Quit Smoking With Patch
Nicotine patches are available in different strengths. The strength supplied depends on how much you usually smoke. It's usually a good idea to start with the strongest dose. Decide where you want to wear the patch. Choose a clean, dry area with no body hair, avoiding creams, lotions, oils or powder. Cut the sachet and remove the patch. Don't cut the patches up. Peel the backing and apply the sticky side to skin. Press firmly for 10 seconds.
Change position each day. Wait three days before using the same area again. It will take 1-2 hours for the effect to reach full strength. Gum and lozenges take a shorter time. If you find that the patches don't relieve your cravings quickly enough, consider using gum or lozenges as well. Some people find that the patches irritate their skin. If this is worse than the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, stop using the patches.
Using Nicotine Gum
Nicotine gum is not used like ordinary chewing gum. When you feel the urge to smoke:
- Chew one piece of gum until the taste becomes strong or peppery as nicotine is released.
- Roll the gum and "park" it in your cheek.
- When the taste fades, chew again to release the strong peppery flavour, and park again in your cheek.
You can repeat these steps for 30 minutes, 8-12 times per day. As you need less nicotine you can cut the gum up and mix with ordinary chewing gum. Some people find the taste of nicotine gum too unpleasant to persist with. If you find it worse than the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, stop using the gum.
Using Nicotine Lozenges
Lozenges work much the same as gum, but they are prescribed for people who have difficulty chewing or for other reasons prefer them to gum. Do not suck the lozenge continuously like a throat lozenge. Do not bite or chew it.
- Place one lozenge in the mouth between gums and cheek.
- Suck slowly until the taste becomes strong.
- Stop sucking until the taste fades, then suck again.
- Occasionally move the lozenge from one side of the mouth to the other.
You can repeat these steps for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours in the first six weeks, then gradually cutting down to one every 4-8 hours. Some people find the taste of the lozenges unpleasant. If you find it worse than the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, stop using the lozenges.
Warnings for Gum and Lozenges
Keep all NRT products out of reach of children, and dispose of carefully. Don't eat or drink for 15 minutes beforehand or while using lozenges or gum. Nicotine can cause throat irritation and an increase in saliva at first. Swallowing nicotine can cause irritation to the stomach or hiccupping. Try chewing or sucking more slowly if this is a problem.
Making a Quit Plan
Having a plan will help you. Apart from anything else, it makes you think about the changes you need to make in order to stop smoking successfully.
Some of the following is based on the website Become an Ex. It's a good website, and helps you make an online plan. If you're on the computer a lot, consider signing up there. (They have an iPhone app and a mobile version as well, if you always have your smartphone with you.)
1. Track Your Triggers
For 3 days, each time you have a cigarette, pay attention to what you were doing or what was happening just before and how strongly you wanted it. At the end of this process, you should have a clear idea of what triggers off your smoking.
- Is it being in a particular place?
- Is it a feeling?
- Is it something you eat or drink?
- Is it being around someone else?
- Is it a particular activity?
2. Learn Differently
The association of smoking with those triggers was a learning process. Separating them from the triggers is a learning process too.
BecomeAnEx suggests that you start by not smoking until a few minutes after you want to. Gradually extend the time. By doing this you are teaching yourself to separate the trigger from the smoking – because they really are two different things.
You may want to quit smoking right now, rather than delaying. But if delaying is going to work, and stopping suddenly isn't, which is better?
3. Get a Strategy
The triggers themselves are mostly still going to be there. Particular food and drink triggers you can get rid of temporarily, and I suggest you do that if you can. But your annoying boss is going to be annoying whether you smoke or not, and you're going to need a strategy to deal with that. (A strategy that doesn't involve smoking.)
Part of what I'm doing in the audio tracks in Smokefree Life is encouraging your mind to come up with its own strategies. But particularly for stress, there are some great strategies that are really simple. I talk about some of them in the Managing Stress section, and I have a whole free follow-up online course on stress that you can start any time you like.
I really suggest you go through that course, by the way. Most people who start smoking again after they stop do so at a time of stress, because they hadn't found any other strategy that worked better than smoking. I got this email from a client a while back, and it made my day:
I picked up the ciggarettes again when I separated from my partner but I am back on the smokefree horse and have gone back to some of the techniques you taught me and I am doing well again. That's the way to do it! Simple Stress Management Techniques.
4. Set a Quit Date
There will never be a stress-free time to quit tobacco. On the other hand, stopping smoking two weeks before the big project finishes, when you know you'll be working day and night, is not the smartest approach either.
Pick a time when you're going to be at an average level of stress for your life, whatever that is, and when you'll have some time and attention to give to the resources.
5. Assemble Your Resources
I've assembled a bunch of resources for you in the quit smoking online course, but there are other resources out there among your friends and family and in the community. Find people who will help and support you, who will encourage you and cheer you on, who will check up on you. Find health groups that can give help and advice.
And don't forget the resources you already have in your own life and your own mind. You've succeeded at things before, and you can use that to encourage yourself.
6. Do It
When your chosen date comes, stop. Go hard out. Commit yourself wholeheartedly to being smokefree. Tell yourself, “I quit smoking right now.” Use all the resources and support.
7. Stick With It
Some people – about one in 20 – can just stop smoking, bang, and never smoke again. Most people find it harder than that. If it gets hard, think about all the things that make it worth it to you, all the benefits of giving up smoking.
I talk about stopping smoking as a personal development challenge. It's like doing a triathlon or climbing a mountain. You have to train for it, you have to get help, and it's not just about your health. It's about a great personal achievement that will leave you a stronger and more confident person. That's another great motivation to quit smoking. If you find this post useful, please share it with your friends. To find out more, you can check out Quit Smoking With Patch.