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April 19 2021

How to Quit Smoking: 8 Unusual Yet Effective Ways


 
Advertisements, graphic photos, names of toxic chemicals, taxes—they have all been used to convince people to stop smoking. Yet, the reality remains: a lot of people still have a tobacco addiction. In the Philippines, 23.8% of its citizens consume tobacco products—in the teen demographic aged 13–15, 16% use tobacco products, while in the aging population (65 and up), 29.7% of men and 8.6% of women smoke.
 
Tobacco use is the cause of several cardiovascular and respiratory ailments. Most of all, it is heavily linked to lung damage and cancer. In fact, tobacco-related diseases lead to the death of 110,000 Filipinos annually. Tobacco and smoke have a mortality rate of 16.6% and 18.6%, respectively.
 
The Negative Effects of Smoking
 
Smoking leads to complications in different parts of the body. It increases the risk for pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, and throat cancer, among other types of cancer. In addition, smoking is detrimental to the circulatory system, reproductive system, dental health, vision, and skin.
 
Despite these effects, people have difficulty quitting. According to the American Cancer Society, “About two (2) out of three (3) of smokers say they want to quit, and about half try to quit each year.” However, only 8% succeed.
 
These numbers illustrate the vicious cycle of nicotine addiction. Every puff of a cigarette triggers dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine, being the “feel-good hormone,” makes a person feel rewarded until the action is reinforced. Once this happens, a person may find it difficult to stop smoking.
 

8 Unusual Yet Effective Ways of Quitting Smoking

The adverse effects of cigarette smoking are completely avoidable. Instead of going through the grueling experience of lung cancer treatment, it is better to endure the rigors of dropping the smoking habit altogether. Here are eight (8) unusual ways to do it:
 

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture targets pressure points in the body to suppress cravings. For smoking cessation, the pressure points are found on the ears. Using needles, these pressure points are poked with precision to help a person quit smoking.
 
A study found that acupuncture reduced the consumption of participants by 14 cigarettes per day. The participants also reported that tobacco did not taste as good, and their cravings dwindled.
 

2. Acupressure

For people who do not want to deal with needles, acupressure is the best alternative. In acupressure, practitioners use fingers, palms, elbows, or feet on the pressure points instead of needles. It can involve massaging, stretching, and special devices.
 

3. Moxibustion

Moxibustion is another type of traditional medicine originating from China. Moxa is shaped like a cone made up of dried mugwort plant. The cones can be directly placed on the skin, on top of needles, or on a bed of salt or garlic. A practitioner burns the cones on top of pressure points to stimulate blood movement and boost the immune system.
 
According to a study, combining acupuncture, acupressure, and moxibustion can lead to long-term smoking cessation compared to using acupuncture alone.
 

4. Hypnosis

Contrary to its media interpretation, hypnosis is simply a different kind of consciousness. While it does look like a hypnotized person is in a trance, they remain conscious. The theory is that people believe what they are told during a state of hypnosis.
 
Spiegel’s method of using mantras is famous in treatments against smoking. Patients have to repeat three ideas: “1) smoking is a poison for your body; 2) you need your body to live; 3) to the extent that you want to live, you owe your body respect and protection.” They can also practice self-hypnosis so that the patient can affirm themselves with these mantras as much as possible.
 

5. Start a Journal

Journaling is an effective way to track progress, feelings, motivations, and plans. By having a tangible thing to jot down, goals can seem a little more attainable. A journal helps in finding a pattern, giving way for seeing points of improvement. It is also a reminder of a person's plans and reasons why they are quitting.
 
Keeping a journal helps manage emotions. It provides a healthy way of self-expression to prevent a person from turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as reaching for a cigarette.
 

6. Tell Someone Who Has Successfully Quit Smoking

One way to be committed to a goal is to tell someone who has succeeded in that area. In this case, it would be someone who has quit smoking. Moreover, it should be someone whose opinion they care about. This way, they will care about what the other person thinks of them. As a result, they become more motivated, accountable, and committed to reach their goal.
 

7. Tell Family, Friends, and Everyone Who Cares

Other people knowing about it can help call out any attempt at lighting a stick. When the person trying to quit craves a cigarette or attempts to smoke, they can help resist tobacco cravings. Friends and family can keep an eye on the person trying to sneak in a few puffs.
 

8. Enforcing Rewards

Since it all began with reinforcement, it could also end with reinforcement, sans the nicotine. A person can have a reward for every achievement during the whole process of quitting. For example, they can treat themselves to their favorite meal for going a day without smoking. This way, they have other ways to get a dopamine boost.
 

One of These Unusual Ways Could Be the Answer

Quitting any type of addiction can feel like a rollercoaster ride. The trick is to start small—or even out-of-the-box. The goal needs to be clear, though: to say goodbye to that harmful stick.
 
Reach out to people who can help you achieve this goal. Feel free to contact Makati Medical Center for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of diseases related to smoking and other health concerns.