Finally non-smoker stop smoking – tips, info and benefits

Quitting Smoking: Finally become a non-smoker: Tips & Info Photo: imago images / Panthermedia

Stop smoking: Finally become a non-smoker: Tips& Info Photo: imago images / Panthermedia

Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or something else, many people would like to finally quit smoking. But which methods work particularly well and how do you survive the withdrawal symptoms? You can read about it here.

Quitting smoking is difficult – after all, it’s an addiction. Although tobacco and cigarettes are legal, your body gets used to the consumption of nicotine. On the one hand, a physical dependence develops, but on the other hand, smoking simply becomes a habit and a means of relaxation.

In a 2014 survey, 66 percent of smokers said they had Have already tried one or more times to stop smoking. Another 12 percent had planned to quit. With many it does not work directly in the first attempt. There are many reasons for this, but the most common is often habit: smoking is something many simply miss in some situations.

There are many good reasons to stop smoking and meanwhile many proven methods that support you in doing so. But even if it doesn’t work the first time you try: don’t give up. It often takes several attempts before you are finally smoke-free. But it’s worth it!

In this article you will read:

Quit smoking – but how? Methods at a glance

The will is the most important thing – if you have it, you can manage to stop smoking. For family and friends: pressure and coaxing are useless. Addictive behavior is not rational, even if you do not smoke.

The classic smoking cessation method is certainly radical withdrawal: from now on, you stop smoking and never start again. However, this method requires a great deal of willpower and stamina.

If you find it difficult to quit all of a sudden and on your own, try one of these methods:

Reduce tobacco consumption: Slow smoking cessation

You can try to smoke a little less each day and eventually give it up completely. For some people, this method works because they are Gradually break the habit of smoking. The British National Institute for Health Research has tested to what extent the gradual reduction in combination with sport leads to completely stop smoking. After all, 14% of the test subjects were non-smokers after 4 to 8 weeks, in contrast to 4% from the control group who did not slowly reduce consumption. Nevertheless, the method can lead to self-deception and the nicotine addiction remains for the time being.

Together with others you can stop smoking

You can team up with friends, family members or colleagues and quit smoking collectively. Or you can look for a smoke-free program in your area. Often such programs are accompanied by behavioral therapy, so you can get valuable tips and motivation right away. Stopping smoking in a group provides for helpful social pressure, support and understanding. Comparison of different studies suggests that behavioral therapy in a group promises a slightly higher success than being on your own. Such offers are partly financed by the health insurance.

Quit smoking with nicotine replacement products

First of all, you have to break the habit of smoking and then slowly get rid of the nicotine addiction – this is what nicotine replacement products promise. Chewing gum, patches, lozenges or sprays make it easier to stop smoking. You give off nicotine and thus alleviate withdrawal symptoms. A study by Queen Mary University of London showed that 9.9 percent of people in a test group were abstinent from smoking after a year of using nicotine replacement products. However, you have to pay for the products yourself and they are often taboo if you have heart disease or other health problems.

Become a non-smoker with e-cigarettes?

For a few years now, e-cigarettes have been considered the way to quit smoking cigarettes. They can indeed help you smoke less and thus take in less nicotine. So they are suitable for a first step in smoking cessation. The Queen Mary University of London study also shows that after one year 18 percent of people smoke-free who replaced traditional cigarettes with e-cigarettes. However, the test subjects also complained of irritation in the oral cavity. Since some potentially harmful ingredients of e-cigarettes have not yet been sufficiently tested, this method should only serve as a transition before you stop smoking completely.

Acupuncture and hypnosis for nicotine withdrawal

Both methods can bring you motivation and perseverance. However, their benefits have not been sufficiently scientifically proven. Studies suggest that hypnotherapies can be more effective than nicotine replacement medications. However, there are many dubious and overpriced providers in this area. Find out about reliable offers, for example, from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum).

Withdrawal and side effects when you stop smoking

Physical nicotine withdrawal lasts a total of 4 to 6 weeks. However, the worst withdrawal symptoms should noticeably diminish after just a few days. Often Smokers’ fear of withdrawal More stressful than actually quitting smoking because the symptoms are overestimated. Nevertheless, you should not talk down to them, of course, because everyone reacts differently to nicotine withdrawal.

