We live in a world of instant gratification, so it’s not surprising that we’re all looking for that “get-something-fast” approach to anything, like getting rich, learning a new skill, or in this case, stopping smoking.
It’s easy for anyone to answer ‘yes’ to the question of “Can you quit smoking fast and easy?” and present a set of basic steps that’s easy to digest and seem easy to implement.
But the keyword for quitting smoking is ‘consistency’ – quitting is a process, rather than something that occurs overnight.
So, is it possible to quit smoking fast and easy, meaning to just dump your last pack of 20s in the trash and expect yourself to forget about it? Let’s take a deep dive into it in this post.
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The Benefits of Immediately Stopping Smoking
Most of the ‘yes’ answers to “Can you quit smoking fast and easy?” focuses on the immediate benefits, which can greatly motivate smokers to quit the habit.
A number of these benefits listed below are true once you’re successful.
Immediate Psychological Benefits
While many smokers believe that cigarettes help alleviate stress, smoking actually contributes to increased stress and anxiety levels. Furthermore, smoking is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep patterns. Quitting smoking often results in improved sleep quality. Ex-smokers commonly report falling asleep more easily and experiencing deeper, more restful sleep.
One of the most immediate benefits of quitting smoking is improved respiratory function. Within hours of quitting, the body begins to repair itself. The bronchial tubes start to relax, and the airways open up, leading to better airflow and increased lung capacity.
This can result in improved breathing and a reduced feeling of breathlessness.
Healthy Cardio and Lower Blood Pressure
Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Quitting smoking leads to rapid improvements in heart health. Within just a few days, the risk of heart attack starts to decrease, and blood circulation improves.
Saving Money from Day One
Smoking is an expensive habit, with the cost of cigarettes continually rising. When someone quits smoking, they immediately start saving money that would have otherwise been spent on tobacco products.
The financial benefits can be significant and can be redirected towards more positive and fulfilling aspects of life.
Try out our calculator to see just how much money you could save.
Increased Energy Levels
Nicotine is a stimulant, and many smokers rely on it to boost energy and alertness. However, this comes at the cost of increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. When you quit smoking, your energy levels become more stable and sustainable.
Improved oxygen flow to the body’s tissues enhances overall vitality, and ex-smokers often report feeling more energetic and less fatigued.
While all these things are well and good to motivate smokers to quit, it isn’t always easy to just drop your ciggie and call it quits. Cold turkey quitting, while effective, requires a determined mindset and patience that failure is part of the process.
Major Difficulties of Cold Turkey Quitting
Cold turkey is about stopping smoking immediately without any assistance and moving on with life trying not to think about having a smoke. While this is an admirable and cost-effective method, it doesn’t come without its major challenges.
Higher Risk of Relapse
Cold turkey feels quite easy an hour after you smoke. Once you start going through half of the day or for a few days without ciggies, you’ll start to feel anxious, distraught, and nervous as your body tries to tell you it needs nicotine.
The first two weeks are the hardest part of cold turkey quitting – a period in which many smokers fail to stop smoking and run to the corner shop. While it has a higher risk of relapse, it’s important to recognise that failure is part of the cold turkey quitting process.
If a smoker does relapse during this period, it’s important that they recognise it and set another date again to try quitting, repeating this process as often as necessary, and possibly with the help of a quit-smoking GP.
Withdrawal symptoms happen when your body is cut off from its regular supply of nicotine.
As cold turkey quitters might not use any NRT tools to soften the blow of nicotine’s absence, they can feel much more intense withdrawals, which are enough to wake up some motivated smokers during sleep.
Demotivation and Poor Expectations
It’s great that motivated smokers are pushing themselves through the cold turkey process and want to get the benefits of immediately quitting as listed above. However, if they expect to quit successfully after their first attempt, this might demotivate them to push on quitting later on.
Again, going through cold turkey (and essentially other quitting processes) requires determination and picking one’s self back up once again if they fail to quit on their current attempt.
Removing smoking and nicotine from your life brings plenty of benefits, but the extreme withdrawals some motivated smokers experience can cause strong anxiety that can bring about various psychological and emotional side effects.
When you experience uncomfortable symptoms during cold turkey, even if you’re highly determined to push on through the process, we highly recommend seeing a quit smoking GP to help you.
GPs have helped many patients successfully quit smoking and improve their lives altogether. They can also advise medication and NRT tools that can give you relief from uncomfortable quitting symptoms. Furthermore, another person to share your experience helps anyone to recover from the mental and emotional strain of quitting.
So, Is It Possible to Quit Smoking Fast and Easy?
While it’s not impossible for any motivated smoker to just wake up one day and say, “I’m going to stop smoking today,” and actually quit on their first attempt, it may not be a sustainable method for some people.
So, can you quit smoking fast and easy? We have to say that it’s possible to do so, but we don’t recommend it as a goal.
What we suggest is going through a steady process with an experienced GP to help you quit for good, not just for a while.
The Right Way: A Steady Process
Quitting Smoking is Good
We commend any motivated smoker who has recognised the need to quit. Change begins from the inside, and motivation is always a good sign that they can successfully quit.
Maintaining this motivation to quit is crucial in helping a motivated smoker go through the process, even if it takes months or years to kick the ciggies out for good.
Failing to Quit is Also Good
Failure can be part of any cold turkey or other quit smoking journey. Even if the world today values successes over failures, a motivated smoker should recognise that failure brings lessons that help them get better at quitting after each attempt.
Recognising these lessons, especially during terrible withdrawal periods, can be challenging to discover, which is why working with a GP ensures they keep their eye on their goals and keep their motivation up throughout.
Seek the Help of a GP
As mentioned, GPs have helped many motivated smokers successfully kick their dangerous habit. They can design a customised smoking cessation journey for you, evaluate your withdrawal symptoms, and help you handle them.
GPs can also help you recognise the lessons of failed attempts – you won’t face any judgements from these medical professionals. Instead, you’ll receive empathy and understanding with their advice and recommendations until you’ve successfully stopped smoking for good.
Create a Helpful Environment for Quitting
It’s a good thing that Australia’s smokefree laws give many motivated smokers access to smoke-free spaces, which have been proven to help motivated smokers quit for good.
Aside from your external environment, having the household and your circle of friends help you stop smoking is a good thing – many motivated smokers would say they couldn’t have quit successfully on their own.
Use Strategies for Quitting
Quitting smoking cold turkey or otherwise is all about keeping your motivation on high. Most successful motivated smokers have found new hobbies and ways to occupy their time and keep their minds off of smoking. Journaling and ‘surfing over your urges’ are other great methods.
On the GP side of things, your GP can provide the right NRT dosage to help wean you off nicotine, the primary cause of your withdrawals. If that doesn’t work, they can use second-line solutions like nicotine vaping products (NVPs) sold in pharmacies, which can maintain the familiar gestures and throat hit of a cigarette without the harms of cigarette smoke.
Here are more strategies to help you cope with quitting and withdrawal symptoms.
So, it’s clear that the answer to “Can you quit smoking fast and easy?” isn’t a straightforward ‘yes’. While possible in some cases, overnight quitting isn’t always sustainable and also lacks the learnings and impactful successes from your failed attempts in trying to quit – all crucial factors in keeping you smokefree for a lifetime.
If you need help in stopping smoking, that’s what we’re always here for.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to friendly Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.