For every conventional strategy for kicking the habit — a gradual reduction, nicotine patches, medication, hypnosis; ask your doctor about these and other methods — there is a creative, unusual or downright bizarre alternative.
If any of the options on this list sound too zany for you, remember: when your life is on the line, not to mention the lives of your friends and loved ones, whatever works is worth trying.
So if you’re ready to quit and want to try something completely different to achieve your goal, one of the oddball methods on this list just might do the trick. Think you can’t quit smoking? Think again!
1. Bury your butts
Of all the ways to make smoking inconvenient, one of the quirkiest involves burying them underground. Whether in planter pots, flower gardens or smelly compost heaps, the inconvenience of digging through dirt or rotting banana peels will turn you off soon enough. Don’t have a green thumb? Get a family member to hide them, or wait to buy a new pack only when the last one is empty.
2. Make it “interesting”
Do you have a buddy who also wants to quit? Put something on the line! A recent study revealed that smokers with $150 of their own money at stake were much more likely to kick the habit than those who didn’t have to wager their own cash to get paid.
Some stakes, however, are worth more than money, with documented habit-kicking bets ranging from winners being called “your majesty” for a month to male losers having to wear gowns and makeup out on the town (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Of course, everyone’s a winner when it comes to quitting smoking…
If you don’t have a friend who wants to join you in quitting you can always reward yourself for success, or punish yourself for failure. Amusing real-world examples of the former include a month of mother-in-law free time — a prize that was zealously supported by the lady herself — while peculiar punishments have ranged from missed Maple Leafs games (or is that a reward?) to sexual hiatuses of various descriptions that can’t be listed here.
4. Get digital
Quit-smoking support groups abound in cyberspace, and for good reason: A study from the University of Georgia suggests that smokers who join online communities get the support they need to butt out forever.
Other digital resources include apps like Livestrong MyQuit Coach Lite and the Smokers’ Helpline, which offers a mobile service that provides round-the-clock encouragement and tips. Indeed, according to a review of recent research, supportive text messages can double your chances of quitting.
5. Face cravings with…disgust
Building an aversion to cigarettes — say, by snapping an elastic band against your wrist when cravings kick in — have proven effective. There’s really no limit to how unpleasant this method can get. Extreme examples include dropping a few butts in some water and sniffing, or even sipping, the disgusting mixture when cravings take hold. (Are you gagging yet?) Then there’s the widely emulated case of the New York women who chewed on Milk Bones when cravings struck — and kicked a 20-year habit in the process.
Did you use any nifty tricks to quit smoking? Wondering how to quit smoking easily? Share your tips and questions in the comments below, and share this list with buddies who want to kick the habit.
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. He’s been covering men’s health for over 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post newspapers.