|This page guides you from thinking about stopping smoking
through actually doing it-from the day you quit to quitting for keeps.
It gives tips on fighting temptation-and what to do if you give in-and
on avoiding weight gain (a handy Snack Calorie
Chart is included). By telling you what to expect, it can help you
through the day-by-day process of becoming a nonsmoker.
On this page, you'll find a variety of tips and helpful hints on
kicking your smoking habit. Take a few moments to look at each
suggestion carefully. Pick those you feel comfortable with and decide
today that you're going to use them to quit. It may take a while to find
the combination that's right for you, but you can quit for good,
even if you've tried to quit before.
Many smokers have successfully given up cigarettes by replacing them
with new habits without quitting "cold turkey," planning a
special program, or seeking professional help.
The following approaches include many of those most popular with
ex-smokers. Remember that successful methods are as different as the
people who use them. What may seem silly to others may be just what you
need to quit. So don't be embarrassed to try something new. These
methods can make your own personal efforts a little easier.
Pick the ideas that make sense to you. And then follow through.
You'll have a much better chance of success.
PREPARING YOURSELF FOR
- Decide positively that you want to quit. Try to avoid negative
thoughts about how difficult it might be.
- List all the reasons you want to quit. Every night before going to
bed, repeat one of those reasons 10 times.
- Develop strong personal reasons in addition to your health and
obligations to others. For example, think of all the time you waste
taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, hunting for a
- Begin to condition yourself physically: Start a modest exercise
program; drink more fluids; get plenty of rest; and avoid fatigue.
- Set a target date for quitting-perhaps a special day such as your
birthday, your anniversary, or the Great American Smokeout. If you
smoke heavily at work, quit during your vacation so that you're
already committed to quitting when you return. Make the date sacred
and don't let anything change it. This will make it easy for you to
keep track of the day you became a nonsmoker and to celebrate that
date every year.
KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT
- Have realistic expectations-quitting isn't easy, but it's not
impossible either. More than 3 million Americans quit every year.
- Understand that withdrawal symptoms are temporary. They
usually last only 1-2 weeks.
- Know that most relapses occur in the first week after quitting,
when withdrawal symptoms are strongest, and your body is still
dependent on nicotine. Be aware that this will be your hardest time
and use all your personal resources, willpower, family, friends, and
the tips on this page get you through this critical period
- Know that most other relapses occur in the first 3 months after
quitting, when situational triggers, such as a particularly
stressful event, occur unexpectedly. These are the times when people
reach for cigarettes automatically, because they associate smoking
with relaxing. This is the kind of situation that's hard to prepare
yourself for until it happens, so it's especially important to
recognize it if it does happen. Remember that smoking is a
habit, but a habit you can break.
- Realize that most successful ex-smokers quit for good only after
several attempts. You may be one of those who can quit on your first
try. But if you're not, don't give up. Try again.
INVOLVING SOMEONE ELSE
- Bet a friend you can quit on your target date. Put your cigarette
money aside for every day you don't smoke and forfeit it if you
smoke. (But if you do smoke, don't give up. Simply strengthen
your resolve and try again.)
- Ask your friend or spouse to quit with you.
- Tell your family and friends that you're quitting and when. They
can be an important source of support both before and after you