5 Tips to Quit Smoking

1. Drink Water! It seems that I am telling my patients to drink water to solve just about every problem. But it’s true, drinking water is helpful in so many health issues. The reason why drinking water is helpful in quitting smoking is because experts say the average “crave” time is 15 seconds. If you drink a glass of water very slowly, (at least 15 seconds worth), then your craving should be gone by the time you’re finished. You’ve achieved two good things: 1. You’ve hydrated yourself- most of us do NOT drink enough water, and 2. you’ve overcome your craving!

2. Chew mints. The taste of menthol or peppermint makes a smoker’s mouth feel cool, fresh, and clean, which tricks the brain into feeling less desire for that hot intake of smoke. Stash mints everywhere! Around the house, at work, in your car, in your purse, and in your pockets (coats). If you really want to be healthy, you could chew on fresh, real mint. Not only will it keep your mouth fresh AND busy, but mint is also renown for its health benefits, like easing upset stomach, slowing the growth of bacteria and fungi, and even helps fight colon, skin and lung cancer.

3. Chew gum. Part of smoking is the oral fixation- always wanting to put something in your mouth. Gum not only satisfies the oral stimulation by keeping the mouth busy, but it also keeps your mouth fresh which makes you less inclined to inhale a cigarette that will leave you with hot, icky breath. Experts say that sugarless mint-flavored gum works just as well, if not better than chewing nicotine gum. Nicotine is NOT a harmless drug. There is growing concern that long-term use of nicotine may contribute to cancer. It also affects how our bodies function- it puts stress on the heart and increases blood pressure.

4. Eat red or purple grapes. Not only is chewing grapes another substitute oral-stimulation technique, but natural chemicals and antioxidants in grapes work to relieve cravings, says addiction expert Susan Gayle. One of these is Resveratrol. Resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes. It is the antibody that grapes produce when they are fighting disease, fungi or injury. These antibodies repair cells, reduce inflammation, and act as antioxidants in reversing the aging process. Free radicals damage healthy cells, which is what causes skin to age. Resveratrol not only combats the free radicals but repairs the damaged cells.

5. Use a calendar. Experts say it takes 21 days for a new thought pattern to become automatic, which is what is required to eliminate a habit. Technically, 3 weeks without smoking is long enough to make this new thought pattern stick! However, as any smoker who has tried to quit can tell you, the first few days are the hardest. After that, cravings weaken and longer periods go by without any cravings, allowing you to feel stronger and more confident the more time passes without a craving. 

Put a calendar where you can see it, and mark off each day you have gone without a cigarette. Reward yourself at the end of the 1st and 2nd weeks with something you really want: a new shirt or tickets to a game or concert. At the end of the 3rd week, do something significant to commemorate the occasion, such as a fine dinner, a day at the spa, or even a weekend get-away!