Five Tips for Smoking Cessation

Jul 6 • 2015

Did you know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States? More than 480,000 Americans are killed by smoking every year. Quitting smoking is the best way to prevent smoking-related disease, but anyone who has tried to quit in the past understands how difficult it can be.

Preparing ahead of time is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. Once you have decided you are ready to quit, start with these five tips:

Pick a Date
Choose a day within the next 14 days to quit smoking. By doing this, you give yourself time to prepare. When you’re picking a day, think carefully about what your plans are. If you know you will be stressed out because of a work project or going out with friends, these are likely times you will be tempted to smoke. Avoid making those kind of days your quit day.

Announce Your Plan
Let your family and friends know that you plan to quit smoking so they can help support you and hold you accountable. Tell them what they can do for you to help make the process easier. Explain to your loved ones why you are quitting and ask them to check in to see how things are going. Additionally, tell them about what triggers your smoking so they can help you cope with those situations in a different way. Make sure they understand that no matter how tempted you are, they should not allow you to have a cigarette. If you have a friend or family member who smokes, encourage them to quit with you. If this is not an option, ask them not to smoke when you are around.

Plan for Challenges
The first few weeks of trying to quit smoking are the most difficult. You will find yourself dealing with temptations to smoke, withdrawal symptoms, severe cravings, and feelings of discomfort. Anticipating how these will make you feel and impact your life will make it easier for you to cope without reverting to smoking. Determine some smoke-free activities you can participate in to help you pass the time until the difficult moments pass.

Dispose of All Tobacco
Temptation will be one of the hardest parts of quitting, so it is important to remove your “triggers”, or things that remind you of smoking. Get rid of your cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, and lighters in your car, home, and office. Clean your clothing, furniture, car, and sheets to remove the smell of smoke. Do not keep a pack of cigarettes around “just in case” because this will only encourage you to smoke.

Talk to Your Doctor
If you’re having difficulty quitting on your own, speak to your doctor about other options. There are a variety of medications that can help you quit smoking, many of which don’t need a prescription. Things like nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges can make quitting easier.

Were you a smoker in the past who has successfully quit? Share the method that worked best for you in the comments below.