Complete psychological guide to quit smoking

  • Sep 14, 2023
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How to quit smoking

If you are one of the millions of people on this planet who are trying to quit smoking, admitting that you want to quit the habit and committing to the process is the first. Unfortunately, even if you really want a life without tobacco, many people find it difficult to quit. The main culprit is nicotine, a particularly addictive drug found in tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars.

For this reason, in this Psychology-Online article, we have made a guide to help you quit smoking and start living without smoke.

You may also like: How to combat anxiety about quitting smoking


  1. Importance of wanting to quit smoking
  2. Myths and truths about quitting smoking
  3. Withdrawal symptoms and how to deal with them
  4. First steps to quit smoking
  5. Identify and manage triggers
  6. Make a plan and follow it
  7. Lifestyle changes
  8. Exercise and mental health
  9. Short and long term goals
  10. Medical and therapeutic treatment

Importance of wanting to quit smoking.

One of the main causes of heart and lung diseases is smoking. Fortunately, many of the worst heart risks from smoking can be solve by leaving this habit.

However, It is essential to have the right motivation to quit tobacco, because although many say they want to give up this vice, when they become discouraged it is likely that they will relapse again.

Challenges and benefits of quitting the habit

Those who have tried to quit smoking find that the greatest difficulty is manage withdrawal symptoms What causes you to quit nicotine? Getting the body used to not receiving its daily doses of nicotine is a long process. Another challenge is avoid triggers that make smokers want to smoke, such as stress or drinking coffee.

However, quitting smoking has so many health benefits that it is worth the effort. Among these benefits, we can highlight that improves overall health and increases life expectancy. The risk of suffering from cardiorespiratory diseases is also reduced, but also alleviate the economic burden What does it mean to buy tobacco?

Myths and truths about quitting smoking.

There are many myths about quitting smoking, which in many cases the only thing they achieve is to discourage people from trying. Some of the most common are:

  • You will gain weight: Smoking speeds up your metabolism and suppresses your appetite to some extent, so when you quit smoking, you may be tempted to eat more.
  • Smoking relieves stress: Smoking actually increases anxiety and tension because it raises your heart rate.
  • Willpower is the best way to quit smoking: Quitting smoking involves facing withdrawal symptoms, so you may need help.

Past attempts are not failures, they are learning

The important thing is to keep in mind that even if you relapse once and you smoke a cigarette after a while, nothing stops you from starting over. Especially in periods of stress, it is normal for you to look for what has served you for so long to calm your nerves.

Take this moment as a learning experience and learn to avoid the circumstances that led you to return to the habit.

Difficulties and possibilities of quitting tobacco

On the one hand, nicotine is an addictive substance, so quitting it is a challenge in itself. But on the other hand, as a smoker you will also have to get used to living without tobacco-related routines, with whom you have probably been living for years.

Don't forget that, even if it costs, is it possible to leave. There are aids such as go to therapy, use Substitute products or have a support group, to help you quit smoking.

Withdrawal symptoms and how to deal with them.

After you quit smoking, you will still feel like it. Additionally, quitting nicotine can cause you to have withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling restless, irritable, frustrated or tired. Some people even difficult to sleep or concentrate.

Although with the passage of time will decrease, you can too actively fight these symptoms. For example, you can:

  • Talk to someone on the phone or in person for support.
  • Get some exercise, like going for a walk.
  • Keep your hands busy.
  • Go to another room or go outside to get some fresh air.
  • Use substitutes.

How the duration and intensity of the habit affect abstinence

When you have been smoking for a long time, the body gets used to receiving a certain amount of nicotine every so often throughout the day. So, getting the body used to the fact that it will no longer receive this substance can be a slow process that will take time.

If you find it difficult to face the situation, Remind yourself why you are quitting and that there is plenty of support available.

First steps to quit smoking.

If you have already decided that you want to quit smoking, below we provide you with some tips to get you off to a good start This process:

Choose a date to quit smoking

The first step is to choose a specific date to quit tobacco. The ideal is that choose a day within the same month, since setting a date far away in time may mean that you back out.

Create a list of reasons to quit tobacco

There is nothing more motivating than knowing why are you quitting smoking. Write a list of all the reasons that led you to make that decision, and read it whenever you need encouragement.

Inform friends and family about your decision

Communicating your intention to quit tobacco to your family and friends will make them becomes a reality. In addition, your loved ones will be an essential part of the process, as they will serve as unconditional support.

Identify and manage triggers.

The urge to smoke takes a long time to disappear, and for a while you will have to live with two types of longing for smoking:

  • The constant need, which usually improves several weeks after stopping.
  • The sudden need, which is usually triggered by something.

