A 5-Point Program to Stop Smoking for Good
Chronic (daily) tobacco use (smoking or chewing) is one of the most health-harming habits anyone can engage in. (Daily bungee-jumping might be more harmful). And it’s not “just” lung disease: the effects of smoking cause premature aging and damage from head to toe.
In case you don’t know about the other “non-lung” problems caused by smoking, read Smoking: Just the Facts^ (The link opens in a new window). Then come back here to learn what you can do to either:
A.) help protect yourself from many of the harmful effects of tobacco use,
OR (better yet)
B.) stop smoking altogether.
Tobacco is a highly addictive substance. Some say that it is one of the most difficult drugs to quit. Here is my 5-point plan for making your “stop smoking” decision easier and surer.
1.) Decide on a “quit date.” Whether you plan on decreasing your tobacco use gradually or quitting “cold turkey,” have a “quit date” selected and stick to it.
In practice, I have observed higher success rates among those who quit “cold turkey,” but pick a plan and stick with it no matter which method you choose.
2.) Keep a “smoking triggers” diary for one week. Write down when you tend to smoke. Is it on work-break? After meals? When driving?
Whatever your “triggers” are, you’ll need to plan alternate activities. For example, if you usually smoke at work breaks, plan to take a brief walk around the building or outdoor area instead.
Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t have other activities planned, you’ll revert to your habitual “smoking times,” even when you don’t physically crave a cigarette.
3.) Take a high-quality multiple Vitamin/Mineral Supplement. Smoking depletes B complex vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. These nutrients not only protect from some of the harmful effects of smoking, but they are involved in the production of neurotransmitters.
Imbalances in neurotransmitters – aka “brain hormones” – are a common cause of cravings. Taking a high quality multiple vitamin/mineral formula helps balance these brain chemicals and reduce cravings during withdrawal from tobacco.
NOTE: You need an Optimal Dose vitamin formula (6-9 capsules per day), not a “minimal Dose one-per-day formula. Here is a chart to show you optimal doses of individual nutrients: Optimal Dose Vitamins and Minerals
4.) Neurotransmitter Testing. Smoking alters the levels of Neurotransmitters (NT’s). It may also be that alterations in NT levels contribute to initial tobacco addiction.
For example: some people smoke because it increases energy levels. Low energy, in turn, can be cause by low epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (nor-adrenaline) NT levels. If these NT levels are low, normalizing them by natural methods can overcome the “energy rush’ offered by smoking.
Serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, GABA, PEA and histamine can all be involved in the addiction/craving cycle. A simple urine test which measures levels of these important “head hormones” can allow us to balance brain chemistry naturally and break the addictive cycle without low energy, nervousness and other symptoms many “quitters” experience.
Natural alternatives to “head meds” exist, and they can be used to balance brain chemistry once the results of your test are in.
5.) “How Bad Do You Want It”? as the Don Henley tune asks
Make sure your list of “why I want to quit” is a strong one. You’ll use this to remind yourself to stay firm when waves of cravings roll through.
It’s fine to want to quit for someone else, but be sure to have some “me” reasons on the list as well. Here are a few to get you started. Feel free to use any of those that apply to you!
Save money, improve breathing, decrease risk of heart disease, slow the aging process, live long enough to enjoy retirement (or the grandkids), set a good example for the grandkids (or your own children), not smell like stale smoke all the time, be free of addiction, have more energy, move with greater ease.
By following this 5-point program, anyone who really wants to quit can do so. I’ve got hundreds of successful “quitters” in my practice, a testimony to the success of this program and the power of genuine motivation.