Steps to quitting
- Set a quit date
- Change your environment. The night before your quit date, get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters. The last thing you need on your quit day is to wake up to a pack of cigarettes staring you in the face.
Get social support
A friend or family member can help soothe the rough spots. Get group, individual or telephone counseling.
Learn new skills and behaviors
- Learn to reduce your stress. Exercise, read a book, go for a walk.
- Change your routine. Drive a different route to work. Substitute your coffee for tea, or better yet, water. Eliminate alcohol for the first few weeks. See our page on situational cravings.
- Remember the four d's when the urge to smoke occurs:
- Delay: Wait two to three minutes. Urges will get shorter and further apart if you do not smoke.
- Deep breathing: Breathe in slowly and deeply. Hold your breath and count to five. Breathe out slowly. Repeat five times.
- Drink water: Water satisfies the need to put something in your mouth.
- Distraction: Whatever you were doing when the urge came, do something else.
- Keep something to chew on. Keep a supply of gum, hard candies, straws, cinnamon sticks, etc. available to chew or suck on.
- Reward yourself. Short term and long term rewards are important to keep you on track.
Get medication and use it correctly
Nicotine replacement has been known to double your chances of quitting. Medications will “take the edge off.”
FDA approved meds:
- Bupropion SR (also known as Zyban)
- Varenicline (also known as Chantix)
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
- Nasal Spray
Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations
Be prepared for the next family party or social situation with your friends. Think about what you will do in situations where smokers are present and the cravings are intense. What will you do to succeed?
Sometimes we are successful on the first attempt to stop smoking. For the majority of us, however, it takes several attempts to become a non-smoker. Don’t get discouraged. You will break this addiction and be a non-smoker.