- Publish Date
- Thursday, 7 September 2017, 9:00AM
Around one in six or 17 percent of adults currently smoke in New Zealand, 18 percent of men and 15 percent of females. The New Zealand Government collected 1.7 billion dollars from taxes on tobacco products last year alone.
Approximately 1 billion people around the world are smokers. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 5 million people a year die prematurely as a result of smoking.
5 million people are dying from smoking a year… That’s around 14,000 people a day, dying from smoking-related diseases.
According to the CDC, (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention), during 2011 tobacco killed 11 times more Americans than all illegal drugs combined (443,690 versus 40,239). Smoking kills more than 50% of all smokers, mainly from cancer, and even though it’s the single largest avoidable risk of premature death, there are approximately 30 million new smokers a year, as estimated by scientists.
The average smoker lives ten years less than a non-smoker and is much more likely to contract many different, horrible diseases. The problem is that quitting smoking is acknowledged to be as hard as quitting heroin.
I was a pack a day plus smoker for over ten years and tried everything to break free of my habit. Hypnotherapy was the only thing that helped me quit without feeling like I was going crazy. My best friend who I started smoking with in our early teens, recently died of lung cancer. I went back to the states before she passed away to say goodbye and was shocked to see that she was still smoking.
She weighed 35 kilos at 5’7 and watching her puff away at the very thing that was killing her was hard to take. It was a lightbulb moment for me though in how powerful the addiction to nicotine is and made me more determined than ever to help as many people as I can break free of horrible death grip smoking can have on you.
So how do you quit without withdrawals driving you insane?
1. Commit to quitting smoking and start to see yourself as a non-smoker
Set a date for when you will stop smoking so you can get prepared for it. Write out a quit smoking contract and sign it to make it official. You also need to change your identity as a smoker. There are certain things you don’t do. Smoking needs to become one of them. Say to yourself “My name is ____________, and I don’t smoke!” Say this over and over. Picture a healthier, happier future version of you that is a non-smoker.
2. Try the Bring It On Technique
I believe the most important skill you need to quit smoking permanently, is to learn how to manage your cravings to smoke. When we give in, to our unhealthy desires, we stay on the addiction merry-go-round. Just because you have an urge to do something, it doesn’t mean you should act on it.
- Wait until you are craving a cigarette.
- Take a deep breath and ask that desire to grow as quickly as possible. Continue to breathe deeply as you focus on the craving growing stronger and multiplying throughout your body.
- Now imagine smoking three cigarettes at once, and as soon as you finish those, imagine doing it again. Taste the acetone, ammonia, arsenic, butane, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, insecticide, lead and tar you're pulling into your lungs. Really feel the 7,000 chemicals, which at least 70 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer - burning your tongue, your throat, and your lungs.
- Imagine indulging your craving until you're sick… The horrible taste in your mouth, the smoke singeing your throat and your lungs. Feel your throat and lungs constricting, your chest hurting as your muscles spasm in protest of the poison you're sucking into your lungs. Your body racked with a coughing fit.
- Tell yourself you can smoke, but you're going to go hard. Feel the dizziness, your head spinning, and wave of nausea washing over you. Remember how you felt when you first smoked, how you felt lightheaded, your body breaking out in a cold sweat just like before you get sick. Feel how disappointed you would feel if you had a cigarette, how disappointed the people that care about you would be.
- Within a few minutes, your desire to smoke will vanish or be greatly reduced, and instead, you'll feel calm and accepting of your desire to smoke and know you will be able to handle the feelings that come up when you are craving a cigarette. This works with anything you are craving but trying not to have, like chocolate, alcohol, and junk food…
3. Break up with smoking
Breaking up is hard to do… Now most of you have had a long relationship with cigarettes. You have spent a lot of time together, good and bad. You celebrate with smoking, soothe yourself when stressed, pass the time and reward yourself with them.
You’re basically married to cigarettes. You pay for them, live with them and spend a lot of time with them. Some relationships are healthier than others, and your relationship with smoking is an abusive one.
Cigarettes are the abusive partner who makes you feel good occasionally but at the same time is toxic and bad for you. When you break up, you miss them. You feel like something is missing, you toss and turn at night, and you think about them all the time. But this is normal in a breakup. It takes time to get over them.
Think of cigarettes like an abusive ex who was terrible for your health, lowered your confidence, and stole your money. You were the only one that gave in your relationship, and the only thing they ever did for you is to give you something to do with your hands.
You’re going to feel the craving for their company but you know it’s not worth it. Remember when you feel this way, you need to imagine standing up to them and telling them to f off, and that they're going to have to find someone else to manipulate and bully. By doing this the hold they have on you will become weaker.
In the beginning, it’s all consuming. But as time goes on, you think about them less and less. One day you wake up, and you realize you haven’t thought about them at all in a long time. When you see other people smoking, you think “Thank god that’s not me!” When you look back, years later, it will seem like another life.
If you slip up and have a cigarette, think of it like sleeping with your asshat ex. Just because you were with them once, doesn’t mean you should get back together. Let it strengthen your resolve to never hang out with them again!
4. Get supplements to help you with the process
I do believe that Vitamin B-3 (Niacin or Niacinamide) is one of the most important supplements you can take when it comes to treating addiction. Nicotine and niacin occupy the same receptors in the brain, which is why it is so helpful in reducing nicotine cravings. Vitamin B-3 was part of the original AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) protocol, and they had an 80 percent success rate with helping people get sober when B-3 was recommended.
I also highly recommend taking Chromium Polynicotinate or GTF Chromium to regulate your blood sugar when you quit. When you tried quitting smoking before, did you feel anxious, achy, tired, irritable and hungrier than usual? Did you crave sweets more than normal, feel slightly dizzy, foggy-headed or even slightly confused? If you did, you were likely experiencing low blood sugar symptoms.
That’s because every cigarette you smoke triggers a small blood sugar release. When you quit smoking, your blood sugar can become lower than before since you are no longer having that blood sugar boost from smoking. Taking chromium is an excellent way to regulate your blood sugar while keeping yourself feeling balanced and calm while quitting smoking.
Get some chewable Vitamin C. Suck on a chewable vitamin C tablet every time you want a cigarette. Studies have found taking Vitamin C is as effective as nicotine replacement drugs for cravings. Smokers are found to have below average levels of Vitamin C – in a pack a day smoker as much as 40 percent less than a non-smoker. Here’s a link for more on the supplements I recommend.
5. Get help
I believe hypnotherapy is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking. As I mentioned, I was a pack-a-day-plus smoker for over ten years. I quit many times but always found it a massive struggle and would find myself back puffing away before long. I tried patches, gum and prescription medication and it was just one session of hypnotherapy that finally broke the spell cigarettes seemed to have over me.
Here is a free quit smoking hypnosis video on youtube you can watch to help you get started.
Or check out my book The Smoking Cure: How To Quit Smoking Without Feeling Like Sh*t