If you’re thinking of quitting and you are ready to smoke your last cigarette, these alternative methods may work, especially in the early days of your quitting journey.
The use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, is gaining momentum in South Africa.
While considered trendy by many, their use is considered controversial in many circles and it’s still debatable whether these vapour-containing devices should be used in smoke-free zone.
While these cigarettes do not contain tobacco most electronic cigarette liquids contain nicotine, water, glycerol or propylene glycol and flavours.
As the liquid in electronic cigarettes is heated, not combusted, during use, there is no smoke, but vapour.
Herbal cigarettes don’t contain tobacco and therefore have no nicotine. They are filled with herbs or flowers and come in varieties like menthol, ginseng or rum. Some studies show that they are just as harmful as cigarettes as they release toxins when burned.
Other types of these herbal cigarettes are “bidis” and “clove cigarettes”. As these do contain tobacco and are generally unfiltered they may contain more nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide.
Using a nicotine patch can help reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit, such as cravings, irritability, trouble concentrating, restlessness, anxiety and trouble sleeping.
Nicotine patches can be gradually reduced once the habit and routine of smoking has been broken.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) offers the following tips to help you stop smoking:
Decide on a date to quit smoking and stick to it.
Throw away all reminders of smoking such as cigarette packets, ashtrays, lighters.
Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
Avoid smokers and triggers that may tempt you.
The first two to three days are the most difficult. It usually becomes easier with time.
Tell your family and friends that you are trying to quit so that they can offer you support.
Weight gain is not a necessary side effect of quitting. Ensure that you eat a healthy balanced diet.
Do not use a crisis or special occasion as an excuse for “just one” cigarette.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Quitting is a journey, so try and try again.