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 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.


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

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

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    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!

    This is a great blog. It offers 10 great tips that offer support and strategies to quit smoking, along with reassurance that many people are battling this addiction. There are many health benefits that comes with quitting, and this blog listed a few! The health benefits of quitting are not only limited to the smoker, but have a positive effect on the individuals that they are surrounded by as well. Second hand smoke can have a negative effect on people’s health, and sometimes people cannot control who is smoking around them. Respiratory diseases are very common among smokers, and as the disease process progresses, the ability of the smoker to perform certain tasks decrease. Some people get to a point where they cannot live without the assistance of oxygen. It saddens me to see people, especially young people, in a critical condition due to their smoking habit. I cannot say I understand how difficult it is to quit, but I would like for those in the community that are looking for help to know that it is available.

    As an RN, I feel that this blog contains some beneficial information and great tips to assist a smoker with wanting to finally come to the decision to quit one of the most addictive, legal substances available today. I am a smoker, and I have attempted multiple times to quit this difficult habit. I was able to quit for 6 months however, I like most, succumbed to my addiction. There are many great strategic tips in this blog to offer support to a smoker. The health benefits of quitting do not just affect the smoker but their loved ones as well. I can honestly say that when I was able to quit smoking, that I was able to breathe better and I did not feel as fatigued or out of breath when attempting to perform an everyday chore. Honestly, it is amazing though how easily it is to become “hooked” again. It’s as if it happens within a matter of hours once you start smoking again. The blog offers a suggestion that I may try when I finally decide to try once again to kick the habit: Planning activities to occupy my time and get my mind off having that cigarette.

    As a smoker, quitting is harder than it looks. This article does have great pointers but quitting is easier said than done!
    Cold turkey works for some and the side effects from medication such as Chantix is not tolerable to many. How do I know? I have smoked for 18 years of my life. Quit a few times, but smoking has always seemed to find a way back into my life. Yes, smoking is bad for you! Outside of turning your teeth yellow and smelling back, smoking increases your risk for death related to lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases. How do I know? I am a nurse; and I have to educate myself and my patients on the importance of smoking cessation. This is always one hard topic for me to discuss because I know the effects of smoking and I am also under the spell of the nicotine queen.
    Yes there are all kinds of ways to quit, devices to quit, medications to take and apps to download on your phone, but as a smoker and a nurse, quitting means going to war with your brain and your body. QUITTING IS HARD!
    As a nurse I am able to have both sympathy and empathy when my patients explain to me their battle with tobacco. I let them know that I completely understand as I go through the same struggle with them. I have to not only take care of myself but I care for my patients.

    These reasons such as medication, be prepared for challenges, it’s never too late to quit etc if strongly followed can lead to quitting of cigarettes permanently.

    Your article is very good and very valuable knowledge in it.

    Smoking is a difficult habit to give up. Anyone who has tried will know it’s not easy.
    But what’s clear is that it is possible. We put it out to our readers and here’s what helped them quit.

    ‘I dislike smokers now’

    I stopped 27 years ago within one hour. It was easy to quit – I put a cigarette on the lounge table at 8am. I pushed it around the table and looked at it. I asked my family, “How can a cigarette tell me what to do. It’s a dead object.”

    At 9am, I took my cigarettes and dumped them in the bin. It is now 27 years later. I hate cigarettes; I don’t crave them. I play golf and I’m fit and healthy. It is all in the mind. One does not need cigarettes.

    Meds are also help to quit smoking.

    I’m 60 years old & have smoked since I was 14. One of the tips suggested was to get rid of triggers. EVERYTHING is a trigger. I know the only way for me to quit is cold turkey. I am determined not to buy another cigarette. I can tell my health has been affected & I can tell I’m finding it harder to breath. If I want to live, I have to quit.

    Very useful article I found. This information is very true and I will recommend this article to my friends and family.

    Great blog as a Register Nurse this information was very beneficial it helps to know the steps that lead to success. I love how it mention know thing the withdraw symptoms this very validate. One withdrawal sign I notice is the person mood changes. I also think its beneficial to ensure that the patient has nicotine patch already order. I found that this gets overlook in big organization which leaves the patient in a vulnerable situation. its always good to discovery the person reason for quitting to helps to set realistic goals. I also agree to not to judge if the person if they slip up and smoke. its always good to focus on the progress being made.

    It would be easy to quit smoking after following these points. Post sounds informative. Thank you so much to provide such amazing tips.

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Page last reviewed: November 13, 2017
Page last updated: November 13, 2017