Tag Archives: cigarette cravings

Some Helpful Tips to Quit Smoking Successfully

Following are some helpful tips that will help you quit smoking for good.

Quitting smoking is not the easiest of things; some scientists have even remarked that it is more addictive than heroin.

And this of course, highlights how hard it can be to stay committed to the cause and to remain on path of being the much sought after non smoker.

Hopefully the following helpful tips to quit smoking will be of benefit to you so you either quit or you stay committed to the healthy path of being a non smoker.

Planning Your Quit Smoking Target Date

Setting Quit DateThere has been a few studies that suggest that people are more likely to quit successfully if they plan ahead and quit on a Monday – the start of the week.

For some reason, people like the notion of being able to start a week afresh. This also perhaps highlights why people attempt to quit on New Year’s Day as it is a new year. What’s important is that you do pick a date, preferably a Monday, and start to brainstorm and plan ahead for this day and beyond.

  • What will you be doing on that Monday to make it easier to stop?
  • Will you avoid social occasions in that first week or will you use those occasions to desensitize yourself from smoking and being social?
  • How will you reward yourself in that first week?

Boost Your Morale

Rewarding yourself is of high importance.

Sometimes quitting smoking can be so “painful” that you’ll need to boost your morale so that you remain committed to the cause. Getting a massage, or going out for dinner are some positive ways to feel better.

The withdrawal process can sometimes throw up all sorts of conditions, from headaches, to nausea. The more time you spend working on feeling good will limit the impact of this natural detoxifying period that starts just after quitting.

Anti-Smoking Aids

Go see your doctor to make sure there is no antismoking medication that you can take that can help the process. There are several drugs on the market today that have been designed to help a person quit smoking – to reduce the power of the cravings so that quitting can be done with more ease. For those who are weary of pharmaceutical side effects, there are stop smoking herbs that have no known side effects.

Leading up to your quitting day, have your cars and house deodorized and you can begin the process of cutting down by not smoking in these areas.

You’ll enjoy the fresh smelling car and cigarette smell free house and this will create a barrier between you and smoking in these areas as you won’t want to muck up the nice smell that now exists.

Addiction Psychology

Understand that every former smoker is just one puff away from becoming a packet a day smoker once more. A non smoker cannot have one more puff, EVER. Knowing this and understanding this will give you a greater ability to say no to cigarettes now and in the future.

With that said, avoid using certain words and meanings to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. Avoid such internal dialogue that includes “forever”.

It is much harder to quit smoking “forever” than it is to quit smoking “for this year.” Make your emotional environment more manageable by setting realistic goals that give you a greater chance of long term success.

If you need to stop smoking by saying “this week is my perfect week – I’m not going to eat junk nor smoke for this perfect week” – All the better.

Additional Quit Support

Deep Breathing SupportLearn a craving busting technique such as deep breathing. Deep breathing and or self hypnosis can release and or reduce stress making it easier to last through the cravings.

Avoid coffee and tea and other forms of caffeine products. There are some studies which suggest that caffeine increases the propensity of cravings.

Further to that, most smokers have a coffee and a cigarette together, if you stop doing one, but continue the other, it’ll be clear to some part of your system that something is wrong and will yearn and send signals for a cigarette (or in short, drinking coffee=increased cravings).

Hold Consciously the Stop Smoking Benefits

Write down all the benefits you’ll receive by being a non smoker and carry a list of these benefits around with you in your wallet or purse.

Anytime you get a craving or feel a need to smoke, you can simply read the list and you’ll feel a lot better instantaneously knowing you’re on the path!

I hope this little tip sheet has been of some benefit to you. Best of Luck!

Paul Brickhill
Clinical Hypnotherapist
Hypnosis to Quit Smoking
Hypnotherapy Melbourne, Australia

Training for a Quitter State of Mind

You are here reading this article because quitting cigarette smoking is a goal that you have set to achieve.

Just like a willing person has to train to run a marathon race, you can also train to quit and win the end of cigarettes fight.

Once you have truly made up you mind to quit you will quickly realize losing is not an option.

I Wonder What It Will be Like When…

A Thumbs Up AttitudeIf you are like many smokers who want to quit you have scanned the web for free tips, advice, and articles on ways to stop smoking and now you have a thumbs up attitude and you are ready to engage and receive support to help you quit for good.

This is the training part of the race to quit. During the training embrace a few of the quitting methods simultaneously  to help you find the best method that works for you.

One helpful tip is to close your eyes and slow down your thoughts while connecting to a peaceful place )like you would in a meditation practice) when the urge to light up is strongest. Imagine a future time where you have already quit smoking for good.  Notice how good you feel. Notice the way people support you and acknowledge your success.

