How to Quit Smoking WITHOUT DRUGS … During Pregnancy

This blog post is meant to give you the information you need to decide on the best way for you or someone you love to quit smoking…without pharmaceutical support … that is, quit smoking without drugs. This is especially important if you are pregnant!!

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series on smoking.

To be really successful in quitting smoking you need to look at the process as it affects your whole family and your whole life. If you are pregnant, you really need to reduce your smoke exposure! If you have children, you need to reduce their smoke exposure to keep then healthy!

Remember, you are not just quitting smoking, you are changing the habits you have developed around smoking: getting rid of old, unhealthy habits; and starting new healthy habits.

The more support systems you put in place to help you, the better.

How to Quit Smoking Without Drugs - Quit the HABIT

Get the Support You Need

 Get Yourself in the  right Frame of Mind.

Develop an attitude that will Support You as You Quit. Here are a few pointers: 

  • Remind yourself frequently during the day of the reasons you’re quitting . You are quitting to give your child  a better chance of being vibrant and healthy, and, to avoid the problems that come from exposure to second hand smoke. You are quitting because you don’t  want your child to become a smoker himself when he grows older. Maybe you’re quitting so you can be healthier and more energetic, and so you can be your healthiest self as your children grow up? Reminding yourself of these facts is a very powerful way to encourage yourself  as you go along the journey.
  • Remember: You are not quitting for the rest of your life right now, you are just deciding, each time you get a craving, whether to pick up the cigarette or the Argeeleh or not.
  • Celebrate your wins: Every single time you resist a craving, acknowledge yourself  for making a difficult decision.Learn to become your own cheerleader, to look for the things you are doing right rather than the things you are doing ‘wrong’. The more you appreciate yourself for the small wins, each time, the easier it will be to resist the cigarette or Argeeleh, the next time and the next time. Before you know it, it will be a whole day, then a week and then a month and the worst is already over!
  • Stay present: Smoking is a habit and sometimes you will reach for a cigarette without thinking. If you do light up, notice what you are doing. Don’y start judging yourself as a failure, instead take the opportunity to do something different! Maybe decide to smoke only a part of it rather than the whole thing, or to throw it out and use one of your replacement habits like breathing through a straw, taking a drink of water…… .
  • If you have a setback, forgive yourself. Maybe say something  to yourself like: ” I am doing the best I can”. And instead of giving up, decide that you’ll do better  next time. . None of us was able to get up and walk the first time. If we had not kept on trying to walk where would we be now?
  • Remind yourself: success happens as a result of the lessons we learn by failing!  Many people have  setbacks  when they try to quit smoking. And statistically only a few people successfully quit on their first try!  Keep firm to your decision and learn from your setbacks. You will get better at avoiding them. with time
  • Create New Activities – New Habits – to Replace Smoking: People who smoke usually have rituals around smoking: Some get up in the morning and light up a cigarette immediately. If that is  what you do, you may want to replace the cigarette with a deep breathing exercise, yoga, prayer, or meditation. One of my patients dads smoked only when he was doing the dishes after meals. He decided to switch to paper plates and gradually replaced the cigarette  with a walk outdoors with his wife and baby.

Be Prepared

Identify the Times When You are Most at Risk of Smoking …These are known as triggers for smoking.

 Know your triggers, and be prepared: Plan ways ahead of time to deal with the cravings you may get at these times. Have new habits prepared to replace the old unhealthy habits around smoking. 

Most people tend to smoke in certain situations:

  • When they are under stress.
  • When they are around other smokers.
  • When they drink.
  • After meals.
  • When they get in their car.


How to deal with different triggers:

  • Managing Stress:

    Many of us tend to feel stressed a lot of the time. Managing stress in healthy ways not only makes us feel better, but we also become more capable of dealing with whatever is happening in the moment without resorting to smoking. Here are a few easy ways to start :

