Quitting smoking. It’s a short phrase but a tall order.
Everyone has their own way to do it, and many have tried and failed over and over again.
But experts who’ve seen the devastating health effects of the habit say it’s important not to give up, no matter how many times you’ve tried – because your very life may depend on succeeding.
We all know about the gum and the patch. Others like the cold turkey method.
But not everyone finds the time-tested methods to be effective.
There are alternatives that many believe are as effective as any offered by modern medicine.
Laser therapy is among the newest. It involves pointing a thin beam at specific areas around the face. For those who’ve been helped by it, it’s been effective. But many doctors blame that on the placebo effect.
Don’t tell that to Bryen Daly. He swears his one time $300 treatment ended his pack a day, 20-year habit.
“I haven’t thought about a cigarette consciously since,” he avers.
Joseph Piche of Omega Laser Therapy, who administered Daly’s case, claims he hears that all the time.
“Nine times out of ten my clients have just the one treatment. It’s very effective. Of all the clients I’ve treated so far, no one’s come back to me and said the treatment didn’t work. It’s that effective.”
Here’s a look at some alternate quit smoking methods that some swear helped them kick the habit.
What is it?: The use of a pinpointed laser on the skin and cells to stimulate certain points in the body believed connected to addictive centres.
Where is it used?: The beam is focused on your hands, ears, wrists, and even your nose. The treatment takes about 20-30 minutes.
Does it work?: Those who practice this type of therapy claim you only need to undergo one treatment for it to work. But there are no guarantees and laser proponents remind it only cures the physical addiction – not the mental cravings.
You still have to deal with that on your own.
What is it?: A deep relaxation technique that some believe can help you acquire the personal willpower to accomplish a goal.
How long does it take?: A lot depends on who’s administering the technique. Some practitioners claim it can be done in a few visits. Others insist it take a lot more.
Does it work?: It’s hard to say. Many swear the technique is the only thing that worked for them. Others contend it was an interesting experience but ultimately a waste of money.
Be careful to get a reputable practitioner, because there can be a lot of questionable people claiming to know how to practice effective hypnosis.
What is it?: A sort of old fashioned version of the laser. Tiny needles are inserted at strategic points in the skin and proponents claim it gradually helps reduce the craving for nicotine.
How long does it take?: Some swear you can be better in 2-3 weeks. Others maintain it takes longer, depending on the individual.
Does it work?: Once again, it depends. Acupuncture has been effective in treating pain and is an ancient Chinese technique that’s been around for centuries.
As in all these alternatives, those who think it worked for them are sure they couldn’t have done it without the help.
Others call it a waste of money that didn’t help them at all.
- In all cases, alternate practitioners warn it’s up to the smokers to keep away from the weed after the treatment, and avoid all the triggers that prompt them to want a cigarette. But remember, in many cases traditional medicine doesn’t recognize a lot of these methods, so it’s up to you whether to spend the money to try them.
In most cases, it’s not so much the technique as your own will power and determination that really turn the tide. Many experts suggest if you’re truly committed to stopping the habit, you’ll succeed no matter which method you choose.
But what if you want something a little more mainstream? Here’s some advice that won’t cost you a cent and could work just as well.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Practical Quit Smoking Advice
1. Make your car, home and office smoke-free. Make a list of pros and cons of smoking, in terms of how it affects your health (including your mental health), family, social life, and finances.
2. When a craving comes on that you feel you can’t ignore, try smoking only half the cigarette, or switch to a brand you don’t like. You may be less inclined to light up the next time around.
3. Try to delay the time between each cigarette as much as you possibly can. Only smoke the ‘must have’ cigarettes and try to drop the rest.
4. Chew gum, sugar-free candies, or low-fat, low-sugar snacks when having a craving.
5. Find out what it is that’s triggering your cravings. Find out which activities you link with smoking, for example: dealing with boredom, hunger, drinking alcohol or coffee. Avoid such triggers, as well as smoking environments.
6. If you normally have a cigarette in the morning, go for a walk or jog instead. Ditto for after meals. Changing your routine is crucial.
7. Drink non-alcoholic fluids, especially water.
8. Figure out non-smoking ways to cope with stress. Deep breathing is a good option. Try to keep a smoke diary, and when you have a craving, write it down. Describe how you’re feeling at the time.
9. Get support from friends and family, or join a support group.
10. Make note of a professional who can provide you with counselling should you need it, either by phone or in person. The Smokers Helpline, at 1-877-513-5333 is one support option.
Top 10 Courtesy Centre for Addiction and Mental Health