If you are someone who has been smoking for years, odds are good you have tried to quit a time or two. Unfortunately, giving up cigarettes is no easy feat. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research indicates that nicotine is equally addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. It is little wonder then that putting down your pack once and for all is so difficult.

As your local primary care physician in Bee Cave, we understand how tough the battle with smoking can be. We are 100 percent understanding of patients who come to us for help with smoking cessation. The last thing we ever want to do is judge you or make you feel worse about the situation than you already do. Our goal is to work alongside you as you quit smoking once and for all.

Check out these tips for quitting smoking and reach out to our team to learn more about how our family physicians can assist you with your smoking cessation goals.

#1: Take The Time To Decide Why

Before you can quit smoking, you need to spend some time considering why you are taking on this difficult journey. The road ahead will be riddled with obstacles and cravings. Unless you are 100 percent clear as to why you are quitting, you will easily fall back into temptation. Conversely, when you understand the motivation behind what you are doing, it is much easier to stick with it.

For example, maybe you recently became a parent and you want to quit in order to set a good example for your young one. Maybe you are concerned about your health and have decided you want to put down your pack to improve your well-being. For some people, they have watched a loved one battle lung disease and realize that now is the time to take action. Whatever your motivation is, take some time focusing on it and write out a list of all your why’s. This will be extremely beneficial to have on hand when the going gets tough.

#2: Surround Yourself With Support

It is hard to quit smoking, period. It is even harder when no one around you is offering you support. If possible, surround yourself with those who don’t smoke as well. Perhaps you and a friend can quit together. The more people you have on your side, rallying around you, the better!

Make sure that your support group is encouraging without being overwhelming. It can be less than helpful to have people who want you to quit but lack the empathy to understand why you struggle with the process. Make sure that your support group understands just how hard the battle is so that they can offer you kind and non-judgmental encouragement.

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#3: Learn Your Triggers

One of the hardest things about quitting smoking is that there are numerous other daily actions that trigger our desire for a deep pull of nicotine. Due to the highly addictive nature of nicotine, it is easy for your body to start to see different actions as cues for a rush of nicotine.

For example, many people find that the moment they have an alcoholic beverage or two, their desire for a smoke strengthens. For others, the combination of a morning cup of coffee and a cigarette is irresistible. By figuring out what your triggers are, you can better prepare for those moments of weakness. Maybe you don’t give up your cup of morning coffee, but you have a plan ready for the moment that temptation strikes. Perhaps you do quit drinking alcohol while you go through the smoking cessation process to avoid that strong trigger. Whatever approach you take, understanding what makes your cravings worse goes a long way in helping you reach your goals.

#4: Focus On Positive Thinking

Too often, when we try to kick a bad habit, we approach it with a negative mentality. You might berate yourself for smoking as many years as you have. Perhaps you have tried quitting before and you feel like a failure from the get-go. When we approach smoking cessation with a negative attitude, it makes the battle that much harder to fight.

Instead, take a positive approach. Feel proud of yourself for even being brave enough to try! Many people never take the first step toward quitting. Remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished in life. These accomplishments can spur you on as you quit. Think about the wonderful things you have to live for and the activities you want to enjoy. A positive mindset goes a long way in quitting.

#5: Talk To Your Doctor

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your goals. Your primary care physician will be happy to help you. Rather than hiding your smoking from your doctor, be frank and honest. This is the best way to get the help you need. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe medications that help with smoking cessation.

Here at Hill Family Medicine, we are proud to be a trusted primary care physician in Bee Cave and the Austin area. We will be happy to assist you with smoking cessation, providing you with the tools and resources you need to quit once and for all. Visit us today to learn more. We look forward to walking alongside you through this important journey.