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How to stop smoking- naturally

Another New Year has passed, and thousands are making the resolution, for the first or fiftieth time, to quit smoking. There is a multi-billion dollar industry for smoking cessation products, which, sadly, are a waste of money for most buyers. Pharmaceutical companies claim that nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) is twice as effective as placebo, but the reality is that 91.2 percent of successful, long-term quitters stop smoking on their own, while 93 percent of nicotine patch/gum and prescription drug users relapse within six months.

Fortunately, there are tips and natural supplements readily available that won’t take a toll on your wallet or your body.

Remember to take the process one day at a time - and don’t take a single puff again, unless you enjoy the withdrawal process and want it to last forever. Think about the reasons why you want to quit and use those reasons to choose to be smoke-free every day.

Once you stop, it takes three to four days for the brain to adjust to low nicotine levels, with withdrawal symptoms peaking within 48 to 72 hours. If you can make it through three days without smoking, your life without cigarettes will get easier from then on.

Some dos and don’ts:

Do drink tea instead of coffee. It contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that is safe and effective for anxiety.

Do drink plenty of fluids to flush out nicotine metabolites.

Do avoid alcohol, refined sugar and flour as these may cause cravings that make it harder to quit.

Don’t set a quit date. This creates anticipation and stress that often leads to increased smoking. Just have your quit strategies in place and keep your goal in mind. You’ll know when you’re ready.

Don’t focus on bad feelings. Instead, remember all the wonderful ways you’ll benefit as a non-smoker - you will smell better, breathe better and be more kissable!

Holistic/lifestyle therapies: Many people have found acupuncture and hypnosis to be helpful in quitting. Deep breathing meditation activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting calm focus. Exercise, however, is the very best method for stress relief: find a physical activity that you love to do and stick with it!

Nutritional supplementation:

Omega-3s in fish or flax oil can help with depression and energy crashes, both common symptoms of withdrawal.

L-Glutamine, taken between meals, is the precursor to GABA, the neurotransmitter that keeps us calm.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) taken with plenty of Vitamin C aids lung recovery.

Chai Hu Long Gu Mu Li Tang is a traditional Chinese herbal formula that is widely used to treat drugwithdrawal symptoms and promote detoxification. It is found in Chinese herb and some health food stores.

Dia Wong is a licensed acupuncturist for Sustain Community Acupuncture in North Park. For more information, e-mail her at info@SustainCommunityAcupuncture.com. This story first appeared on SDNN.