In Australia, over 23,000 people every year die from a smoking-related illness. Tobacco abuse costs Australians 21 billion dollars a year in health care, business and social costs, and passive smoking kills over 200 people a year, half of which are children. A pack a day (25 cigarettes) habit costs $70 a week on an average, and adds up to more than $3,500 per year. These are scary statistics, but if you are thinking of quitting, there is help available to you. We've compiled some of the better-known quit smoking methods for you to take a look at.
Withdrawal symptoms occur as the body reacts to not having nicotine and other assorted chemicals entering the body. Some nicotine withdrawal symptoms will last for only a few days, while some will last for a few weeks. The important thing to remember is that they're transitory. Some common withdrawal symptoms include:
- nicotine cravings
- occasional headaches
- upset digestion
- sore throat
- changed sleeping patterns
- temporary increase in appetite
Natural Therapies for Smoking Cessation Management
You can overcome the habit of smoking in many ways. You might find this list helpful if you need a natural remedy to help with intense cravings, shortness of breath or dry mouth, among other issues linked to smoking cigarettes or quitting. Consult your primary healthcare provider about your preferred complementary therapy to ensure that it is right for you.
Hypnotherapy is a natural process that we actually enter ourselves at various times of the day and especially at night when we are falling asleep. There is a point in consciousness known as the hypnoidal point and this is where we are in an alternate state of awareness. We are half awake and half asleep, relaxed and comfortable, safe and secure, aware and not bothered. It is in this state that hypnotists work to facilitate change using positive commands. The hypnotic state sees you open to suggestions in order to attain the results that you want.
It is as simple as being transported to the state of hypnosis (often using music to distract the patient from the silence of the calmness), some affirmations that determine that you no longer want to smoke before being gently awakened. Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious mind to assist tobacco users in identifying the root cause of their nicotine addiction and changing their perspective so that they can eliminate their desire for smoking.
Traditional acupuncture and auricular acupuncture can both be used when quitting smoking. In traditional acupuncture, acupuncture needles or a low level laser is used on the auricular points of the ears, and also on the nose, hands, wrist and forearm. Three different areas are worked on: treating points for the addiction to nicotine to help block the body's need for the drug; treating diet points to control appetite and avoid weight gain; and treating stress and relaxation points to help avoid nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and irritability.
Auricular acupuncture uses needles or a low level laser that is placed on the outer surface of the ear. A selection of points is used and it is often combined with body acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture works by causing the body to release endorphins. When a person is addicted to nicotine, they have higher endorphin levels, and when they give up, these levels of endorphins drop. Auricular acupuncture maintains the levels of endorphins and stabilizes their release. This form of acupuncture also creates a sense of calmness and relaxation, allowing withdrawal symptoms, such as stress, anxiety, restlessness and physical cravings, to be treated.
Counselling is among the most effective treatments for quitting smoking. It is available as a one-on-one program or as a group therapy, depending on your personal preference. Counselling is ideal if you do not like the idea of using cessation medications to quit. Telephone help lines, such as the Quitline, are also available but these counseling sessions need to be regular in order to be beneficial. The more sessions of any form of counseling, the greater the chance of success.
Visiting a doctor for advice on quitting smoking or following a Quit pack is also helpful, especially if you are highly motivated to quit.
Going Cold Turkey
Going "cold turkey" simply means quitting cigarettes completely without gradually cutting back. This is a successful method for around half of smokers that quit. Alternatively, you could cut down on the amount of cigarettes you smoke – reducing to five per day and gradually going down to zero. To help ensure that this approach works, it is advisable to set a quit date where you cut out cigarettes altogether and stick to it. When you feel the urge to smoke coming on, find activities such as sports, journalling, or simply taking deep breaths that you can do instead.
Source: Northwest Primary Care
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is available in the form of sugarless gum, a nicotine patch, a nicotine inhaler, or through lozenges, sprays and tablets. These are available from the pharmacy without prescription. The amount of time that you spend on nicotine replacement therapy will depend on your individual circumstances, but if you spend longer than eight weeks on the treatment, it will not increase your chances of success.
Nicotine replacement therapy is suitable for moderate to heavy smokers. If you smoke more than ten cigarettes a day, this treatment may improve your chances of quitting by as much as two-fold. However, if you smoke less than ten cigarettes a day, you are not smoking enough to become as addicted to nicotine and therefore this treatment may not work.
People that have a history of heart problems, or who are pregnant or breast-feeding, should consult their doctors before beginning nicotine replacement therapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of problem-focused treatment that helps the smoker identify and alter negative thought and behavioural patterns that fuel their smoking habit. People react differently to different situations, so some smokers find it easy to quit, while others find it quite difficult. With the help of a professionally trained cognitive behavioural therapist, you can identify what triggers you to smoke, such as stress or peer pressure, and find ways to quit it for the betterment of your physical and mental health.
There are a number of health benefits associated with herbal medicine both for smokers and non-smokers. It reduces the effects of nicotine, alleviates the depressive symptoms of smokers trying to quit and lessens potential side effects of prescription drugs. Korean ginseng is one of the popular adaptogens that may help relieve anxiety associated with nicotine withdrawal.
The herb St John's Wort has also been found to be useful for preventing tobacco cravings and reducing anxiety, restlessness, and irritability that are frequently experienced by smokers during the first three days of quitting.
Smokers who engage in physical activity, such as walking, running, and swimming, are more likely to quit smoking. Being physically active takes one's mind off smoking. Additionally, it inspires them to quit the habit for good so they can improve their health.
All set to quit now? Using the practitioner listings on the Natural Therapy Pages, you can find a qualified natural healthcare professional in your area who can assist you with quitting smoking.Originally published on Feb 24, 2020