Smoking is hard on your and your family's health. Learn how to get the support you need to quit for good so you can lead a healthier, smoke-free life.
You may know what to expect when you quit smoking, with symptoms such as cravings, sweating, and even nausea, but often it's the emotional symptoms that can be the hardest to tackle on your own. Knowing what to expect and how to get the support you need can help you overcome both sides of your addiction and stay off the pack, for good.
What Happens When You Smoke
Smoking cigarettes can be a hard habit to kick because of their main active ingredient, nicotine. As you smoke, the nicotine in the cigarette goes straight to your brain and releases feel-good hormones such as dopamine, which can boost your mood and produce a feeling of well-being. Since these effects are short-lived, your body craves more—and more. This temporary feel-good sensation may also mean that you're relying on your smoke breaks to help relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and even boredom more than you realize.
Tackling the emotional side of your addiction can give you the confidence you need to make it through the first few weeks when cravings are usually at their highest levels. While the physical cravings can be tough to manage, having a plan and getting the right support throughout your journey can help you on the path to success. If you put the right support systems in place for getting the emotional support you need, you can quit for good.
Quitting: Ways to Cope and Get the Support You Need
Congratulations! You've stamped out your last cigarette. The health benefits of quitting start immediately but unfortunately withdrawal symptoms are not far behind. You can expect to start feeling some of the emotional side effects such as trouble sleeping, feeling depressed or anxious, having difficulty concentrating, and feeling irritable. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to reach out for help. Here are some ways you can find the support you need:
- Talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist about scheduling a time to take an assessment, develop a treatment plan and review the free support and tools available with Rite Aid's Quit For You program.
- Join a support group, either online or in-person, such as Nicotine Anonymous.
- Let your family, friends, and co-workers know you're quitting and ask them for help. They can help you tackle the toughest days and stay on track.
- Learn to relieve stress with healthy options such as yoga, meditation, and exercise. Doing this will help your brain create its own feel-good hormones in a healthy way.
- Don't throw in the towel or beat yourself up after a slip-up. Relapsing with a cigarette or two can be perfectly normal, but it doesn't mean that the progress you've made so far is for nothing. Giving yourself credit for the work you've done can help you get back on track.
- Avoid any social situations (at first) that may trigger your desire to smoke. This can be a temporary fix if you find yourself slipping from your goals on your regular night out with friends, for example.
- Call a 24/7 telephone-counseling hotline such as The National Cancer Institute's 1-877-44U-Quit. People who use telephone counseling have twice the success rate in quitting smoking as those who don't get this type of help, says the American Cancer Society.
The first few weeks may be the hardest to get through, but the lifelong benefits are worth it. After withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings subside (which should take a few days to a few weeks) you will start to feel stronger and stronger. Visit Rite Aid's Quit Smoking Solution Center for tools, helpful articles, and information on a free personalized Quit For You Program that can help you live a healthy, smoke-free life.
Livestrong.com, Emotional Effects of Smoking
American Cancer Society, Getting Help with the Mental Part of Tobacco Addiction
Quitter's Circle, 3 Types of Quit Smoking Support
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Effects of Smoking
Helpguide.org, How to Quit Smoking
American Cancer Society, How to Quit Smoking
Smokefree.gov, Prepare to Quit
Healthline, Nicotine Withdrawal