I believe the most important skill you need to quit smoking permanently, is to learn how to manage your cravings to smoke. When we give in, to our unhealthy desires, we stay on the addiction merry-go-round. Just because you have an urge to do something, it doesn’t mean you should act on it.
1. Wait until you are craving a cigarette.
2. Take a deep breath and ask that desire to grow as quickly as possible. Continue to breathe deeply as you focus on the craving growing stronger and multiplying throughout your body. You may experience anxiety or intense feelings but deal with it by asking the desire to increase.
3. Now imagine smoking 3 cigarettes at once, and as soon as you finish those, imagine doing it again. Taste the acetone, ammonia, arsenic, butane, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, insecticide, lead and tar you're pulling into your lungs. Really feel the 7,000 chemicals, which at least 70 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer - burning your tongue, your throat, and your lungs.
4. Imagine indulging your craving until you're sick… The horrible taste in your mouth, the smoke singeing your throat and your lungs. Feel your throat and lungs constricting, your chest hurting as your muscles spasm in protest of the poison you're sucking into your lungs. Your body racked with a coughing fit.
5. Tell yourself you can smoke, but you're going to go hard. Feel the dizziness, your head spinning, and wave of nausea washing over you. Remember how you felt when you first smoked, how you felt lightheaded, your body breaking out in a cold sweat just like before you get sick. Feel how disappointed you would feel if you had a cigarette, how disappointed the people that care about you would be.
Within a few minutes, your desire to smoke will vanish or be greatly reduced, and instead, you'll feel calm and accepting of your desire to smoke and know you will be able to handle the feelings that come up when you are craving a cigarette.
6. Repeat every time you have the urge to smoke. Your craving will vanish faster each time, usually in seconds, and be replaced with a genuine feeling of exceptional well-being and energy. This technique works well with anxiety and panic attacks, and any type of craving that you are trying to resist.
Part of what causes cravings is that your subconscious believes it needs nicotine to survive since it’s in your system all of the time - like water or oxygen. By asking the desire to increase, you are telling your body and mind that you are okay. Through accepting and not resisting the cravings, you shift them very quickly.
There really is something to the 12 step program’s motto of “one day at a time”. Stay in the present. You don’t need to commit to not ever smoking again for the rest of your life, you’re just not going to have one right now.
"You can have just one…" your brain may tell you, but it's most likely that you won't stop at one. And then what? You end up smoking for the rest of your life. Do you really want to risk it?
Each time you deny the desire to smoke it will be an effort but, in time, the cravings will fade. You won't always be struggling with it. A good acronym to remember is N.O.P.E (Not one puff, ever!)
After a while, it may recur only for 30 seconds once every couple of months, but even if the urge strikes for only a few seconds, that's enough time to light up, so it's smart to be mentally prepared. At that moment, you don't want to forget how much you like not smoking.
Smokers are found to have below average levels of Vitamin C – in a pack a day smoker as much as 40 percent. Cigarettes drain your body of Vitamin C by breaking down and excreting it much faster than normal. Smoking uses up around 25 milligrams of vitamin C per cigarette, so if you are a pack a day smoker, you are depleting your body of 500 mg a day.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that works to sustain the health of the body’s connective tissue as well as performing as an antioxidant. Your body needs to ingest vitamin C or vitamin C containing foods, on a daily basis to maintain necessary levels.
Your body does not make vitamin C on its own, and it doesn’t store it. So it is essential that you take supplemental vitamin C, as well as include fruits and veggies that contain vitamin C in your daily diet.
The benefits of vitamin C include boosting your immune system and neurotransmitters, balancing blood sugar, as well as giving you protection against cancer, heart disease, prenatal health issues, eye disease and premature aging.
When it comes to hormones and neurotransmitters, Vitamin C is often overlooked. Vitamin C is needed for the conversion of several neurotransmitters that, in turn, make up our adrenal and thyroid hormones and neurotransmitters, like dopamine and melatonin.
These hormones help to regulate your metabolism, increase focus, and boost your ability to cope with stress and relax.
Without Vitamin C, we cannot make collagen, the stuff that makes our skin elastic and helps it to appear radiant and youthful. It also protects our joints and helps wounds heal. Since smoking depletes Vitamin C, this is part of why smokers age faster and recover from surgery slower.
Vitamin C works on the immune system by helping to produce anti-virals and increasing the integrity of the mucous membranes, which help us to stop bacteria and viruses from entering the body.
It’s found that smokers are sick more often, which is directly related to low vitamin C levels, and the damage smoking causes to the mucus membranes.
Are you starting to see how important Vitamin C is and why it’s important for you to make sure you are getting enough? This is true for all people but it’s essential when you are a smoker and in the process of stopping smoking.
Vitamin C for cigarette cravings
Suck on a chewable vitamin C tablet each time you want a cigarette or make your own vitamin C spray.
You can make vitamin C spray yourself. Vitamin C powder is inexpensive and easy to find. Just find a small empty spray bottle and make your own. Just take plain Vitamin C crystals (available from any health food store, and many online suppliers), dissolve as much as you can in a given amount of water.
