Quitting cigarettes is difficult in the first place but quitting cold turkey can be especially daunting because of severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It is also not the right approach for everyone but quitting nicotine altogether can help the body come out of all the ill effects that smoking leaves on it. Years of smoking increases the deterioration of health, risk of diseases, and even cancers.
According to the American Cancer Society, each year smoking causes 1 out of 5 deaths due to cancer. So, getting it over and done with for once and all does have an appeal.
In simple terms, quit cold turkey meaning is simply to stop smoking cigarettes and not use any other nicotine aids such as patches or gums as well. Cold turkey means quitting all forms of nicotine full stop.
Best Way to Quit Smoking Cigarettes Cold Turkey
It would be better to say that there is the best way for everyone to quit cold turkey but it varies from person to person. To quit smoking cold turkey, here are the steps you should follow:
1. Get in the Right Mindset
Smoking is an addiction, plain and simple. For quitting effectively, you should be firm in your decision to do so. You have to stop thinking that one drag would not harm me. You have to stop completely and that needs a strong mind.
2. Prepare for Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine is highly addictive and what happens when u stop smoking suddenly is that you can experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Preparing for this phase beforehand can help. Make plans with family and friends, read a book, start a project or anything else to keep your mind off smoking. Exercising can help and will prevent weight gain after you stop smoking.
3. Know your Smoking Triggers
It is fundamental for you to understand what makes you pick up that cigarette in the first place. It can be some kind of physical, emotional, or psychological trigger. Understanding that trigger and coming up with strategies to avoid the trigger (like chewing up gum, avoiding trigger places, drinking water, staying away from tea and coffee) can ease the process of quitting cold turkey.
Here seeking out professional support can help as well. You can become part of some treatment centers and use their specialized resources as well.
Pros and Cons of Quitting Cold Turkey
Doing it alone does have certain advantages like it is free, you become more confident in your abilities, it takes lesser time than going to counseling or keeping up with doctor appointments and help you understand yourself better.
On the other hand, there are certain disadvantages of doing it cold turkey as well like going through severe withdrawal symptoms, needing a medical professional’s help at some point, or even have to take some sort of drugs to deal with withdrawal symptoms. You need a lot of willpower to quit smoking this way.
Physical Side Effects of Quitting Smoking
Withdrawal symptoms are a reality of this process but you do not have to worry. Instead, educate yourself on how long does nicotine withdrawals last and what a typical nicotine withdrawal symptoms timeline looks like. These symptoms can include:
- Increased appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Weight changes
Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey Timeline
Here is how quitting cold turkey helps your body.
|Time After Quitting||Potential Health Benefits|
|20 minutes||The pulse rate becomes normal|
|8 hours||Nicotine concentrations drop to 90 percent and carbon monoxide levels drop|
|24 hours||Lungs begin to clear of tar and other debris|
|48 hours||All traces of nicotine are removed from the body|
|72 hours||Increased energy levels and easier to breathe|
|2-12 weeks||Blood circulation improves|
|1 month||Skin becomes fresher and less gray|
|3-9 months||Reduced coughing and wheezing|
|1 year||The risk of heart attack becomes half|
|10 years||The risk of lung cancer becomes half than a person who smokes|
|15 years||The risk of heart attack becomes similar to a person who never smoked|
This way of quitting cigarette smoking is not for everyone. The withdrawal symptoms are severe especially if you are a chain smoker or have smoked for a long time.
So, it becomes harder to quit cold turkey. But, do not be disappointed, with determination and preparation anyone can do it. An easy way to quit might be to set a date and then follow through with your plan.
Believe in yourself and take the first step. You can quit smoking!