Stop smoking cold turkey is considered to be by far the most difficult method of quitting smoking. Regardless, many smokers prefer to use the cold-turkey strategy to quit smoking. To stop smoking cold turkey means giving up smoking all at once without the assistance of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or any other drugs or treatment methods.
Many ex-smokers have managed to quit going cold turkey. Research shows that you will have the best chance of success if you smoke a relatively small amount of cigarettes (less than 10 cigarettes a day) and use the methods outlined below.
It is essential that you are mentally prepared for what is to come since you will not be using NRT or other methods.
Have the end date in mind:
Select a time from two to four weeks in the future when you plan on beginning the cold turkey process. Pick a quiet time of year when you have less on your calendar.
Stress is one of the major factors that cause people to smoke. Arrange your quit date during a time when you do not have school tests, work projects due, or any other life event that could trigger a significant stress event.
If you tend to smoke socially more than any other time, avoid quitting during a time of constant social activity.
Make a list of reasons for quitting:
Think about all of the reasons you want to quit smoking. Then write down the list and put it where you can see it on a regular basis. Doing this will help you to stay strong and resist the urge to give in when you feel yourself getting weak and craving a cigarette.
Plan around your habits:
Consider which activities or at what times you are most likely to want to smoke. It might in the morning, after a meal, when you are with friends or driving home from work.
These times when you typically smoke will most likely be the hardest times not to smoke. It will be best to plan other activities or distractions that will keep your mind off of smoking.
Get your coffee at a place where you can’t smoke. Walk or go do a light activity after a meal. Go to the movies instead of going to a club. Take the bus or carpool instead of driving. Deliberate changes in your routine will help to refocus you on new experiences, and not what you’re missing.
Nicotine is a powerful narcotic that ranks with other highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. Therefore, cravings are unavoidable. They will usually only last as long as five to ten minutes. Distract yourself when the cravings come by getting on social media, chewing gum, or playing video games.
Remember that withdrawal is a temporary condition:
Quitting using the cold turkey method will mean that withdrawal symptoms will feel stronger than if you used NRT. The good news is that most of your symptoms will top out after two to three days and then gradually fade. The common kinds of nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense nicotine cravings
- Feelings of depression
- Having nightmares
- Feeling drowsy
- Feelings of tension, anxiety, or frustration
- Increased appetite
- Gaining weight
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling dizzy
- Slow heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Nasal drip
- Engage family and friends:
Most likely, your loved ones will be happy that you are trying to kick the smoking habit. Ask for their help in distracting your craving times with words of encouragement, planning smoke-free activities, and understanding that you might be testy and moody during this period.
Find a support group:
It might easier to quit if you are receiving encouragement and support from people who are going through the same experience. Call your local hospital or medical facility to see if they have smoking support groups. You can also contact national quit-smoking lines, such as the American Cancer Society Quitline at 877-YES-QUIT FREE. It provides free phone support and can help you by providing quitting strategies.
Write down your experience:
Ending a smoking habit is one of the best preventative health steps a person can take. Lung function will improve up to 30 percent in two weeks to three months. As you go longer without smoking, do you see signs of improvement? Do you have more energy? Do you look better? If so, write about it.
Regardless of the difficulties of using cold turkey or any other method to quit smoking, quitting completely and permanently is the ultimate objective. Some experts recommend going cold turkey because nicotine will leave your system quicker than it would if you were using NRT. Others say that cold turkey withdrawal is too abrupt and makes quitting too hard, facilitating the need for nicotine gum or patches. As long as the method works, it’s worth trying because anything is better than continuing to smoke.