How to Quit Nicotine

When suffering from substance use disorder (SUD), it is also possible to struggle with another addictive substance: nicotine. Whether in the form of smoking cigarettes, vaping, or chewing, nicotine addiction is a very concerning addiction. You may find it harder to quit smoking than anything else, which could be why it is ranked the third most addictive substance in the world. Nicotine addiction is a serious problem, especially while in recovery, so it is important to identify ways to kick the habit.

Health Risks

Most of the health risks of using nicotine in any form can be considered to be common knowledge. You might already know that smoking causes multiple kinds of cancer, like lung or throat cancer, or mouth cancer for those who dip or chew. Perhaps you watched the videos, observed the lung comparisons, seen the electrolarynxes, and tried to get smells out of fabrics and homes.

Some special attention needs to be brought to e-cigarettes. Because these products are so new, there are many unknowns and a lot of research is inconclusive. Are e-cigarettes better or worse than traditional cigarettes? It is still unclear. What is known is that there are harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes so e-cigarettes are by no means healthy for you, regardless of where they stand in comparison to regular cigarettes.

Treat Nicotine Like Any Other Addiction

Quitting nicotine can feel almost impossible at times. It can have a grip on you that is unlike any other substance. To overcome an addiction to nicotine, you have to treat it like you would any other substance. 

First, you have to detox from nicotine, which can look different depending on what is best for you. You might try going “cold turkey” or slowly easing yourself off it with gum, patches, or other products. Sweating it out in a sauna might also be effective. Use whatever works for you—there is no “right” way to ease yourself off nicotine.

Once your body is free of nicotine, you have to implement practices that keep you from going out and buying another pack or vape cartridge. You can apply the same method that you used in your drug or alcohol recovery, whether that is SMART recovery or a 12-Step program. The same methodology can be applied to nicotine. 

There are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when trying to quit nicotine, as it has some differences from other substances. Try to keep these in mind when you are really struggling.

Oral Fixation

One thing that is unique to nicotine is the oral fixation it causes. Oral fixation is the compulsion to put things in your mouth. This is because your brain has been trained by nicotine that when you put something in your mouth like a cigarette or a vape, your brain is rewarded with nicotine. 

You may find that when you quit smoking you feel very jittery, have shaky hands, and/or you may have a need to do something with your hands. This is because that oral fixation is not being satisfied. There are things you can do about this.

A great remedy to your oral fixation is to replace it with something else. You could try chewing gum or sunflower seed. These work because they stay in your mouth for extended periods so you are getting the maximum satisfaction of your fixation without the harmful effects.

The Power of Exercise

Exercise is another powerful tool for replacing bad habits with good ones. It does not have to be intense. You do not need to go out and buy a gym membership. Exercise, in this case, could be something as simple as walking.

Walking is a great way to get out of your head and distract you from your cravings. If you find yourself craving nicotine, try stepping outside for a bit, but avoid typical smoking areas. Fresh air and exercise are great for clearing your mind and reducing the anxiety that the cravings might bring.

The other reason why exercise is so beneficial is that you will find that it can reduce your cravings for nicotine. When you notice how much longer you can run or how much easier it is to breathe now that you do not have nicotine in your system, it will encourage you to stay away from it. Most people notice a change almost immediately.

You Are Not Powerless

Just like any other addiction, you can feel like you have no control over nicotine. Although, you are more powerful than you think. That is not to say that it will be easy, but you can overcome your addiction to nicotine. You are not powerless. By taking these steps and preventative measures, you can beat this.

Quitting nicotine is difficult. It is one of the hardest substances to get off of. Unlike most other substances, there are no extensive rehab centers to help you quit smoking. That being said, it is not impossible to quit, though you may need some extra help. Maybe the anxiety of trying to quit is overwhelming. It can be hard to know where to turn for help. NorthStar Transitions, located in Boulder, CO, can be the place to find that help. Our experienced staff can help you quit nicotine just like you quit drugs or alcohol. At NorthStar we make you feel comfortable and relaxed so that whether you're new to addiction recovery, are recovering from a relapse, or need help kicking a nicotine addiction after kicking a drug addiction, you can find the best source of help with us. Take the first steps by calling us today at (303) 558-6400.

Search Blog Posts
Back to blog
Call 866-407-2240
Verify Insurance