The more you imagine the quitting finish line the sooner you will cross it.

Also spend some time thinking of some nice things you can do for yourself with the money you will save. Let this also be part of your meditation process. You can spend time imagining events, places, things, you can enjoy with the savings.

Drink Plenty of Water

Get use to drinking water. Notice when your mouth begins to feel dry and then drink a tall glass of water before you get really thirsty. Water helps to flush the nicotine and carcinogens out of your system quicker than if you drink it during and after you eat.  Soda and sweetened beverages only enhance and add to cigarette cravings.

If you find you worry that you may need something to do with your hands you can keep them busy by journaling what it is like to have a life as a non smoker. You can reflect on the past harm cigarettes did to you as a smoker, and document your healing progress.

Keep a journal handy when you feel the need to light up, and pour out all your feeling and thoughts without censoring them. This is your journal and no one needs to read what you write. You can write about how it feels when smoking urges arise, and how good it feels when your pass on the urge.

You can write about your progress each step of the way. You will often notice your first page or two often shares a few rants, by the third page you will be filled with inspiration as you move beyond your mind to your deeper inner resources. Journaling can help you stay sane, and also provide glimpses and eventually a deep bond with your inner courage and wisdom.

You Are Learning to Take Better Care of Yourself?

You can also find time to pamper yourself a little more.

Give yourself a spa day! Enjoy the act of washing your face and brushing your teeth more often. Plan a day where you pamper yourself, too.

Don’t think of skipping a day away from your quit smoking training routine. Each morning connect with gratitude and acknowledge that you are not smoking on this day.

Remember life is as precious as we make it. Picture yourself living a live a long and healthy life surrounded by your friends and family. Reflect on those people in your life who are dependent on you, or who think of you as a valuable friend.

By taking better care of yourself and stopping to smell the flowers (your sense of smell will improve, too) take time to enjoy the sunshine and even the raining days that nurture the earth.

You can be the person you really want to be, for you and for your loved ones. Take a stand, and get into a training state of mind. The rest will be easy as you succeed at the quitting marathon.

Smoking Bans – Smokers Not Hire Ready

Employers are using smoking vs. non-smoking as one of the criteria to hire employees.

Whether a person smokes or not could be a deciding factor even before you have been E-Verified.

For smokers looking for gainful employment, their addiction makes the possibilities even harder than they may realize.

Fair Debate for Smokers and Non-Smokers

Smokers are willing and able to work in smoke-free environments and can put up with it in order to work.

Once that craving hits though, they will sneak outside on breaks to have a few puffs of nicotine until quitting time. The working smoker’s perception is they have the best of both worlds – a smoke-free environment on the inside of the workplace and a chance to smoke on the outside during working hours.

The non-smokers want to work in smoke-free environments. A smoking policy inside an employees place of employment will provide an environment free of second hand smoke … except:

What if the employee who smokes reeks of cigarettes

What if the second hand smoke finds its way through open windows, doors, and hallways from around the building.

What if smokers begin smoking in bathrooms, or stairwells?

Then an environment is not truly smoke free and for employees a non smoking is really non-existent.

The Win/Win/Lose

Hospitals and other smoke-free conscious employers are pulling out the stops for justifying their no smoking policies.

With the current healthcare reform policy, employers are justifying the testing of potential employees.  Nicotine tests similar to random drug testing are qualified and being administered.

If non-smokers are hired it is less likely the employee will be hospitalized for ailments related to lung cancer. Insurance cost savings is the rationale for these tests because they can save on costly medical expenses in the future.

Medical costs will be considerably less because symptoms related to asthma, bronchial infections, and allergies will not exist.  Families will be healthier and have less cause to visit the doctor or fill a prescription.  Insurance premiums will not have to cover as many catastrophic illnesses related to smoking and second hand smoke.

If a ban on hiring smokers is embraced by businesses in all 50 states, a long road of tough economic times will be facing those that smoke if they refuse to quit.  Smokers will feel defeated not because they lack the skills to perform their jobs but lack the skills to quit smoking to gain and keep their jobs.  Being a smoker will have a stigma that has obvious and detrimental consequences.

Quit While You Can

These bans are the sign of the times and smokers need to prepare to move with them.  If you are currently unemployed, be aware that your smoking addiction is a possible criterion as to whether you land the next job.

Still working and smoking? Higher insurance rates especially for smokers and other unnecessary risk takers are certain to be the norm. Cessation Programs may have some provisions that give you a timeline to quit before your insurance rates and premiums are dramatically increased.

