3 New Ways to Quit Smoking

Quit smoking for good.Quit smoking for good.By Deborah A. Wilburn

When you want to quit smoking, you need all the help you can get. A new study in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research reveals that help may come from some unexpected sources.

1. Eat your fruits and veggies. In the study, 1,000 randomly chosen smokers asked about their smoking habits and their fruit and vegetable intake. In follow-up phone interviews 14 months later, they were asked if they'd abstained from smoking during the previous month. The study found that those who consumed the most fruits and veggies were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up than those eating the fewest fruits and vegetables.

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The researchers also found that smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day, and scored lower on a test of nicotine dependence.

How can produce help you smoke less -- or even quit altogether? Possible explanations include the fact that high-fiber foods make people feel fuller so they feel less of a need to smoke. "Smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke," says researcher Jeffrey P. Haibach, MPH, in statement released with the study. In addition, fruits and vegetables don't enhance the taste of cigarettes the way meats, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol do.

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2. Use hypnosis. For years, people have claimed hypnosis helped them quit smoking. Now Canadian researchers have found that smokers are 4.6 times more likely to quit smoking if they undergo hypnosis therapy. How does hypnosis work? The therapist lulls you into an uber-relaxed, trancelike state, and then makes statements such as "I dislike cigarettes" that will stay with you on a subconscious level and change your behavior once you come out of the relaxed state. If you try this, use a certified hypnotist; you can find one from the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners.

3. Try acupuncture. This Chinese therapy involves inserting very thin needles through your skin at specific points of your body. The points are located on meridians through which gi (vital energy) runs. Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions, especially pain. It's efficacy in helping smoking cessation is not well-proven, although the recent Canadian study found that smokers were 3.5 times more likely to kick the habit if they had acupuncture, compared to smokers who didn't have the treatment.

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Most states require acupuncturists to be licensed and confer a title (Lac). The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture can provide a list of physicians in your area who are also trained to perform acupuncture.

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