Ask Nurse Betty…. Your column for all kinds of health and preventive medicine.
Dear Nurse Betty,
My New Year’s resolution this year is to quit smoking. All my friends are offering their many different suggestions of what I should do, but I feel a bit overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start. Is there anything you can suggest?
Butt Out Wannabe
Amazing! I love people who quit smoking.
It’s a super hard thing to do — kind of like breaking up with someone who you know is toxic in your life — difficult at first, but well worth it in the long-term.
Some people are great at doing things on their own, while others need more support. Canadian public health nurses are trained in smoking cessation, so wherever you are across the country, it’s likely that your local public health community services will have some kind of free counselling available.*
If you are a DIY quitter, here’s the scoop:
1. Pick a day, and quit. Some people suggest saving all your butts from two weeks before this date so you can smell how disgusting they are as you prepare to quit. Keep them for at least one month afterward as well, as a disgusting little reminder.
2. Find a local herb store that sells liquid herbal extracts (called tinctures) and get 50mL of Aveena and Lobelia mixed together 1:1 (25 ml each). Carry this around and take five drops as needed for cravings. The chemical structure of these two tinctures together is similar to nicotine. If you start to feel nauseated, you have hit your limit for a few hours (the same as when you were smoking).
3. Take a B complex 50mg vitamin daily with food. Adding B3 to the above herbs really mimics nicotine.
4. Drink 4 oz of sugar-free juice every four hours for the first week after quitting. This will help balance your blood sugar (which has been affected by smoking). This will also help prevent the weight-gain associated with quitting.
5. If you smoked indoors, physically rearrange the areas/rooms where you most liked to smoke so that even your house feels different after you have quit — make room for the new you!
Remember: the first 10 days will be the hardest. Only you can find the strength inside yourself to quit. It’s there. Believe.
I believe in you!
* To help find a public health nurse in your province and/or to gain access to counselling over the phone, check out this resource page on the Health Canada Website.
Nurse Betty, is a queer naturopathic doctor in downtown Toronto. She has been a part of the transhealth movement for years and has a special interest in not only women’s health and wellness but LGBTTIQ mental, physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual healthcare. A long-time devotee of body modification and the art of our bodies as a lived landscape, Nurse Betty has answers for everything from tattoo healing to swine-related questions to elevated liver enzymes and beyond. You can follow Nurse Betty on Twitter.
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