, are more likely to quit.
Electronic Cigarettes: Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, have shown to be a promising smoking cessation aid in recent studies. These smoking alternatives offer nicotine, much like a nicotine replacement device, but they also offer the feel and sensations of smoking, which is something other methods cannot provide.
Sugar: Research has indicated that sucking on glucose tablets, like those sold for diabetics, can help curb nicotine cravings. The same may be true for sugary sweets. This method does have its obvious drawbacks, as sugar isn’t exactly health food. However, as a temporary helper along the way, sugar is not as bad as smoking in terms of health. This method shouldn’t be used long-term. It should also be noted that sugar may actually cause nicotine cravings in some, so it should be used with caution depending on individual triggers.
Multi-faceted Treatment Approaches
Those who want to quit smoking should remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. You may choose to use e-cigarettes incombination of deep breathing and meditation. Or, you might turn to prayer, nicotine gum, and light snacks throughout the day to keep your cool during cravings. There is no right or wrong way to quit, as long as you quit.
For more motivation to quit smoking once and for all, visit The Real Cost of Smoking.
Read more about the effects cigarette smoke has on the human body at The Effects of Smoking.
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