Health is among the main reasons motivating people to quit smoking. A study cited by the National Cancer Institute highlighted that quitting smoking can be very beneficial for your health, even improving survival rates if you’re diagnosed with lung cancer. The researchers found out that quitting smoking does not just reduce one’s risk of getting chronic conditions but also improves one’s chances of surviving severe illnesses.
However, the study also showed that smokers don’t experience a linear quitting process. Though half of the patients quit after the cancer diagnosis, the researchers found that some participants who stopped smoking resumed their habit after a few months. These relapses can be pretty common, but there are strategies that can help you avoid falling back into the habit.
Why Relapses Happen to Former Smokers
Relapses commonly occur during the first few weeks of quitting smoking attempts. Many people experience intense withdrawal symptoms within these weeks, which can increase their urges to smoke cigarettes for relief. These withdrawal symptoms include irritability, restlessness, lack of focus, sleep troubles, and anxiousness. Unfortunately, you will also experience strong cravings to smoke as you try to break the habit of using cigarettes regularly.
However, relapses may also occur because of negative thoughts and self-talk. Verywell Mind points out that smoking relapses may happen when you criticize yourself for your actions and experiences as you quit smoking cigarettes. You may believe you are too weak to quit smoking, which can cause you to lose motivation and relapse. Relapses can also occur due to overconfidence. You might think you can handle just one cigarette and get back on track the next day, only to achieve the opposite result. Thus, it’s essential to address withdrawal symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors that may hinder your tobacco-free lifestyle.
Strategies That Can Help Prevent Relapses
If you frequently encounter negative thoughts and emotions about your journey of quitting smoking, behavioral treatments may help you avoid relapses.
You can address these thoughts and emotions through cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy teaches you how to overcome beliefs that trigger your urges to use cigarettes and equips you with skills to help you fully recover. Through this treatment, you can develop healthier coping mechanisms and avoid falling back into your old smoking habit. Another treatment is motivational interviewing, which can boost your readiness to change your habits for good. A therapist will increase your confidence to quit smoking and help you create a plan for change to prevent any relapses during your journey.
Nicotine replacement therapy
It’s difficult to stop using cigarettes because you’ll experience intense cravings once you attempt to quit. Rather than giving in to the temptation, you can manage and reduce the cravings over time through nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
You can get a prescription for the Nicotrol nasal spray, which is one of the products that the FDA approved for treating tobacco dependence. Your dosage for this product will depend on your regular cigarette usage. Then, you’ll gradually lower your nasal spray usage once you get less cravings for cigarettes. You can also buy On! nicotine pouches online, which are renowned for being very accessible NRT products. These tobacco-free pouches also come in fun flavors like coffee, citrus, and cinnamon, allowing you to have a smooth and enjoyable experience while you’re managing your cravings. Through these products, you can slowly adjust to your new lifestyle and successfully end your habit of using cigarettes.
Healthy lifestyle practices
You’re more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms and feel the urge to use cigarettes, especially if you have unhealthy lifestyle practices.
One of the ways to prevent relapses is to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Our article entitled ‘10 Amazing Health Benefits of Sleeping’ emphasized that stress is associated with sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, stress can increase anxiety, irritability, and anger. As a result, you may feel the urge to alleviate these feelings through smoking. Thus, you need to avoid stress as well as the negative emotions associated with it by getting about eight hours of sleep every night.
Relapses may be common, but it’s possible to avoid them. You have to be mindful of your triggers and behaviors to ensure that you can stop yourself from using cigarettes again.