    • Do deep abdominal breathing. Most people tend to hold their breath when they are stressed which lowers the amount of oxygen going to the brain and body and makes stress worse!  A quick, healthy way to deal with stress, is taking three deep breaths. Breathing deeply stops the stress response and and calms you. To get into the habit of deep breathing here are some pointers:
      • Set your alarm to go off at least three times a day so you practice deep breathing.
      • Take three deep abdominal breaths whenever you notice you are feeling nervous or on edge. Make it fun, imagine your belly is a balloon and you are blowing it up and then letting all the air out. Maybe you can even make the sound a balloon makes when you release the air from it.
      • Decide that whenever you do a certain thing like use the bathroom, open a door, or talk on the phone, you are going to practice deep breathing.
    • Practice gratitude.Gratitude is a free, quick and easy way to relax and improve your mood.Whenever you  notice yourself getting really stressed:
      • Notice how you feel.
      • Take three deep breaths.
      • Think of three things you are grateful for . Really imagine them in your mind  using all your senses as if they are really happening.
    • Get out in nature for 15 minutes every day. Nature has a way of calming the stress response. us Sunshine will help reset your biological rhythms so you sleep better.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Exercise is a great new habit to  relieve stress and to replace smoking. When you get a craving to light up, go for a walk instead, Run up and down a flight of streps, anything to get your heart rate up.  When you have time, walking  or biking with your family is a great way for you to get into better shape and to keep from gaining weight. It also sets a great example for your children. You  may want to use  a few minutes of your walk telling your older children why you are quitting smoking. This is a good way to talk to your kids about the bad effects of smoking, and, about how hard it is to quit once you start. They will remember these talks when they are teenagers and under a lot of pressure from their friends to start smoking!
  • Avoid being around smokers.

    If you can’t avoid them just do not be around them  while they are smoking.

  • Develop new habits around your triggers:

    • If you light up when you get in the car, here are some thoughts:
      • Carry a straw with you to breathe through.
      • Squeeze a stress ball.
      • Turn up the music really loud and sing with it ( that will get you breathing deeply and releasing stress!).
    • If you smoke after eating:
      • Replace the cigarette with a healthy cup of green tea or chamomile tea or a nice tall glass of water.
      • Get in the habit of an after dinner walk.
    • Healthy habits for any time you are triggered or get a craving: 
      • Distract yourself, think about things that you need to get done the rest of the day.
      • Repeat a positive statement such as, “Every day it gets easier,” “I can do anything I put my mind to,”.
      • Remind yourself of successes you have had in the past. You are a successful person, you learned how to defy gravity and walk, didn’t you?
      • Have a healthy snack like a piece of fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate and eat it slowly and savor every bite.
      • Drink a glass of water or a nice cup of green, or chamomile tea.
      • Brainstorm with people who know you and love you to come up with new, healthier habits to  replace smoking with. Here are a few thoughts:
        • Knitting, crocheting, writing or drawing will keep your hands busy and distract you.
        • Take three ‘square’ breaths. whenever you get the urge to light up.
          • Breathe in through your nose to a slow count of 6 filling your belly up with air.
          • Hold for a count of 6.
          • Breathe out through your nose to a count of six emptying your belly.
          • Then hold for another count of six.
        • Hug your beautiful baby as you slow down your breathing and really feel how they feel and smell. personally, I think new baby smell  is the the best perfume in the world!
  • Keep a diary of your successes.

    Just before you go to bed at night write down a list of all  your successes for the day.


Alternative Therapies to Quit Smoking Without Drugs:

  • Acupuncture :

    Acupuncture, especially ear (auricular) acupuncture has proven to be very helpful in some studies to help decrease cravings. Large studies show mixed results about the effectiveness of acupuncture.

    It is a drug free alternative that many of my patients have found helpful but, just as with any therapy, different people respond differently. Talk to your doctor or smoking cessation team about using it as part of your plan to quit smoking.

  • Talk therapy :

    Talk therapy can be very useful to relieve stress.

  • Hypnosis: 

    Working with an ethical experienced hypnotherapist can be an important part of you plan to quit smoking. Most studies show that it is a very useful tool to help smokers overcome cravings.

All of these methods have been used successfully, though there are no large clinical studies to prove that they have consistent results in large numbers of people.

Finally … Reward Yourself

Celebrate even small successes as you replace you smoking habit with new, healthy habits! But be careful that you don’t substitute smoking with another unhealthy habit. For example, many people start to  snack on junk food when they have the craving to light up. Don’t do it!

  • Instead, reward yourself with healthy habits when you reach milestones. Consider taking a healthy cooking class as a reward; pamper yourself with a spa day for a significant milestone (no smoking for a month!). Get yourself a new workout tape or DVD. Whatever you do, be very careful you do not replace smoking with eating or a different  unhealthy habit that will sabotage your health and fitness.



What has worked for you? What has been your greatest challenge in the quitting struggle? What healthy habits have you developed as a result of quitting? 

Please leave a comment and share your experience, so others can benefit from your experience. Or ask a question … I’m here to help. 

Thank you for visiting.
To your holistic health,

Ask Dr. Linda