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Preparing to quit: 10 tips to help you quit smoking

Posted on by Crystal Bruce, MPH

Broken cigarette lies on a calendar sheet. Tobacco wake. On the calendar inscription marker.

Each year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to quit during the Great American Smokeout. Most people who smoke want to quit, but they also know quitting is hard…it can take several attempts to succeed.

Here are some tips to help you quit for good:

  1.  Find Your Reason to Quit
    To get motivated, find your reason to quit. It may be to protect your family from secondhand smoke. Or to lower your chance of getting cancer, heart disease, or some other serious health condition. Find a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.
  2. Set a Date
    Once you’ve made the decision to quit, set a “quit date” within the next month. Most smokers have tried to quit before, and sometimes people get discouraged thinking about previous attempts. Instead, treat them as steps on the road to success. Learn from what worked and what didn’t work, and apply these the next time you try to quit.
  3. Medication can help
    Using nicotine replacement products (such as nicotine gum and nicotine patches) or FDA-approved, non-nicotine cessation medications can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase the likelihood that you will quit. Ask your doctor about what option is best for you.It’s more than just tossing your cigarettes out. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nearly all smokers have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal when they try to quit. Knowing this will help you deal with withdrawal symptoms that can occur, such as bad moods and really wanting to smoke.
  4. You don’t have to quit alone
    Telling friends and family that you’re trying to quit and getting their support will help the process. Expert help is available from a number of groups. 1-800-QUIT-NOW offers free telephone support; and Smokefree.gov is an on-line resource. There’s even a quit smoking app for your phone! Check out CDC Tobacco Free on Facebook for on-line support.
  5. Be prepared for challenges
    The urge to smoke doesn’t last long – usually only 3 to 5 minutes, but those moments can feel intense. Before you quit, plan new ways to occupy your time. You can exercise to blow off steam, listen to your favorite music, connect with friends, treat yourself to a massage, or make time for a hobby. Try to avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after you stop smoking.
  6. Clean house
    Once you’ve smoked your last cigarette, remove any triggers or things that remind you of smoking. For example, throw out all your ashtrays and lighters. Wash any clothes that smell like smoke, and clean your carpets, draperies, and upholstery. If you smoked in your car, clean it out, too. It is best not to see or smell anything that reminds you of smoking.
  7. Get moving
    Some research shows that being active can help ease some withdrawal symptoms. When you feel the urge to reach for a cigarette, get active – try a yoga class or put on your jogging shoes instead. And you can burn calories, too!
  8. Quitting can save money
    In addition to all the health benefits, one of the perks of giving up cigarettes is the money you will save. There are online calculators that can help figure out how much you will save.
  9. It’s never too late to quit
    As soon as you quit, your health can immediately start to improve. After only 20 minutes without smoking, your heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, your blood’s carbon monoxide level falls back to normal. In just two to three months, your chance of having a heart attack starts to go down. In the long run, you will also lower your chance of getting cancer and other serious diseases. While it’s best to quit smoking as early as possible, quitting at any age will improve the length and quality of your life.
  10. Try and try again
    Most people make several attempts before giving up cigarettes for good. If you slip, don’t get discouraged. Instead, think about what led to your relapse. Use it as an opportunity to step up your commitment to quitting. Think about what helped you during those previous tries and what you’ll do differently the next time. Above all, don’t give up.

Remember this good news!

More than half of all adult smokers have quit, and you can, too. Millions of people have learned to live without cigarettes. Quitting smoking is an important step you can take to protect your health and the health of your family.

Resources:

Posted on by Crystal Bruce, MPHTags , , , , ,

One comment on “Preparing to quit: 10 tips to help you quit smoking”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    I really like the recommendation that you don’t have to quit alone! This is something many people struggle with doing because they are trying to fight nicotine addiction alone and without the help of any kind of medications, but people should be aware that there’s no shame in asking for help!

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