How To Quit Smoking As An Expat
There are many reasons that people want to quit smoking. Many people quit because of the associated health risks. Others want to quit spending money on cigarettes. Some don’t want to deal with the stigma or the social inconvenience involved with smoking. Whatever your reason is, quitting can be difficult. Expats face all the normal challenges of kicking the habit along with a few that are unique.
Try a Nicotine Replacement Product
One of the reasons that quitting smoking is so difficult is that cigarettes contain an addictive substance called nicotine. Nicotine replacement products help some smokers by reducing their cravings for the substance. Options for nicotine replacement therapy include prescription nasal sprays or inhalers, prescription medications, such as Zyban or Chantix, over-the-counter products, such as nicotine gum, patches or lozenges and supplements, such as the Thrive patch.
Gums, lozenges, sprays and inhalers work well for overcoming intense cravings. These products can usually be used in combination with patches and medications. Some smokers have had success with electronic cigarettes that contain nicotine products; however, research is still needed to determine whether these products are safe to use.
Some of these products may not be available in the country you live in. A local clinic may be able to advise you about whether you can legally obtain these products through mail order or over the internet or whether there are equivalent alternatives.
Avoid Places and Situations That Trigger Cravings
Avoiding triggers can be particularly challenging for expats who live in countries where smoking is still common and socially acceptable. However, you can reduce the effect of these triggers by avoiding the situations and places that are the strongest triggers for you. For example, if you are used to smoking at bars, try not going to bars while you are trying to quit. If you are used to having a cigarette after you eat, plan to go for a walk or do some other activity to keep your mind off smoking. If the craving is particularly strong, try an activity that isn’t compatible with smoking, such as going for a swim or taking a shower.
Keep Your Mouth Occupied
Some people find that activities that keep their mouths busy help fight cravings. Chew on a piece of gum or hard candy or eat healthy food that requires a lot of chewing, such as raw carrots, nuts, celery or sunflower seeds. If you live in a place with strict rules against littering, make sure you don’t spit your gum or sunflower seed shells on the ground.
Get Some Exercise
Physical activity can serve as a distraction and reduce cravings. If you can’t hit the gym, try running up and down some stairs, doing some squats or pushups or running in place. If you are at home, consider doing some busy work, such as cleaning the house or reorganizing your closet.
Phone a Friend
Many cellular plans include free international calling and if you don’t have a cheap phone plan, you can connect with friends and family through Facetime or Skype. If chatting with a loved one doesn’t help, try calling the quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW. However, be aware that calls to 800 numbers from international callers are usually not free. If cost is a concern, there may be a similar support line available in the country you live in.
Find Support Online
Not every country has free access to the internet, but if you can get on the internet, there are many online resources you can take advantage of. You can join an online smoking cessation program, join a support group on social media, read a blog with advice on quitting and connect with other people who have quit or are trying to quit on social media sites and forums.
No matter what method you try, stopping smoking is a challenge. Many people are not successful the first time they try. However, don’t give up. If these methods don’t work for you, keep trying until you find one that does.