By: Brandon Burnett and Joey Chini
It’s been a month since Humber decided to “butt out” and ban smoking from its campuses, so why haven’t you quit yet? Yeah, you–the person with all of those assignments piling up. Yes, you–the one who hasn’t been getting any sleep. Yeah, I’m talking to you, person, who didn’t go to class so they could catch up on their laundry.
Smoking is so bad that Hawaii is considering raising the legal smoking age to 100. What’s your excuse? Well, if you’re familiar with addiction, quitting is one of the hardest things you will ever do.
Smoking has permeated our media, TV protagonists and movie stars are constantly puffing on a dart. Despite widespread and well-documented health risks, smoking tobacco remains legal and although the number of people who are regular smokers have decreased since the 2000’s, there are still 5 million people who regularly smoke in Canada.
Humber college provides smoking cessation services for students trying to quit, and it’s important to stay informed on how best to keep in good health.
If you’re struggling with breaking the habit, here are the most commonly recommended ways to quit according to Humber:
Quit Cold Turkey
This is probably the hardest way to quit, it is entirely dependent on your willpower and your desire to quit. You may want to use the cold turkey method in tandem with another on this list, such as joining a support group/talking with friends.
If quitting cold turkey seems too daunting of a task, you can ease your way into quitting by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. This will help regulate your nicotine intake and will make it easier down the road when you go cold turkey.
Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Similarly to cutting down, you can use another method of giving your body nicotine such as a patch, gum or vaporizer. Vaporizers or vapes have contracted a stigma and whether or not they are “healthier” than smoking tobacco remains to be seen, however the movement is strong and vape/eCig stores are open all across Toronto.
Young people’s obsession with vaping is another discussion entirely.
Join A Support Group/Individual Counselling
This one is best used along with other methods of quitting. Having someone to talk to–whether it be a close friend or joining a support group in your community–will greatly help your chances of quitting. Knowing that someone who cares for you has your back, or knowing other people are going through the same thing will make you feel supported.
According to the BC Lung Association the most effective way to quit is a combination of pharmacotherapy (such as nicotine replacement therapy) and behavioural counseling (available through the QuitNow program), this yields the most consistent results. In an email statement, a representative from the BC Lung Association, gives this advice for students struggling with the stress and anxiety of quitting:
“Cravings can feel intense at their onset, but will typically go away after 3-5 minutes. Keeping this in mind and having a plan to overcome the craving is key to beating it and the anxieties that may come along with it. An effective strategy to beat cravings is using the 4 D’s: Delay, Distract, Deep breathing, and Drink water. If a craving hits, you can delay it by remembering that it will only last a few minutes. Instead of smoking, try going for a walk or calling a friend. You can also distract yourself by completely changing what you’re doing as soon as you get a craving. Focusing on the deep breathing technique allows you to practice mindfulness while relaxing your body and relieving stress and anxiety. Finally, drinking water instead of satisfying a craving will replace the hand to mouth behaviour of smoking, while also changing the taste in your mouth and reducing the craving.
Besides having a plan to overcome cravings, stress and anxiety can be managed in a variety of ways. Exercising, eating healthier foods, visualization, mindfulness, and meditation can all help manage stress. We really encourage talking with friends and family as well. Additionally, communicating with health professionals and using quit smoking programs like QuitNow through phone, text, and/or online services is a great way to feel connected and supported in your experience. Having a support system in place during your quit will increase your chance of quitting.”
We hope you feel inspired to quit and make the best use of our advice. Best of luck!