Quit Smoking (cont.)

If you decided to use a support program, use it fully. Go to the sessions. Call your telephone quitline. Visit your Internet site. The more support you get, the more likely you will quit for good.

Are you using medicine to help you quit? If so, follow the directions. If you don't, you're more likely to go back to smoking. Also, don't rush to stop using the medicine. Stick with it for at least 12 weeks. Or follow your doctor's advice.

Keep Busy
  • Keep very busy today.
    • Go to a movie.
    • Exercise.
    • Take long walks.
    • Go bike riding.
  • Spend as much free time as you can where smoking isn't allowed. Some good places are malls, libraries, museums, theaters, department stores, and places of worship.
  • Do you miss having a cigarette in your hand? Hold something else. Try a pencil, a paper clip, a marble, or a water bottle.
  • Do you miss having something in your mouth? Try toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, lollipops, hard candy, sugarfree gum, or carrot sticks.
  • Drink a lot of water and fruit juice. Avoid drinks like wine and beer. They can trigger you to smoke.
Stay Away from What Tempts You
  • Instead of smoking after meals, get up from the table. Brush your teeth or go for a walk.
  • If you always smoke while driving, try something new: Listen to a new radio station or your favorite music. Take a different route. Or take the train or bus for a while, if you can.
  • Stay away from things that you connect with smoking. Do it today and for the next few weeks. These may include:
    • Watching your favorite TV show
    • Sitting in your favorite chair
    • Having a drink before dinner
  • Do things and go places where smoking is not allowed. Keep this up until you're sure that you can stay smoke-free.
  • Remember, most people don't smoke. Try to be near non-smokers if you must be somewhere you'll be tempted to smoke, for example at a party or in a bar.
Managing Cravings when you really crave a cigarette

Remember: The urge to smoke will come and go. Try to wait it out. Or look at the plan you made last week. You wrote down steps to take at a time like this. Try them! You can also try these tips:

  • Keep other things around instead of cigarettes. Try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, raisins, or sugarfree gum.
  • Wash your hands or the dishes when you want a cigarette very badly. Or take a shower.
  • Learn to relax quickly by taking deep breaths.
    • Take 10 slow, deep breaths and hold the last one.
    • Then breathe out slowly.
    • Relax all of your muscles.
    • Picture a soothing, pleasant scene.
    • Just get away from it all for a moment.
    • Think only about that peaceful image and nothing else.
  • Light incense or a candle instead of a cigarette.
  • Where you are and what is going on can make you crave a cigarette. A change of scene can really help. Go outside, or go to a different room. You can also try changing what you are doing.
  • No matter what, don't think, "Just one won't hurt." It will hurt. It will undo your work so far.
  • Remember: Trying something to beat the urge is always better than trying nothing.

Find New Things To Do

Starting today you may want to create some new habits. Here are some things you might try:
  • Swimming, jogging, playing tennis, bike riding, or shooting baskets. It's hard to smoke and do these things at the same time. How about walking your dog?
  • Keep your hands busy. Do crossword puzzles or needlework. Paint. Do woodworking, gardening, or household chores. You can also write a letter or paint your nails.
  • Enjoy having a clean tasting mouth. Brush your teeth often and use mouthwash.
  • Take a stretch when you're tempted to reach for a cigarette.

Set aside time for the activities that satisfy you and mean the most to you. There are natural breaks even during a busy day. After dinner, first thing in the morning, or just before bed are good examples. You'll also need plenty of rest while you get used to your smoke-free lifestyle.

Remember the Instant Rewards of Quitting

Your body begins to heal within 20 minutes after your last cigarette. The poison gas and nicotine start to leave your body. Your pulse rate goes back to normal. The oxygen in your blood rises to a normal level.

Within a few days you may notice other things:

  • Your senses of taste and smell are better.
  • You can breathe easier.
  • Your "smoker's hack" starts to go away. (You may keep coughing for a while, though.)

The nicotine leaves your body within three days. Your body starts to repair itself. At first, you may feel worse instead of better.

Withdrawal feelings can be hard. But they are a sign that your body is healing.

Finally...the Long-term Rewards of Quitting

Tobacco use in the United States causes more than 450,000 deaths each year. Of those deaths, 170,000 are from cancer.


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