How to Really Stop Smoking This Time

If you are a smoker there is probably no single more important thing you can do to improve your health, extend your lifespan, ensure your ability to “keep-up” with friends and family, and to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, than to quit smoking.  We all know how bad it is for us, how it exponentially increases our risk of cancer and emphysema. And many of us are also aware that smoking is a major contributor to periodontal disease – the number one cause of tooth loss and now also known to be a common cause of heart attacks and other systemic issues as well.  So directly or indirectly cigarettes really are best described as “coffin nails”. But yet, many of us just can’t quit.

The reasons are many.  Addiction: tobacco is considered by many to be more addicting than heroin!  Stress: for a lot of us, the calming effect of tobacco is our go to stress control mechanism.  Without it we literally become lost. Weight control: weight gain is also a concern that keeps some people smoking.  But understanding what the issues are is one thing, handling the issues is definitely another thing entirely!

3 Ways to Quit

When it comes to actually getting the job done, stop smoking and stay stopped, you have a few choices.

  • Muscle through “cold-turkey”.  For some people this works, just “man-up” and “git-r done”!  The good news is that after 3-5 days the chemical addiction will be gone.  But, the two main problems with this approach are – first of all, most people just can’t do it. And secondly, most of those that do relapse.  You see, even though the chemical addiction is gone, the phycological ties are still there and unless you have established healthy alternatives for stress management and weight control, your chances of maintaining a smoke-free life are slim to none.
  • Drug assistance.  Of course, the pharmaceutical industry is always interested in getting in on another money maker.  And to be fair, this alternative certainly works for some people. But even if it does help, and you are willing to accept the possible side effects, the end result is actually not any better than with the hard core cold-turkey approach.  You are still left without a plan to handle life without your favorite “helper”.
  • Systematic plan for success.  With a little guidance and forethought, it is possible to formulate your own custom plan for success that will help you get through the urges, stick with your commitment, manage stress, control your weight, and get on with your new smoke free life.

7 Keys to Stopping for Good

There are seven critical keys to stopping that if followed virtually guarantee successfully breaking the habit.  Four that need to be done before you actually quit, and three to make sure it sticks. Here is a brief outline of what those are.

  1. Understand your habit.  Keep a diary of every cigarette smoked noting when, why, and what else you were doing at the time.
  2. Adjust your diet.  Eliminate acidic foods and those that often go with your smoking.
  3. Exercise.  Establish a daily exercise routine that compliments your current fitness level.
  4. Stress control.  Know and practice healthy stress management techniques.
  5. Stop.  Pick a day and make a written commitment to yourself and someone who cares about you to stop on that day.
  6. Battle plan.  Make a customized list of ways to both fight and avoid your smoking urges, as well as what to do when you lose a battle.
  7. Embrace the New You.  You are not the same person.  Living smoke free involves your whole life.  Learn what that means and start really living!

As a whole-health/wholistic dentist interested not only in helping my patients with their immediate tooth issues, but also with helping them address the more long term issues that can affect both teeth and general health, helping people quit smoking is one of the things at the top of my priority list.  Which is why I literally wrote a book about it. Based on these steps, The 7-Step Plan to Stop Smoking provides all the information and guidance needed to really quit once-and-for-all.  Just click HERE to request your free copy.

Dr. Lon Peckham provides comprehensive and wholistic dental care in Priest River, Idaho.  He is a consultant certified in Advanced Dental Implantology, as a Lifestyle Health Facilitator, leads a national dental study club for the acclaimed Dawson Academy, and is currently pursuing certification by the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine.  He helps patients and dentists successfully incorporate whole-health into their lives and practices.