Tapering Off Method
When a person quits smoking by tapering off, he/she reduces the number of cigarettes smoked little by little over a period of time. Also, he/she may switch brands by gradually going from a brand that is high in nicotine to one that is lower and lower. One day he/she is not smoking anymore.
Some people who taper off see a doctor. The doctor may prescribe either nicotine chewing gum or a patch. Both work the same way to decrease the amount of nicotine in the person's system. With nicotine gum, the smoker chews it whenever he/she feels the desire to smoke. Over time he/she chews fewer and fewer pieces of gum and feels less desire for a cigarette.
The nicotine patch is placed on a smoker's skin by a doctor.
It releases a continuous amount of nicotine through the skin into the bloodstream. Over a period of time, the doctor changes the patch to smaller and smaller ones. Eventually it is removed. If a smoker continues to smoke with either the nicotine patch or chewing gum, he/she could get very sick or even die from too much nicotine in the body.
Whatever method a person chooses to quit, he/she will probably feel bad during the first week or two of quitting. The first 2 or 3 days are the worst. This is the time when the body is getting rid of the nicotine.
People who quit can expect to have headaches, dry mouth, a cough, and trouble sleeping. They may feel nervous, irritable or in a bad mood, depressed, tired, and hungry. They need to drink a lot of water and fruit juices, especially during the first week of quitting. They should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, chew sugarless gum and toothpicks, and suck on cough drops and hard candies. They need to stay busy by exercising, getting new hobbies, and visiting nonsmoking friends and relatives. Above all, they should avoid foods and situations that remind them of smoking. For example, many people find it helpful not to drink alcohol or coffee or hang out in bars (See the list of nicotine withdrawal symptoms on the right.).
It is natural to gain weight when quitting smoking. On the average, people gain five pounds. To prevent weight gain and help fight the desire to smoke, people must exercise and eat a low fat/low sugar diet. It does not mean dieting. (See preventing weight gain on the right)
Walking just 30 minutes each day is something that almost everyone can do. People should see their doctor to make a safe exercise plan.
Practicing deep breathing or meditation helps people to stay smoke free. It relaxes them. It can be done almost any where or any time. When they feel that strong desire for a cigarette, they sit in a comfortable position or lie down on their back. If it is possible, they should remove their shoes, eyeglasses, and any tight clothing. They then breathe in through the nose saying the word "calm" to themselves and slowly breathe out saying "relax." They should be breathing through their diaphragm. The diaphragm is located below the ribs and above the belly button. It fills with air when we inhale and moves outward. When we exhale, it releases air and moves inward.
People begin meditation by practicing deep breathing for ten full breaths. To get more relaxed, they can increase the number of breaths and length of time they meditate. This should be done gradually or little by little.
Within weeks of quitting, ex-smokers start to feel much better. Their senses of taste and smell return. Their cough goes away. They have more energy. They get rid of bad breath and the smoky smell on their clothes and in their hair. They have improved their chances of a longer, healthier life.