Smoking and Heart Disease (cont.)

How to Quit Smoking

There's no one way to quit smoking that works for everyone. To quit, you must be ready both emotionally and mentally. You must also want to quit smoking for yourself and not to please your friends or family. It helps to plan ahead. This guide may help get you started.

What Should I Do First to Stop Smoking?

Pick a date to stop smoking and then stick to it.

Write down your reasons for quitting smoking. Read over the list every day, before and after you quit. Here are some tips to think about.

  • Write down when you smoke, why you smoke, and what you are doing when you smoke. You will learn what triggers you to smoke.

  • Stop smoking cigarettes in certain situations (such as during your work break or after dinner) before actually quitting.

  • Make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking. Be ready to do something else when you want to smoke.

  • Ask your doctor about using nicotine gum or patches. Some people find these aids helpful.

  • Join a smoking cessation support group or program. Call your local chapter of the American Lung Association.

How Can I Avoid Smoking Again?

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  • Don't carry a lighter, matches, or cigarettes. Keep all of these smoking reminders out of sight.

  • If you live with a smoker, ask that person not to smoke in your presence, or better yet, to quit with you.

  • Don't focus on what you are missing. Think about the healthier way of life you are gaining.

  • When you get the urge to smoke, take a deep breath. Hold it for 10 seconds and release it slowly. Repeat this several times until the urge to smoke is gone.

  • Keep your hands busy. Doodle, play with a pencil or straw, or work on a computer.

  • Change activities that were connected to smoking cigarettes. Take a walk or read a book instead of taking a cigarette break.

  • When you can, avoid places, people, and situations associated with smoking. Hang out with nonsmokers or go to places that don't allow smoking, such as the movies, museums, shops, or libraries.

  • Don't substitute food or sugar-based products for cigarette smoking. Eat low-calorie, healthful foods (such as carrot or celery sticks, sugar-free hard candies) or chew gum when the urge to smoke strikes so you can avoid weight gain.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, but limit alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They can trigger urges to smoke.

  • Exercise. Exercising will help you relax.

  • Get support for quitting. Tell others about your milestones with pride.

  • Work with your doctor to develop a plan using over-the-counter or prescription nicotine-replacement aids.

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