How2Quit : Nicotine

  • 16 Aug 2011
  • Reading time 8 mins
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Use the following guidelines alongside our How to Quit Action Plan in Part 4 of the How to Quit book.

Please note all page and chapter references in this article are from How to Quit.

  • Before you even begin to try to give up cigarettes, we recommend following the How to Quit diet and supplement guidelines that follow strictly for one month, or until you no longer consume any other stimulants (such as tea, coffee and chocolate) or sugar. Instead you’ll be eating small, frequent meals, with an emphasis on foods containing slow-releasing carbohydrates combined with foods rich in proteins. Your background blood sugar balance will be much better, which means you’ll experience less withdrawal symptoms on quitting.
  • Break all the associated habits. The average smoker is addicted not only to nicotine, but also to smoking when tired, hungry or upset, on waking, after a meal with a drink, and so on. Before you actually give up smoking altogether, it’s best to break these mental associations.
  • At first don’t attempt to change your smoking habits. Just keep a diary for a week, writing down every situation in which you smoke, how you feel before, and how you feel after smoking. You can copy the example on page 304 seven times to record your one-week smoking diary.

When the week is up, add up how many cigarettes you smoke in each situation. Your list might look something like this:

  • With a hot drink: 16
  • After a meal: 6
  • With alcohol: 4
  • Difficult situation: 4
  • After sex: 3

Steps to Help Quitting

  1. Now set yourself weekly targets. For the first week, smoke as much as you like whenever you like but not when you drink a hot drink. For the next week, smoke as much as you like whenever you like but not when you drink a hot drink or within 30 minutes of finishing a meal. Continue like this until, when you smoke, all you do is smoke, without the associated habits. Having said that, set yourself a maximum of six weeks to complete this phase. This will be tremendously helpful for you when you quit. Most people start again because the phone rings with a problem, someone brings in a coffee, offers you a cigarette… and before you know it you’re smoking.
  2. Put your cigarette butts in a big glass jar with a sealing lid. Fill it half with water. Keep this in clear view in your living room. You will begin to associate cigarettes with the nasty stuff in your jar.
  3. Now it’s time to reduce your nicotine load gradually. Week by week, switch to a cigarette brand that contains less nicotine, until what you smoke contains no more than 2mg per cigarette. Now reduce the number of cigarettes you are smoking until you smoke no more than five cigarettes a day, each with a nicotine content of 2mg or less. If you wish, stop smoking and replace it with nicotine gum as an intermediate step. (Nicotine gum comes in two strengths: 4mg and 2mg).
  4. You want to be down to a maximum of 10mg of nicotine a day before quitting – that is, five pieces of 2mg nicotine gum, or five 2mg nicotine cigarettes.
  5. Take the Basic Supplements and the Stimulant Prescription (see pg403)
  6. For the first week of quitting also take an extra 8g of vitamin C (there are two tablets in the basic supplement pack, so this gives you 10g in total). Buy some magnesium ascorbate powder. Put 8g of vitamin C in a bottle of half water and half juice. Drink it throughout the day. It is likely you will get slightly looser bowels.
  7. Also take chromium 200mcg: one with breakfast and one with lunch. This helps stabilise your blood sugar level.
  8. Take 50mg of niacin (nicotinic acid) twice a day. (You’ll probably need to buy a 100mg niacin tablet and break it in half.) You will experience a blushing sensation when first taking niacin. This is harmless and usually occurs 15 to 30 minutes after taking it, and lasts for about 15 minutes (so don’t take it at work). The blushing is less likely to occur if you take niacin with a meal, and will diminish and, in most cases, stop completely after a week if you keep taking it. The reason for taking this is that both nicotine and niacin occupy the same receptors in the brain – so giving yourself more niacin is likely to reduce your cravings.
  9. Eat an alkaline-forming diet: one that is high in fruit, vegetables and seeds. (It’s better to have a more alkaline-forming diet than one that is acid forming.) Also, make sure you are supplementing a total of 850mg of magnesium and calcium combined. A good multivitamin will provide 300mg calcium and 150g magnesium, and there will be at least 500mg in the magnesium ascorbate powder noted above. These alkaline minerals will have an alkalising effect on your body.
  10. Whenever you feel the need for nicotine, first drink a glass of water and eat an apple or a pear. This will raise a low blood sugar level, which is often the factor that triggers such a craving.
  11. Improve your breathing. Your lungs are damaged by smoking and it’s really important to do something that stimulates breathing and their recovery. At least, go for a brisk walk every day, ideally in clean air or in the park. Any exercise that focuses on the breath, such as some forms of yoga and Psychocalisthenics, is ideal. This ......
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