An important part of your life may be your career.  Do not let smoking be the thing that ends it.

References:

  1. WHO POLICY ON NON-RECRUITMENT OF SMOKERS OR OTHER TOBACCO USERS
  2. Smokers Not Hired

Kick Butts Day(s) the Young People’s Great American Smoke Out

Quitting smoking is hard.

And the more help and support that we can give smokers to help them quit, the better off we all – men, women, children, dogs, cats, etc. will be.

March 24th was the 15th Annual Kick Butts day celebrated across the country.

Kids and young adults across the country will stand up to ask legislators to protect them from the tobacco industry. Protect them? The tobacco industry is not pulling teens and young adults out of their beds, homes or schools and telling them that they must smoke cigarettes or else.

Kick Butts Day – Are They Sending the Wrong Message?

toxic cigsThe way this Kick Butts Day is designed is open for discussion, because the creators of the day are pointing fingers at the legislators, the tobacco industry and everyone else except those that are currently smoking. Why should just legislators and the tobacco industry get all the blame? Yes, advertising campaigns that target youth is an indirect way to entice young adults to start smoking, but they didn’t force them …did they? Why are the creators of this day not also taking responsibility?

What if the Kick Butts Day focused more on getting teens and young adults to quit if they have started smoking and their friends rallying in support of them quitting. The day could commemorate the commitment to quitting, like a commitment to sobriety. The Kick Butts Day could be rallying around those that we know smoke and asking them to commit to quitting while also pointing them to support systems to help them.

What if we also celebrated those who have quit! Honoring them for taking responsibility for their life, health, and the impact smoking has on their loved ones. We could also remember  those we have lost to cigarette smoking.

Putting a Positive Spin on a Positive Effort

We have rehabs for alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, perhaps we need more rehab centers offering innovative approaches to smoking cessation. And we don’t need rehab centers because if we can rally to vote, rally to fight for healthcare, then we can rally to help teens and young people quit on the Kick Butts Day.

So let’s take a step to help smokers stop. An educational and positive spin on this day could implemented, instead of just name calling, or what some might label as cry baby blaming and finger pointing at legislators and the tobacco industry. The Kick Butt Day creators could make this a day of positive action rather than a day of focusing on negative reaction.

A Different Approach

Let’s think about this a moment.

Kick Butts Day could be a rally cry one day each month of the year. One day a month could be a way to check in and hold accountable those who have made the commitment to quit smoking.

One day a month and if that is too much then one day every three months those that have committed to smoking will be obligated to answer to their peers, parents, friends, etc. as to what they are doing and if in fact they have quit.

Diaries should be kept on a daily basis so that the potential quitters are mindful of what they have promised to do and make note of the bad habits that keep them from fulfilling their commitment to quit smoking.

This would certainly be a morale booster for those who have quit and an example to peers and those who want to kick but have been afraid to try.

Kick Butts Day could create a movement to eradicate the need to smoke if we focus inwards instead of outwards.

notable references:

Georgia Kids ‘Kick Butts’ on March 24 – CNBC

On March 26 at Manteo High School in Manteo, students will hold a cigarette butt cleanup to determine if the tobacco-free campus policy is successful. …

STUDENTS at Joseph Priestley College tackled the effects of smoking in association with National No Smoking Day last week.

Scripps Florida Scientists Find Blocking a Neuropeptide Receptor Decreases Nicotine Addiction

Findings could point towards more successful smoking cessation efforts.  The study was published in an online Early Edition issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the week of November 24. Scripps Florida is a division of The Scripps Research Institute.

The neuropeptide, hypocretin-1 (Orexin A), may initiate a key signaling cascade, a series of closely linked biochemical reactions, which maintains tobacco addiction in human smokers and could be a potential target for developing new smoking cessation treatments.

“Blocking hypocretin-1 receptors not only decreased the motivation to continue nicotine use in rats, it also abolished the stimulatory effects of nicotine on their brain reward circuitries,” said Paul Kenny, Ph.D., the Scripps Research scientist at Scripps Florida who led the study. “This suggests that hypocretin-1 may play a major role in driving tobacco use in smokers to want more nicotine. If we can find a way to effectively block this receptor, it could mean a novel way to help break people’s addiction to tobacco.”

Cigarette smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in developed countries, and accounts for approximately 440,000 deaths and $160 billion in health-related costs annually in the United States alone. Despite years of health warnings concerning the well-known adverse consequences of tobacco smoking, only about ten percent of smokers who attempt to quit annually manage to remain smoke free after one year, highlighting the difficulty in quitting the smoking habit.

