5 Keys to Quitting

5 Keys to Quitting

Keep the following 5 keys to quitting in mind to get a strong start and increase your chances of success:

  1. Get Ready to Quit: Preparation is the first key to quitting. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed.
    • Set a definite date to quit, perhaps on a day with special significance like a birthday or anniversary.
    • Before the quit date, be sure to remove all cigarettes and tobacco products from your home. Remove all ash trays and don’t allow other people to smoke in your home or car.
    • Prepare yourself to quit completely…not even a puff! Remember, you’re not giving up anything, you’re gaining everything. Think about all the benefits of quitting, how much better you will feel, and how much better your family and friends will feel.
  2. Get Support: It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, the more help you have, the better your chances of achieving a smoke-free life.
    • Your friends, family and co-workers can play an important role in helping you quit smoking. Tell them you are quitting and want their support. Ask them to please not smoke around you or leave cigarettes or matches in your view.
    • Your doctor or healthcare provider can also provide valuable support and direct you to other sources of help.
    • Participate in individual or group counseling. Counseling programs are available in your local community or even over the phone. Studies have show that getting counseling doubles your chances of success. Learn more about counseling and other quit smoking programs.
  3. Get New Behaviors: Most people find breaking their psychological dependence on cigarettes to be the hardest part of quitting. Dealing with old mindsets and learning new behaviors is key to breaking the habit.
    • Avoid triggers that could create urges to smoke. Try to distract yourself with 101 things to do besides smoking when you do have an urge to smoke.
    • Changing your routine can help your mind adjust to your new smoke-free life. When you first quit, try to do some everyday things a little bit differently, like taking a different route to work, or eating in a different place.
    • Track and manage cravings by recording them in your craving action plan.
    • A healthy diet and exercise fit right in with a healthy smoke-free lifestyle. In terms of helping you break the habit, these changes will help reduce stress, boost your self confidence and generally feel better all around.
    • Quitting smoking is not about what you’re giving up, it’s about what you’re gaining. Have fun with it and do something you enjoy every day.
  4. Get Medication (and Use it Correctly): Studies show that using nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) and other medicinal aids double your chances of quitting.
    • Ask your doctor about different kinds of nicotine replacement therapy and which NRT is right for you.
    • If you are pregnant, under 18 years of age, or smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, talk to your doctor before taking any medications.
  5. Get Ready for the Challenges Ahead: When you quit smoking, you may face difficult situations, from cravings to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes you’ll feel more positive than others, and you may relapse. It’s OK.
    • Many people report that stress is one of the main reasons why they smoke in the first place, and likewise why people relapse into smoking once they have quit. If you have a relapse, don’t get discouraged. Most people try several times before they quit for good. Studies show that, the more times people try to quit, the better their chances of success.
    • When you’re quitting, try to avoid drinking alcohol or being around other smokers. Putting yourself in these situations will lower your chance of success.
    • Many people who quit smoking experience a small amount of weight gain, usually less than 10 pounds. Eating healthy and exercise will help, but even if you do gain a few pounds don’t let it get you down. Remember, it is far more beneficial to your health to quit smoking than to keep off a few pounds. And you can always concentrate on losing any weight once you successfully quit.
    • For a time while you are quitting, you may experience bad moods or depression, which are often symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. These effects are only temporary, and there are medications that can help alleviate these feelings.

Complete a quit day checklist to prepare yourself for the big day.

Smoking Fact

Smoking low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes appears to have little effect on reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.