There are many effective tools that can be used to quit smoking. But no matter which tools you try, your desire to quit has to come from the heart. If you don’t really want to stop smoking, any program will be a half-hearted attempt, at best. So the first step is to get past the defensive denial so that you can face reality. When you finally see how you are truly hurting yourself and those around you, and you decide that it is time to quit, you will finally have a chance at success.
The next step is to find a program that works for you. There are many tools that can be used and many types of physicians and practitioners who work with smoking cessation. I work with a number of them and find them all to be effective. Different therapies will work for different people, and it’s often hard to predict what will work best for each of my smoking patients. Your results will greatly depend on your individual personality, level of addiction, and health needs. Don’t be afraid to try more than one modality if you do not get good results.
Here are some forms of smoking cessation that you might like to investigate before you start any one program:
■ Medicines. Usually nicotine substitutes, these include “the patch” or nicotine gums that wean you off of your addition. There are other nonnicotine medicines like Wellbutrin and Chantix that are used for smoking cessation. A traditional doctor must provide a prescription, which will require an office visit and a complete physical examination.
■ Acupuncture. As described in category 10, this ancient Chinese practice places fine needles on specific meridians or points on the body that will quell the urge to smoke. This requires several visits to an acupuncturist.
■ Hypnosis. During this treatment you are placed in a hypnotic trance, and your mind is reprogrammed with the subconscious tools necessary to stop smoking. For example, it may be suggested that every time you try to light a cigarette, you suddenly become queasy. The hypnotist, which is often a psychologist, psychiatrist, or holistic practitioner, has created a new response to suppress your addiction. Over time, you will decide that it is not worth the nauseated feeling by choosing not to light a cigarette.
■ Psychological therapy. A trained therapist can uncover your personal issues that have created a psychological dependency, causing you to smoke. This process also requires many visits to a therapist. Over time, a good therapist not only can get you to see what is causing you to smoke but can give you the tools you need to stop smoking forever.
■ Biofeedback. This technique uses tiny monitoring devices to gain voluntary control over the desire to smoke. Biofeedback links smoking and other addictions to a stress response. When you are under stress, the monitors can pick up signals your body is sending, so that you can recognize the sensation before you light a cigarette. This program can be done at home, and these products are available without a prescription, either in stores or over the Internet.