Today is the Great American Smokeout – the day the American Cancer Society hopes smokers and their families make a plan to quit smoking for good. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US. Not only is the smoker affected, but entire families can have health ramifications due to secondhand smoke. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients often suffer from flair-ups in their symptoms when exposed to secondhand smoke, and for those who are on oxygen therapy, flames of any kind, especially cigarettes, can cause deadly explosions.
While most smokers who have tried to quit have heard all the conventional methods (patches, gum, cold turkey), some less known methods have proven successful. Here is a list of techniques you or your loved ones may not have tried yet:
- Family change – For some, having kids can be a powerful motivator to quit smoking. If one parent doesn’t smoke, that person must insist that the other parent or grandparent doesn’t smoke around the kids. If nothing else, this should cut down on the number of cigarettes and opportunities to smoke.
- Isolate yourself – Go where cigarettes are not. This may mean renting a cabin in the woods for the first week that doesn’t permit smoking. Don’t bring any cigarettes, but do make sure to bring everything else you will need. You don’t want to have to run to the store to pick up milk, where you might be tempted to buy cigarettes.
- Count the small victories – Try quitting for an hour, then two, then until noon, then a day. Extend the interval until your small victories become bigger ones.
- Self-hypnosis – Tell yourself with every cigarette you smoke that it tastes awful. Continue telling yourself that until you believe it. Some people seek out professional help for this technique while others say they have success doing it themselves.
- Avoid others who smoke – For many, being around others who smoke can trigger a relapse. It can be the smell or even just seeing others smoke that can cause you to pick up another cigarette. Stay away from your triggers. Choose restaurants and bars that do not allow smoking inside. You may also need to stay away from certain friends and family who smoke until you are farther along in your process.
For more information about the Great American Smokeout and ways you can help yourself or your loved ones, visit the American Cancer Society website.