Most of us are well aware of the risks associated with smoking, but kicking the habit is no easy task. For many people, smoking is a way to relieve stress or cope with boredom and can become both physically and psychologically addicting.
If your efforts to quit have failed in the past, you are not alone. But with proper planning and the right type of support, you can free yourself of the habit. Here is some of the best advice for quitting smoking and 14 tips that can help you resist tobacco cravings.
14 tips for quitting smoking
- Get motivated. The first step to quitting smoking is making up your mind to do it in the first place.
- Develop a plan. Without a plan, it can be easy to slide back into old habits. One strategy you can try is the 3 As:
- Avoid places, situations, or even people that make it hard to resist cravings.
- Alternatives include chewing on straws, toothpicks, bubble gum, cinnamon sticks, popsicles, crunchy vegetables, mints, hard candies, swizzle sticks, or licorice.
- Adjust by keeping busy, working on hobbies, taking long walks, exercising, hiking, calling a friend, or going to places that prohibit smoking, such as the mall, movies, stores, or restaurants.
- Identify and avoid triggers. Identify activities, places, or people that make you have a greater urge to smoke, then avoid them. Common triggers include stress, alcohol, coffee, and hanging out with people who smoke.
- Stay busy. Finding productive activities or hobbies can help you stay occupied and distract you from the urge to smoke.
- Keep your mouth busy. The American Cancer Society suggests munching on something like carrot sticks to give your mouth something to do and help replace the habit of smoking.
- Get help from family and friends. Let your family and friends know about your decision to quit smoking. Ask for their support and advice.
- Reduce stress. Manage stress by finding other ways to relax.
- Remind yourself of the benefits. When you feel tempted to reach for a cigarette, remind yourself of why you are trying to quit. Remind yourself that quitting smoking can improve your health and enhance your quality of life. You can lower your risk of health problems such as:
- Take small steps. If quitting smoking cold turkey is too overwhelming, make a series of small goals and work on them step by step. This can gradually increase your confidence.
- Don’t get discouraged. Minor setbacks are common. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, use them as lessons that can help you continue on your quitting journey.
- Be patient. Quitting smoking requires steady dedication and a positive attitude. Be patient with yourself and with the process.
- Celebrate achievements. Staying smoke-free for one day, one week, or one year are all reasons to celebrate. No matter how small, reward yourself for achievements.
- Try nicotine replacement therapy. FDA-approved medications include
- Try alternative therapies. Certain therapies can help you focus on learning new coping skills and help you break your smoking habit. Therapies include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Motivational therapy
Top Tips for Quitting Smoking. American Lung Association: https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/i-want-to-quit/top-tips-for-quitting-smoking
Smoking, 5 Steps to Quit .American Dental Association: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/smoking-5-steps-to-quit
How to Quit Smoking .HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/how-to-quit-smoking.htm
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