How to Quit Smoking: Tried and True Methods

Quitting smoking is a formidable challenge for many, but numerous methods have been proven effective in helping people break free from nicotine addiction. This article explores several strategies that have been scientifically validated, including the use of Komuso, a modern take on an ancient technique that helps manage stress and cravings.


Photo by Megan Forbes


Understanding Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine is a powerful substance that affects the brain’s reward system, creating a cycle of dependence. Quitting smoking often involves overcoming both physical addiction and psychological habits. The journey to quit smoking typically includes managing withdrawal symptoms, coping with cravings, and making lasting lifestyle changes.


1. Behavioural Therapy

Behavioural therapy focuses on changing smoking-related behaviours and thought patterns. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of behavioural therapy for smoking cessation. It helps individuals recognize triggers that prompt smoking and develop coping strategies to handle cravings and stress without cigarettes.


2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine replacement therapy involves using products that supply low doses of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. These products include nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers. NRT can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, making it easier to focus on the behavioural aspects of quitting.


Studies have shown that NRT can double the chances of quitting smoking compared to attempting to quit without any aid. It is generally recommended to use NRT as part of a comprehensive quit plan that includes behavioural support.


3. Prescription Medications

Two prescription medications, varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion (Zyban), have been approved for smoking cessation. Varenicline works by reducing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and it also blocks the rewarding effects of nicotine. Bupropion is an antidepressant that helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.


Both medications have been shown to significantly increase the chances of successfully quitting smoking, especially when combined with behavioural support.


4. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices can be powerful tools in the fight against smoking. These practices help individuals become more aware of their cravings and the emotions that drive their smoking habits. By developing a mindful approach, smokers can learn to observe their cravings without acting on them, reducing the likelihood of relapse.


Meditation can also reduce stress and improve overall emotional well-being, which can be particularly beneficial during the challenging process of quitting smoking.


5. Support Groups and Counseling

Support groups and counselling provide emotional support and practical advice from others who are also trying to quit smoking. Group settings allow individuals to share their experiences, offer mutual encouragement, and learn from others’ successes and setbacks.


Professional counselling, whether in-person or via telephone quitlines, offers tailored advice and support from trained cessation specialists. Counselling has been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of quitting successfully.


6. Exercise

Regular physical activity can help reduce the urge to smoke and manage withdrawal symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress. Additionally, it can help mitigate weight gain, a common concern for those quitting smoking.


Incorporating a variety of physical activities, such as walking, running, yoga, or strength training, can keep individuals motivated and distracted from smoking cravings.


7. Komuso: The Power of Breath Control

Komuso is a modern adaptation of an ancient Japanese practice centred around controlled breathing. The Komuso method involves using a specially designed flute-like device, known as a Komuso necklace, to help individuals regulate their breathing patterns.


The Komuso necklace is inspired by the shakuhachi flute used by Komuso monks during the Edo period in Japan. These monks practiced “suizen,” or “blowing meditation,” to achieve a state of mindfulness and stress reduction. The modern Komuso device aims to replicate this effect by encouraging slow, deep breaths.


How Komuso Works
The Komuso necklace works by creating resistance as the user exhales through it, slowing down the exhalation process. This helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress. By focusing on their breath, users can manage cravings and reduce anxiety, which are common triggers for smoking.


Benefits of Komuso

•Stress Reduction: Deep, controlled breathing can significantly reduce stress levels, which is a common trigger for smoking. By managing stress, individuals are less likely to reach for a cigarette.

•Mindfulness: Using the Komuso necklace encourages mindfulness, helping individuals stay present and aware of their cravings without acting on them.
•Portable and Discreet: The Komuso necklace is a portable tool that can be used anywhere, making it a convenient option for managing cravings on the go.


8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some studies suggest that acupuncture can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms by stimulating the release of endorphins and promoting relaxation.


While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of acupuncture for smoking cessation, it is considered a safe and complementary therapy that may support other quit methods.


9. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy uses guided relaxation and focused attention to change subconscious patterns related to smoking. During hypnotherapy sessions, individuals are guided into a trance-like state where they are more open to suggestions aimed at reducing their desire to smoke.


Some research indicates that hypnotherapy can be an effective tool for smoking cessation, especially when combined with other treatments. However, results can vary, and it is important to seek a qualified hypnotherapist.


10. Digital Tools and Apps

In the digital age, numerous apps and online resources are available to support smoking cessation. These tools often include features such as tracking progress, providing educational resources, and offering motivational messages and reminders.


Popular smoking cessation apps include Quit Genius, Smoke Free, and MyQuit Coach. These apps can provide additional support and accountability, making it easier to stay on track with quitting goals.


Combining Methods for Greater Success
Quitting smoking is often most successful when multiple methods are combined. For example, using NRT or prescription medications in conjunction with behavioural therapy, mindfulness practices, and support groups can provide a comprehensive approach to quitting.


Personalization is key; what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to experiment with different methods and find the combination that best suits individual needs and preferences.


Quitting smoking is a challenging but achievable goal with the right combination of strategies and support. Behavioural therapy, NRT, prescription medications, mindfulness practices, and innovative tools like the Komuso necklace all offer proven ways to help individuals break free from nicotine addiction. By exploring these methods and finding the right mix, anyone can increase their chances of quitting smoking for good and enjoy a healthier, smoke-free life.


Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!

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