In the study, Kenny and a postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory, Jonathan Hollander, Ph.D., blocked the hypocretin-1 receptor using low doses of the selective antagonist SB-334867, a commercially available compound often used in research.

“While hypocretin 2 systems, otherwise known as orexin B, have been mainly implicated in regulating sleep,” Kenny said, “hypocretin 1, also known as orexin A, appears to be more involved in regulating motivated behavior. Our previous studies in close collaboration with other Scripps Research scientists have shown that hypocretin-1 receptors play a central role in regulating relapse to cocaine seeking. With that in mind, it seemed reasonable to test whether it was involved in nicotine reward as well.”

The new study indeed showed that blocking the receptor in rats significantly decreased nicotine self-administration and also the motivation to seek and obtain the drug. These findings suggest that hypocretin-1 receptors play a critical role maintaining nicotine-taking behavior in rats, and perhaps also in sustaining the tobacco habit in human smokers.In addition, the study highlighted the importance of hypocretin-1 receptors in a brain region called the insula, a walnut size part of the frontal lobe of the brain. A highly conserved brain region, all mammals have insula regions that sense the body’s internal physiological state and direct responses to maintain homeostasis. The insula has also been implicated in regulating feelings of craving. In a recent groundbreaking study, it was reported that smokers who sustained damage to the insula lost the desire to smoke, an insight that revealed the insula as a key brain region that sustains the tobacco habit in smokers. Until the new study, however, the neurobiological mechanisms through which the insula regulated the persistence of tobacco addiction remained unclear.

The new study sheds light on this question, showing that hypocretin-containing fibers project significantly to the insula, that hypocretin-1 receptors are expressed on the surface of neurons in the insula, and that blockade of hypocretin-1 receptors in the insula, but not in the adjacent somatosensory cortex region (which also records and relays sensory information), decreases nicotine self-administration. The effects of blocking hypecretin-1 receptors only in the insula, however, were less than blocking these receptors in the brain as a whole, suggesting that hypocretin transmission in other brain regions may also be playing a role in nicotine reward.

Working with scientists from Scripps Florida’s Translational Research Institute, Kenny and his colleagues are now searching for new antagonists at hypocretin-1 receptors that are less toxic than the compound used in the published experiments in the hopes of furthering the development of a human therapy.

###

In addition to Kenny and Hollander, authors of the paper, titled Insular Hypocretin Transmission Regulates Nicotine Reward, were Qun Lu, Michael D. Cameron and Theodore M. Kamenecka, also of Scripps Research.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About The Scripps Research Institute

Picture of San DiegoThe Scripps Research Institute is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.

Scripps Florida is currently in the process of moving from temporary facilities to its permanent campus in Jupiter, Florida. Dedication ceremonies for the new campus will be held in February 2009.

Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

Smoking Bans Help People Quit, Research Shows

Nationwide, smoking bans are on the rise in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Research shows that bans decrease the overall number of cigarettes people smoke and in some cases, actually result in people quitting.

One reason bans help people quit is simple biology. Inhaling tobacco actually increases the number of receptors in the brain that crave nicotine.

“If you had a smoker compared to a nonsmoker and were able to do imaging study of the brain, the smoker would have billions more of the receptors in areas of the brain that have to do with pleasure and reward,” says Richard Hurt, an internist who heads the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center.

So, removing the triggers that turn on those receptors is a good thing.

“If you’re in a place where smoking is allowed, your outside world is hooked to the receptors in your brain through your senses: your sight, smell, the smoke from someone else’s tobacco smoke or cigarette. That reminds the receptors about the pleasure of smoking to that individual, and that’s what produces the cravings and urges to smoke,” Hurt explains.

Hurt adds that bans help decrease the urge to smoke in another way: They de-normalize it. For example, where smoking is considered the “norm” – as it was in so many countries in Europe for so long – more people smoke. In places where smoking is no longer the “norm” – in California, for example – there are fewer smokers.

Smoking Ban SignResearch shows that nicotine replacement medications – like nicotine gum, patches or inhalers – double a smoker’s chances of quitting. So do counseling and therapy. Add a smoking ban, and Hurt says the chance of successful quitting is even better.

Click to learn more about > smoking bans.

Source: NPR

I Quit Cold Turkey Three Years Ago Today

I have been so busy that if I had not checked my e-mail (thanks Rosie for reminding me.) I probably would have slid right past the three-year mark with barely a whisper!

You are perhaps wondering how I arrived at this precious milestone? It took time, research, dedication, stubbornness, and a strong desire to succeed.

I never really had a strong human support system nor did any forum really do anything to help me maintain my quit. Though I once belonged to a group called The Leapers, there was not a whole lot of support there either.

