While smoking is on a steady decline, with many U.S. smokers have managed to kick the habit, the statistics are still very worrying, and the habit is still difficult to conquer. As reported by the CDC, almost 40 million U.S. adults are still smoking, alongside 4.7 million middle and high school students who use nicotine-based products.
We know smoking is extremely dangerous and damaging to our health. In our past article Here’s What You Consume Each Time You Smoke’, we delved into some of the specific issues smoking can lead to –– including strokes, heart disease, diabetes, and, of course, lung disease. Despite the evidence, however, many still find it difficult to quit the habit. More often than not, in fact, one substance or habit is simply replaced by another. However, the key is that this substitute doesn’t have to come with the same risk to health or wellbeing.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at five helpful alternative options for those who are trying to quit smoking.
1. Home Remedies
There are many accessible natural remedies recommended to assist the journey to become smoke-free. In many cases, these are also particularly affordable ways to establish a potential solution. To give one example, black pepper essential oil has produced some promising results in reducing cravings and is backed by medical research (unlike some other remedies). Smokers use a tissue with a couple of drops of oil and inhale for two minutes each time they experience a craving. Another option is St John’s Wort. Commonly used as an anti-depressant, this herb has shown encouraging efficacy when used during smoking cessation.
2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Arguably the most popular choice for those trying to quit, using a nicotine replacement product is an effective way to stem cravings. NRT products provide a nicotine hit allowing you to steadily wean yourself off smoking tobacco –– or at least establish a new preference that doesn’t involve tobacco or some of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
This method has primarily been associated with gum and patches in the past, but a fresh alternative of pouches is becoming popular as well. Online NRT resource Prilla notes that these handy pouches come in a variety of flavors, which makes them pleasant for users, rather than just functional. As of now, you can commonly find these products in mint, citrus, cinnamon, and even coffee flavors. And on a similar note, FDA-approved lozenges are also available (and many are safe to use in conjunction with other NRT products with the right medical advice).
Hypnosis is considered to be a safe and effective treatment towards quitting smoking, though it should be carried out by a trained professional or therapist. It’s been reported that hypnotherapy is slightly more successful than behavioral counseling, though this may depend on the individual.
It’s also important to note that we’re not talking about movie-style, swinging stopwatch hypnosis. It’s more of a psychological process wherein a hypnotist might, for example, train you to get into the mindset of being on a long train ride (where smoking simply isn’t allowed) during your everyday life.
4. Acupressure & Acupuncture
Both acupressure and acupuncture have aided people during the process of quitting smoking. Neither discipline has any scientific basis, but both are widely used to treat a variety of health conditions. Acupressure is based on applying pressure to specific points on the body; the same general approach is used with acupuncture, but instead of manual pressure, fine needles are inserted on these specific points (which lie along certain energy lines). Although there is, again, a lack of scientific evidence, these treatments are very safe and risk-free. Thus, to some, they’re worth trying.
In more recent years, there have been a number of apps developed to assist smokers who wish to kick the habit. These applications, most of which are free to download, enable you to track your journey. It’s often more useful to see a visual representation of your progress and track, say, smoke-free days and money saved. As detailed in a Healthline guide to some of the best such apps available, a number of them also provide users with access to support and success stories, (as well as general tips and advice).
Quitting is a very personal journey, and different methods are suitable for different people. We hope that we’ve given you a good variety of starting points to consider if you are embarking upon a mission to become smoke-free.
Thank you for reading!