Spray the back of your tongue and throat every time you want a cigarette or you can gargle with it. Other ways are to suck on a chewable vitamin C, drink the vitamin C solution, or just take vitamin C tablets in the usual way.
Vitamin C will help you to stop smoking by reducing your desire to smoke, and also helps to control hunger cravings which in turn reduces weight gain after quitting.
All of these strategies mentioned above will help you to stop smoking, and reduce food cravings at the same time.
HINT: Because vitamin C is somewhat acidic, I recommend rinsing your mouth with water afterward. If you are sensitive to acidity, you can also buy buffered vitamin C powder, such as calcium ascorbate, or non-acidic sodium ascorbate, or use the non- acidic chewable form. All these types of vitamin C are available at grocery; health food stores or online.
Warning: If you are a woman and, especially if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, please take vitamin C with bioflavonoids and don’t take large doses for long. Vitamin C without bioflavonoids can prevent pregnancy and even induce a miscarriage, as it can interfere with hormone levels.
Dosage: Vitamin C - Up to 5000 mg of Vitamin C a day. Take a 250 mg chewable or Vitamin C spray every time you have a craving.
The deficiency of Vitamin D has substantial medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, immune system and muscles, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.
Vitamin D activates the genes that release dopamine and serotonin. So make sure you get at least 15 minutes of sun a day or take a vitamin D-3 supplement
Dosage: Vitamin D - 1,000 IU daily for every 11 kilos or 25 pounds of total body weight so if you weigh 150 pounds or 68 kgs, take 6000 ui a day.
Read my next post about magnesium, fish oils, NAC & Mag07 to calm the nervous system, detox and combat constipation.
WHY IT'S BEEN SO F#*&ING HARD TO STOP...
We know it's not good for us - so why do we do it?
Nicotine, along with caffeine and alcohol, is one of the three most widely used legal drugs. According to the US surgeon-general, “Smoking will continue as the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality for many years to come.”
Approximately 1 billion people around the world smoke.
An estimated 22.5% of adults in the world
(1 billion people) smoke tobacco products (32.0% of men and 7.0% of women ).
It’s estimated that 6% of deaths in females and 11% of deaths in males each year are caused by tobacco use.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5 million people a year die prematurely as a result of smoking. And if it keeps going the way it is, smoking will kill up to a billion people worldwide this century as stated by John Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society.
5 million people a year... That’s around 14,000 people a day, dying from smoking- related diseases.
Smoking kills more than 50% of all smokers, mainly from cancer, and even though it’s the single largest avoidable risk of premature death, there are approximately 30 million new smokers a year, as estimated by scientists.
The average smoker lives ten years less than a non-smoker and is much more likely to contract many different, horrible diseases.
So why, when we know that cigarettes are poisonous and that they make us much more likely to die of a horrible disease do we continue to smoke? Blame it on the nicotine. The main stimulant in cigarettes, nicotine, has a substantial effect even in tiny doses.
Can you remember your first cigarette? It probably tasted awful, burned your throat and lungs (if you inhaled), and made you feel dizzy and nauseous. Those are some of its toxic effects in action. A few more puffs, and for most people, the body no longer rebels. In fact, you rather like it. In short, you’re hooked.
Nicotine's mood-altering effects are somewhat unique, as it is both a stimulant and a relaxant. It causes a release of glucose (sugar) from the liver, and adrenaline, making you feel more alert and calm at the same time. When you tried quitting smoking before, did you feel anxious, achy, tired, irritable and hungrier than usual?
Did you crave sweets more than normal, feel slightly dizzy, foggy-headed or even slightly confused? If you did, you were likely experiencing low blood sugar symptoms. That’s because every cigarette you smoke triggers a small blood sugar release.
When you quit smoking, your blood sugar can become lower than before since you are no longer having that blood sugar boost from smoking.
When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine passes from the lungs to the brain within seven seconds and immediately triggers the release of a heady chemical cocktail such as acetylcholine, adrenalin, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
Are you sick of smoking and want to quit? You can’t change something if you don’t acknowledge the problem or make a plan of action to fix it. Now, I am assuming that you’re not content with being addicted to cigarettes or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. You're unhappy with the fact that you smoke and want to change it.
Let’s be honest. When it comes to quitting smoking, going cold turkey is not only hell, but most of the time, it doesn’t work. We start out with the best intentions, but once the withdrawals set in, we feel so awful we give up and start smoking again. If you are ready to stop smoking for good without feeling like sh*t, you need a different approach.
The first step to change is awareness, and the next is acceptance. I find most people say they want to stop smoking, but they are not clear about when that will happen. They are not sure what their present status really is. In order to change, you need to take a good, hard look at where you are now and then where you want to be. Most of us have our head in the sand about smoking because we don’t want to face it.
It feels too painful to actually face what smoking is doing to your health, happiness and appearance. But, (and possibly a horrible smelly cigarette butt), it’s more painful not to be as healthy, happy, not to mention as sexy, as you know you could be if you were free of the habit of smoking.
I was a pack-a-day-plus smoker for over ten years. I quit many times but always found it a massive struggle and would find myself back puffing away before long. I tried patches, gum and prescription medication hoping that it would be the magic bullet that finally broke the spell cigarettes seemed to have over me.