I did have people along the way (Rosie, Maddie, and GoddessXena) who took the time to be supportive when they could.

Girl Bull FighterThe bulk of my support arrived via my own research and putting my heart and soul into the creation of Ciggyfree.com. To be perfectly frank, I was my own best cheerleader. I had to learn to support my own quit and never expect another person to pick me up if I fell down.

I come from a long line of strong willed Scottish/Irish women, and we are women who run through life destined to take any bull by the horns and beat it into submission. Quitting smoking was just another bull to ride in this game called life.

In the past, I quit hundreds of times. I was a serial quitter. I could fit any smoking profile from party girl to closet smoker. Whatever social situation I found myself in would always provide the protocol on how I would sooth this beast of addiction.

In the end my brain had been rewired by consistent exposure to over 4,000 chemicals, including arsenic, ammonia, and formaldehyde in every cigarette that I ever inhaled through time.

The secret to a good quit is to make a conscious decision to not light another cigarette. This means that you take personal responsibility for your own quit. Either you want to live or you want to die. There is no lukewarm. Smoking will kill you.

There is no Freedom without Courage. I have been free for 3Y. I have saved $4,310.03 by not smoking 21,928 cigarettes. I have saved 5M 1D 6h 40m of my life.

Dealing With Nicotine Withdrawl

Everybody knows that nicotine withdrawal comes with the territory of quitting smoking but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It can be hard and even frustrating for the person quitting to deal with withdrawal and for those around the person.

But understanding what’s going on, physically and psychologically, can help and can assist you in helping a friend quit.

When smokers quit, they begin to go through some changes, some physical, some emotional. The physical symptoms, while annoying and difficult, are not life threatening.

Nicotine replacement products such as the patch or gum can help reduce many of these physical symptoms. For most smokers, the bigger challenge is the psychological part of quitting.

This psychological part of smoking is really hard to beat because smoking becomes linked to so many things – things like waking up in the morning, eating, reading, watching TV, drinking coffee, etc. It’s like a ritual.

Your body becomes used to having a cigarette with certain activities and will miss this link when you first become smoke-free.
Woman Yanking HairIt will take time to “un-link” smoking from these activities.

Unfortunately, the patch or gum can’t relieve the psychological need to smoke. That’s why it’s so important for the smoker to create a plan to deal with situations that trigger their urge to smoke. Smokers can also ask friends and family for support with simple things like walking around the building before class instead of having a cigarette.

Stop Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms

If and when a smoker goes through withdrawal, they need to keep this in mind. Even though they may not act like themselves, and they may feel rotten, these feelings will pass. After 30 days or so, and after they’ve quit smoking, all this will be behind them. In the meantime, here are some of the withdrawal symptoms smokers may experience and what they can do about them.

Craving – This is the body’s physical addiction saying, “I need nicotine now!” Each craving will last for only a couple of minutes and will eventually stop happening altogether in about seven days. Smokers should use nicotine replacement products to help reduce cravings.If the smoker still feels the urge, they can admit out loud to themselves or someone else that they are having a craving. Then they should count to one hundred and let the feeling pass – and it will, usually within a couple minutes.

Difficulty Concentrating –  “Help, I quit smoking and I can’t concentrate!” Some people say nicotine helps focus their attention. When they quit smoking, the increased blood flow and oxygen can lead to a feeling of mental fogginess.If this happens, they should try making lists and daily schedules to keep organized, then set aside some total relaxation time when they don’t have to concentrate on anything!

Fatigue/Sleeping Problems –  Trouble sleeping and fatigue are common symptoms of withdrawal. Because nicotine increases one’s metabolism to an abnormally high rate, when people stop smoking their metabolism drops back to normal, making them feel like their energy level has dropped.So what can they do? They need to get their body used to the new metabolic rate by getting plenty of sleep, whenever possible. Although sleep patterns may be interrupted at first, this is normal and temporary.

Irritability –  If you have snapped at someone or had a new non-smoker snap at you, you know what we are talking about. Irritability is caused by the body trying to adjust to the sudden disappearance of all those chemicals it’s been used to. The best way to handle this is for smokers to simply be honest with those around them that they are trying to quit and they do not feel like themselves.

Source: American Cancer Society

Be True To Your Quit

During the Early Days (daze) staying quit seems out of reach, like if only you could just have that one puff it would, could, should set you free!

Think before you reach.

One puff could equal one to two packs for the next five, ten, or twenty years, or perhaps a lifetime of smoking.

You have the power.

Picture of EyesWill you choose to deny or comply?

What will your choice be?

Will you choose to be chained to addiction or opt to be free?