Top 10 Things to Know Before You Quit Smoking…

Quitting smoking SUCKS. There’s the physical symptoms of quitting such as shaking and headaches that make your brain feel like a wrecking ball. Then there’s the emotional symptoms such as wanting to kill everyone around you with your teeth, super increased sensitivity and a rage that would make even Odin, himself, a little intimidated. It makes it really difficult to tame the beast.

There are all kinds of products out there that claim to help ‘cut the cravings’ but most of those products cost anywhere from 50-150 buckaroos. That’s the same as my cable bill. And let’s face it, when it comes between Netflix marathons or my lungs 10 years from now – instant gratification is going to win-Every. Single. Time.

You may think, “Well, you could buy one of those gas station e-cigs for like $10 a pop.” In reality, that’s like feeding a lion 100 pounds of chicken nuggets and expecting it to starve. Using e-cigs to quit is still feeding the beast, and the ultimate goal is to be beast free, healthy and happy.

So, what can afford-ably and effectively turn your blood curdling, gut wrenching, I-want-to-punch-everyone-in-the-face-and-kill-their-mother cravings into something a little more manageable? I’ve done the research. I’m here to help all of you potential non-smokers achieve your goal AND save your bank account some major damage.

Why should you trust my opinion? I smoked from the time I was 12 years old until I was 25. That’s OVER HALF MY LIFE! They want to get you while your young, but smoking isn’t as ‘cool’ as an adult. It’s much ‘cooler’ to be able to pursue goals and do awesome things, most of these awesome things require the ability to breathe. Even though I love everything about smoking, from the smell, to the breaks, to the physical act of it – I  was able to quit “cold turkey” using these methods.

  1. Salt – Salt helps to cut down cravingsquickly. It’s also pretty easy to get a hold of wherever you find yourself. Part of the problem with addiction is your brain thinks it needs nicotine. So, when you quit, it’s trying to fill the gap for what it’s missing. This is why you also crave weird foods. After consuming anything, it takes it a minute to realize this isn’t what it’s trying to get a hold of.
  2. Chocolate – This is my favorite. Chocolate helps with pretty much all the symptoms and cravings. You can get a salty chocolate bar or a spicy chocolate bar to hit that craving with a combo fatality and increase the efficiency of this method. It can also be used to fill in that break time gap that most other methods don’t really fill (which gives a whole new meaning to the Kit-Kat theme ‘Give me a Break’). I would use a cigarette to have a break at work, or during a stressful situation. Now, I can still use the smoker’s excuse, but instead of actually smoking I go outside and eat a candy bar. Chocolate also activates the reward sensors of the brain so every time you do this its like a double high five to your soul. It also helps with headaches, and the desire to stab your boss in the eye with your ballpoint pen just for looking in your general direction.
  3. Mints – Mints help a lot with the habitual times of smoking a cigarette, such as in the car, after a meal and after sex. They also help with the desire to breathe in smoke. One of the things they don’t usually tell you about quitting, is it makes your lungs feel weird. It isn’t just headaches and frustration. Your lungs feel physically tight. Your body wants to soften the tar inside so it desires inhaling something that will help. I go for super-strong mints, such as Altoids or Ice Breakers. This is great during those times, like driving, where you’re used to your mouth being occupied and you are not distracted from how your body feels. It also means anytime you go anywhere your first impression is amazingly fresh breath, instead of ashtray mouth.
  4. Throat Lozenges – From after the first few days to the first few weeks, your body is getting rid of that aforementioned tar build-up. It feels like it dries up and comes out in disgusting, waxy chunks of Phlegm. This is one of the things you don’t hear people mention about the quitting process. Probably because the word, phlegm is even disgusting to think or say, let alone having the actual thing expelling thru your mouth. Your throat will be sore for a few days after the first few days of not smoking. It will pass. Lozenges as well as mints, help a lot with this. And yes, you can use the delicious cherry flavored ones your grandma always has laying around.
  5. Water – The faster you can get the toxins out of your system the faster you will be done with the headaches and irritation. Drinking plenty of water will help your body flush the toxins out quicker. After you’ve been smoke free for even just 2 days, your sense of taste and smell goes back to that of a non-smoker. So even tap water tastes like you’re drinking straight from the teat of a Goddess.
  6. Spicy Food – My whole life I hated spicy foods. I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. For me, eating things that were spicy just hurt. Until I quit smoking. Now that my taste buds are back to normal I can appreciate the layers of flavor. This helps with cravings. Because spicy foods are full of so many good things, such as antioxidants and vitamins, it takes your brain longer to recognize that it isn’t what you’re craving. It also works kinda like mints, in satisfying your desire to be kicked in the mouth with smoke, whether you’re eating Indian cuisine or drinking Sriracha straight from the bottle.
  7. Coffee – I’m going to mention this one last. Coffee helps with the desire to taste a cigarette in a weird sort of way, but it really doesn’t help at all with cravings. It can help with headaches, but it really can make cravings worse. Part of cravings are habitual dependencies – I used to love having a smoke with my coffee in the morning. Getting used to doing things you would normally do with a cigarette, without one, makes you feel really strong and capable of quitting.
  8. Beer – Enjoying a beer is a wonderful thing but just like coffee, it can make your cravings worse!
  9. Habits – Just remember that cigarette craving is a multifaceted addiction. Once you beat the nicotene (less than 7 days), the psychological battle begins.
  10. Hobbies – One of the habits is what to do with your hands. Pick up a hobby that occupies your hands and your mind.

Quitting is difficult. Bottom line. The cravings and symptoms are multifaceted which makes it hard to cover all the bases. It is possible to quit. Just remember pain is temporary. The discomfort is temporary, and don’t beat yourself up if you relapse. It’s easy to think, “I smoked so I failed already.” But that isn’t the case. It’s cumulative and progress is progress. With enough determination and support – You can be one of those highly respectable people who achieved their goal of quitting. Each person is different, but I hope this helps YOU with your individual struggle.

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