That “something” is known as a trigger., and it is important that you learn to identify them in order to control them.

Recognize your moments of greatest vulnerability

At the beginning of the process of quitting smoking, you will need pay attention to situations that trigger your desire to smoke, such as emotional or social triggers. The second step is to learn to manage them so that they do not become an obstacle.

Strategies to avoid common triggers

Keep triggers under control It is essential, so you will need to design a strategy for it. Being busy, talking to a friend or family member, changing your routine, listening to music or meditating, any method is good if it prevents you from picking up a cigarette again.

Make a plan and follow it.

To quit smoking you need to make a plan (set a date, create a list, discover triggers, etc.). But just as important is to follow it.

Alternatives to smoking in critical moments

Often, so common situations such as being with friends, a lot of work, having sex or even drinking coffee, are critical moments that make many people want to smoke.

Find something to do or take in those moments It may be just what you need to never pick up a cigarette again. Chewing gum, vaping, squeezing a stress ball, or doing some exercise can help.

How to get rid of cigarettes and clean the environment

Eliminate tobacco from your life, in addition will help keep your home and streets cleaner. Nicotine smoke stains the walls and fabrics of homes and, since the vast majority of cigarette butts end up on the floor, they also dirty the exterior.

Lifestyle changes.

In addition to the obvious change of not having to rely on tobacco on a daily basis, quitting smoking comes with other changes in people's lifestyle.

New diet and habits for a tobacco-free lifestyle

When you stop smoking, you will gradually recover your lung capacity, so you won't get so tired when do exercise. And, on the other hand, you will recover your sense of smell and taste, so you will be able to better appreciate the flavors of food.

Take advantage of improving your health, and incorporates a healthy diet and exercise routine, to follow a healthier lifestyle.

Oral and tactile strategies to avoid smoking

Many smokers miss the feeling of a cigarette in their hands and in their mouths. To combat this habit, it is best keep your hands busy with anything (pens, sensory toys, doing crafts, etc.), and entertaining the mouth with sugar-free gum or candy or with a vaper.

Exercise and mental health.

Many Studies show the relationship between physical exercise and mental health. Above all, it affects diseases such as depression, anxiety and anguish. Incorporate a physical activity in your daily life It will help you cope with the situations and challenges you face, without having to depend on tobacco.

Physical activities to combat the desire to smoke

He Exercise improves the anxiety that comes with quitting smoking. Among the best activities to combat the urge to smoke are:

  • Walk or run.
  • Go to the gym.
  • Do yoga.
  • Playing sports.

How exercise improves mental health during the process

Exercise is great for building your physique, losing weight and improving health. But even a walk of just 30 minutes can provide a series of additional benefits to your mental health when you are quitting smoking:

  • Releases feel-good hormones.
  • It makes you sleep better.
  • It improves concentration and attention.
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • You will be in a better mood.

Short and long term goals.

When you quit smoking, it is crucial that you put yourself Short-term goals to keep you motivated by achieving them early, such as stopping buying tobacco, starting to exercise, etc.

But you will still have to mark yourself Long-term goals, such as recovering lung capacity, being able to exercise at high intensity, etc.

Set realistic goals to quit smoking

Above all, the goals you set must be realistic. Otherwise, note that the The effort invested does not pay off, it will only serve to demotivate you., which can lead to smoking again.

Using the Savings Jar for Rewards and Motivation

One of the most effective motivators when it comes to quitting tobacco is money. Leaving the money that would be used to buy tobacco in a jar or box, with the goal of using it for something else (like a trip, buying a luxury item, etc.) is a great source of motivation.

Medical and therapeutic treatment.

When willpower and the support of loved ones are not enough, Going to the doctor is the correct alternative to get rid of smoking. There are several treatments available (some with a prescription) that can help with withdrawal symptoms and anxiety.

Medications and therapies available to quit smoking

In the market you can find medications with and without nicotine to try to quit smoking. Some medications work fighting the cravings for a cigarette, like BUPROPION (Zyban), while others focus on the withdrawal symptoms, as the VARENICLINE (CHANTIX).

Also exist smoking cessation therapies as replace nicotine of tobacco with gum, vapers, patches, pills or sprays, and reduce the dose.

How clinical psychology can support your efforts

Nicotine dependence is considered a mental disorder, so clinical psychology also It can be an asset to take into account when quitting tobacco.. Currently there is effective psychological methods to treat addiction disorders, in which cognitive and behavioral techniques.

There are many supports and techniques to quit smoking, so don't hesitate to ask for help from specialists if you need it.

This article is merely informative, at Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to quit smoking, we recommend that you enter our category of Addictions.

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