With the following Withdrawal symptoms you have to reckon with when you stop smoking:

  • Strong desire to smoke
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability, nervousness, aggressiveness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Restlessness, decreased ability to concentrate
  • Increased appetite (and thus possible weight gain)

Above all, many people are afraid of gaining weight. Studies have shown: Most former smokers (71%) gain a maximum of 10 kg in the first year after quitting smoking, 16 % even lose weight. 5 to 10 kg more on the scale may seem daunting to some. Smoking is more dangerous than being overweight, so it’s worth quitting nicotine even if you end up with a few extra pounds on your hips.

Nicotine withdrawal: Tips against withdrawal symptoms

In general: exercise helps against nervousness and restlessness, distracts the head and the hands. Whether it’s an intense workout or a calming walk through nature, sports and exercise will help you quit smoking.

These tips can also be useful:

  • MotivationBe clear about why you want to quit smoking. Remind yourself again and again, for example by writing down your motivation or printing it out and hanging it up in your home.
  • Don’t put it offThrow away all remaining cigarettes, give up the famous "last cigarette" and stop smoking immediately. Also remove ashtrays – at home and at work.
  • Smokers avoid: In the first 10 days, the desire to smoke is often still particularly strong. Therefore, avoid other smokers as much as possible, even if it is difficult. It will make your withdrawal much easier.
  • Support: Inform friends, family and colleagues that you want to stop smoking. Ask for understanding and support and make it clear that no one should offer you a cigarette anymore.
  • Healthy snacksIf you feel an increased appetite or start eating out of boredom, make sure there are enough fruits and vegetables in the house. Reach for raw foods instead of chips and chocolate to prevent weight gain.
  • New habits: If you usually have a particularly strong desire for a cigarette after a meal, adopt new habits. For example, brush your teeth directly, chew gum or drink a cup of coffee.
  • New environmentIf you have the opportunity, quit smoking while on vacation. You are in a new environment, there are no familiar occasions that invite you to smoke and the stressful everyday life is far away.
  • Relaxation: Plan enough time for relaxation and rest, then smoking cessation will be easier. Learn relaxation exercises and meditate to combat nervousness.
  • DistractionsSmoking out of habit and boredom – many people know this. Distract yourself, for example with sports. Discover new or long forgotten hobbies. Society can help, too, as long as no one there tries to persuade you to smoke.
  • Reward: Plan a reward that you can look forward to. For example, if you are smoke-free after 3 months, treat yourself to a trip or short vacation from the money you save. Or schedule several small rewards such as a trip to the movies or a day at the spa.

This is what happens to the body when you stop smoking

Most people know that smoking is unhealthy. The German Cancer Research Center estimates that more than 120.000 people die as a result of smoking. On average, smokers shorten their lives by 10 years compared to people who have never smoked. Toxic nicotine affects almost every organ, but especially the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

The "smoke-free" information portal of the German Federal Center for Health Education highlights the health benefits of quitting smoking:

  • After 20 minutes: blood pressure and pulse normalize
  • After 12 hoursThe carbon monoxide level in the blood is reduced, the organs are better supplied with oxygen again.
  • After 2 daysAfter this short time, your sense of smell and taste will improve.
  • After 2-12 weeksYour circulation will stabilize and your lung function will improve noticeably.
  • After 1-9 monthsThe lungs are gradually cleansed, as they are. Cough and shortness of breath decrease, sinuses are clearer. The risk of infections decreases.
  • After 1 year: The risk of coronary heart disease is now only half that of a smoker.
  • After 5 years: The risk of cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus is reduced by 50 percent. The risk of stroke is the same as for non-smokers.
  • After 10 years: The risk of developing lung cancer is reduced by 50%.
  • After 15 years: The risk of heart attack and other coronary heart diseases is as high as for a non-smoker.

There is also the financial aspect. Those who smoke about 10 cigarettes a day, spends around 100 euros a month on smoking.

Appearance is also affected. If you quit smoking, Recovered skin, because it is better supplied with blood and appears less pale. Instead, the skin often appears younger and more even. Hands and teeth also look better after quitting smoking: The discoloration caused by tar recedes.

You can also find all the health benefits again clearly in our infographic:

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