You know smoking is profoundly detrimental to your health. Often you wonder why you can’t seem to quit the habit. Some say it ‘calms the nerves’ while others say it helps with their weight, or is part of their social scene, or it’s what they grew up with. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice and when you are ready, below are my top ten tips to help. You can do it, if you really want it.

1. De-Stress

One of the most common reasons why people say they smoke is that it helps them relax. However, you can relax in other ways: take regular deep breathing breaks or meditation breaks throughout your day, or walks in the park or at the mall. Make a list of all the things that relax you and that you enjoy and consider doing those things instead of smoking. Try it for a month and see what benefits it can bring.

2. Boost Nutrition

As a naturopathic doctor, I’ve found that less than 10% of the population consumes the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. These are the densest source of nutrition for the proper functioning of your body and mind. Imagine if you ate a much healthier diet: you would feel better, look better and have better self-regard and esteem… now this is a good time to quit smoking.

3. Trigger Management

Know what sets off your compulsion to smoke. Is it when you are faced with bills when you get home, or when you are out with friends, or when you see others smoking? If you know your triggers, you know what situations to avoid when you attempt to quit. If you cannot avoid particular situations, then plan strategies ahead of time of how you are going to handle those moments; what will you say, what will you think, what will you do? Plan to handle the triggers you expect to face.

4. Adjust Your Perspective

Hard core smokers may have a distorted way of thinking about their habit, perhaps not acknowledging the unhealthy effects or justifying the expense. Be willing to see it from another perspective, or multiple perspectives. Speak to people you know who have already quit and find out how they learned to see the habit in a clearer light and adjusted their thinking in retrospect.

5. Boost Energy

A common problem people face is low energy. You know it will take even more mental and physical energy to quit, so plan to boost your energy to help increase your chances of quitting. Eat better, exercise regularly, take a multivitamin or B-vitamin complex and consider some herbal energy supports such as oatstraw, nettle, and ginseng.

6. Get Busy

Many find that building in activities (or ‘distractions,’ depending on how you think of it) helps in the process of quitting. Basically, place your attention on other things. Pick up a hobby or take a night course on a subject you are truly interested in… immerse yourself in it and enjoy it.

7. Get Help

See an acupuncturist, naturopath, counselor or psychologist or support group, hypnotherapist, leader of your religious congregation. There are many potential supports that are available to help.

8. Substitution

Many find that taking nicotine patches or gum really helps. Other natural substitutes to consider are including other plant extracts that are traditionally known to support the lungs and the nerves. Examples include hyssop, catnip and lobelia. Hyssop helps rid mucus from the respiratory tract and can help calm the nerves; catnip can help against chronic coughs and has relaxing effects; lobelia is also known as Indian Tobacco, known to help those with respiratory conditions and to increase the same pleasure-producing brain chemical as smoking (dopamine).

9. Know Your Why’s

You have to be very clear about why you want to quit. It has to be something you really want to do so that it becomes a strong motivator, stronger than your motivation to continue smoking. Make a list and refer to it often.

10. Pick Your Strategy

Either set a quit date and prepare for it, or gradually reduce the number of cigarettes each day or week… go for it!

About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or