With over a billion users worldwide and 480,000 deaths every year in the US alone, tobacco continues to be one of the most harmful substances known today. No one can really fool themselves into thinking that their cigarette habit is harmless. Every drag of smoke you inhale welcomes 7,000 harmful ingredients into your body. These chemicals are why 90% of all lung cancer deaths are due to smoking.
Cigarettes are also dangerous because they’re notoriously difficult to quit. Some studies have suggested that it is easier to quit cocaine than to quit smoking. Only 6% of people who try to give up cigarettes are actually successful. Don’t let these statistics dishearten you though. There are completely safe, natural methods which will help you put down that cigarette forever.
1. Experiment With Hypnosis
Hypnotherapy is one of the most popular and effective ways to give up smoking. A therapist sends their patient into an altered state of consciousness where they give up all control of their mind. They are made to feel compelled to unquestioningly accept commands given by the therapist. In this state of mind, the therapist makes them associate smoking with unpleasant feelings. This negative reinforcement counteracts the feel-good hormones that smoking usually triggers.
When they come out of the hypnotic state, these feelings of aversion are supposed to persist, robbing them of the urge to smoke. The number of sessions required for a person to quit smoking depends upon how strong the habit is. Your therapist should be able to determine how many you need and how effective it is.
2. Increase Your Magnesium Intake
The main reason why we smoke is because smoking triggers the release of dopamine, our happy hormone. We feel rewarded every time we smoke, which pushes us to smoke even more. If there was no positive reinforcement for smoking, we wouldn’t feel the need to smoke at all. Magnesium blocks dopamine from being released when we smoke. This means that the satisfaction you feel after smoking a cigarette reduces drastically, making it easier to quit. You can take magnesium powder through a supplement or add Epsom salts to your bath to increase your body’s magnesium levels. Leafy greens, avocados and dark chocolate are also great sources of magnesium.
3. Suck On Lime
Quitting smoking could be as simple as sucking on a lime wedge every time you feel like lighting up a cigarette. A research team from Thailand found that the effects of lime are almost comparable to nicotine gum. While lime did take longer to work than nicotine gum, the end-results were almost identical. Lime also has a definite edge over nicotine gum because it’s much safer and healthier. Nicotine gum eliminates the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, but nicotine is still an unhealthy substance. Lime on the other hand, is packed with healthy ingredients like vitamin C and antioxidants. It also boosts your immune system which might have been weakened because of your smoking habit.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that is still very much in use today. It involves sticking needles into specific points on a person’s body to influence the flow of their energy or ‘qi’. While the effects of acupuncture on smoking haven’t been scientifically proven, there is plenty of evidence that it does work. Acupuncture to quit smoking will mostly focus on areas around your respiratory system. Needles are inserted into your chest, airways and around your mouth to completely reduce cigarette cravings. You will need multiple sessions over a few weeks to see the results.
5. Mindful Meditation
Meditation helps you gain greater control over your mind and become in charge of your impulses. Practicing meditation every single day will immunize you to nicotine cravings by strengthening your willpower. In one study, a group of long-time cigarette smokers were made to meditate every day for 45 minutes at least. After just 8 sessions, more than half of them were able to quit smoking completely. If you make meditation a habit, you’re more likely to be able to give up smoking for good.
6. Reach For Some Candy
We would normally never advocate more sugar consumption, but in this instance, sugar is the lesser of two evils. When a person craves cigarettes, their body is actually asking for carbohydrates. Sweets provide a quick release of sugar and carbs which can nip your nicotine craving in the bud. While you shouldn’t be making your way through a box of donuts to beat your smoking habit, hard boiled candy is a good choice. Whenever you feel the need to smoke, suck on some hard candy or a lollipop. Popsicles are a great option because they cater to the same oral fixation cigarettes provide, while also giving you a sugar rush.
7. Find A Support System
Quitting smoking is a difficult journey which is often hard to undertake on your own. Find a group of smokers who also want to quit so you can all motivate each other. If you can’t find friends who are willing, join a support group like Narcotics Anonymous. Having people encourage you to do the right thing as well as getting advice from people who have successfully quit smoking, can increase your own chances of quitting. Twitter groups can also go a long way in helping you fight cravings and give up smoking permanently.