Thursday, July 16, 2015

Commit to Quit: 14 Tips to Stop Smoking

Quitting cigarettes is hard. We've all heard that it's harder to quit cigarettes than heroine. Don't let that discourage you. Plenty of Left Hand patients have quit the habit. Here's my best advice:

1. Choose the right time. Trying to quit before your daughter's wedding or before the big report at work is due is almost certainly doomed to failure. Of course, we never know when life will throw us a curve ball, but try to pick a low stress time.

2. Have a plan. When you get a craving, what are you going to do? Munch a celery stick and go for a walk? Call a friend and chew some gum?

3. Call your acupuncturist and schedule yourself for daily treatments for two weeks. You'll need at least five treatments each week. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? This gives us the best chance to ensure your success. Left Hand Community Acupuncture offers a smoking cessation program $150 for ten treatments. You can add on as many treatments as you need so long as they're on consecutive weeks.

Why Acupuncture works

  • Acupuncture works by soothing the sympathetic nervous system and promoting relaxation.
  • The acupuncture points in the ears are helpful in suppressing addiction. The 
  • Acupuncture boosts endorphins which will help you with withdrawal symptoms, like irritability and mild depression. 
  • Treatments can also help with the side effects of quitting smoking like insomnia, constipation, sore throat, coughing, increased mucus, intestinal cramping, increased sweating. Remember that not everyone experiences all these symptoms and some folks experience none at all. 

4. Throw them out! It's my experience that the folks who throw them out seem to do better than the folks who try to taper down their usage. Personally, I'm a cookie addict. If they're in the house, I'm eating them and I'm not just talking about one or two! I've had to break my addiction to several brands and keeping them out of the house is the only way I can do it.

5. Figure out your triggers: do you smoke when you get anxious? Do you smoke after meals? Identifying why you reach for nicotine will help you navigate the process.

6. Change your habits. If you keep your cigarettes on your bedside table and reach for one every morning upon waking, move the table. If you tend to light up with your morning coffee, switch to tea for a while. If you hang around the smoker's station on your break at work, go for a walk instead.

7. Wait it out. Remember that cravings typically only last 5-10 minutes. Find something else to take your mind off the craving until it passes.

8. Find an oral substitute.  To break the oral fixation, try a substitute such as one of the following:
  • sunflower seeds in the shell
  • brushing your teeth
  • chewing sugar free gum. The mintier the better.  (this is one of the only times I'll endorse artificial sweeteners by the way!)
  • crunch on carrot sticks or celery sticks
  • chew on mint or cinnamon toothpicks
  • Don't substitute calorie-laden food for cigarettes, it's way to easy to quit smoking and end up 20 lb overweight!

9. Change your hangouts, at least temporarily. Being around people who smoke is hard when you're trying to quit. Many of our patients have had success by avoiding concerts, parties and the smokers lounge for a month or so until their cravings have passed.

10. Phone a friend. If you can find a buddy who has committed to quitting at the same time, that's even better. 

11. Exercise helps. Nicotine makes the Qi flow more easily in your body, that's part of what makes smoking so pleasurable. Guess what? Exercise does, too!

12. Remind yourself of the upside. The benefits of quitting smoking are nearly immediate. The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5.65 in Colorado. If you're a pack-a-day smoker, you'll have an extra $2062.25 in your pocket at the end of the year. That's a down payment on pretty sweet vacation or a car!

13. Set rewards. Seven days smoke free? Go to a nice restaurant. Fourteen days? Splurge at the bookstore. Twenty one days? Treat yourself to a spa day!

14. Go easy on yourself! Statistics are that it usually takes folks about four attempts before they can quit for good. If this wasn't a successful attempt, no need to be ashamed, just try, try again.

Looking to quit smoking? We can help!
Ask us about our smoking cessation program $150 for ten treatments to be used in a 2-3 week period. 


Some other great resources: gives a lot of great advice about how to quit, they also have a text messaging service that encourages you to stay the course. You can call 1-877-44U-QUIT for free to talk to an expert.

Information about the health benefits of quitting, tips for you, your family and friends to help support you, and information to help you avoid weight gain.

A free program that sets you up with a personalized plan, resources and community support. Requires registration. 

Left Hand Community Acupuncture is located in the heart of Old Town Lafayette 
at the corner of Simpson St. and Michigan Ave. LHCA offers an affordable sliding 
scale of $25-$55. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is 
fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes 
an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health 
issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, 

fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, infertility and many other health concerns.


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