Quit-smoking action plan
Want to quit smoking? Improve your odds of success by making a plan to steer clear of temptations and cope with cravings.
If you're like many smokers and other tobacco users, you tried quitting in the past but started smoking again. Creating a quit-smoking plan may improve your chances of stopping for good. Having a plan helps you set expectations, line up the support you need, prepare for cravings, identify and practice coping skills, and stay motivated.
If you're thinking about quitting, go ahead and pick a day to quit. Here are a few do's and don'ts. Do: Pick a random day as your quit day or pick a day that holds special meaning for you. Do: Pick a day within the next month, to allow time to create a quit-smoking plan. Don't: Pick a quit day too far in the future or you may find it hard to follow through.
The more support you have, the more likely you are to stop smoking. Tell your family, friends and co-workers that you are going to quit smoking. Ask them to check in to see how you're doing. Ask friends who smoke not to smoke around you or offer you a cigarette. Ask them to be patient with your changes in mood. Also consider joining a support group in person or online.
Don't be afraid to ask your doctor for help to stop smoking. Treatments that can lessen cravings include nicotine replacement, which can be administered with a skin patch, lozenges, gum, inhalers or nasal sprays. Non-nicotine medication can also help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms by mimicking how nicotine functions in your body.
Consider what you don't like about smoking and why you want to quit smoking. Do you want to feel better? Are you worried about health consequences, such as lung cancer and heart disease? Set a good example for your kids? Rid yourself of that lingering smoke smell on your hair, skin and clothes? Write it all down and carry the list with you. Each time you go to pick up a cigarette or other tobacco product, read your list and remind yourself why you want to quit.
If you've tried quitting abruptly a few times and it hasn't worked for you, you might want to start the quit-smoking process by gradually cutting back on your smoking. To cut back: 1. Delay your first cigarette of the day. 2. Smoke only half of each cigarette. 3. Progressively lengthen the time between cigarettes. 4. Buy only one pack of cigarettes at a time. 5. Trade one smoking break a day for physical activity. Build on each success until you've entirely quit smoking.
Stress and anxiety can increase your urge to smoke and derail your effort to quit smoking. Use stress management and relaxation techniques to keep stress and anxiety under control. 1. Prioritize your tasks. 2. Take breaks when you need to. 3. Practice relaxation exercises, deep breathing or meditation. 4. Listen to your favorite music. 5. Find a creative outlet such as art, music, crafts or dance.
Quitting smoking is hard, so reward yourself for your successes. Made it through the day without a cigarette? Treat yourself to something special. Made it through the week? Count how much you've saved by not buying cigarettes. Use the savings for a special treat or invest the money for the future. Reward yourself for not smoking by doing something you enjoy every day, such as spending extra time with your children or grandchildren, going to a ballgame, soaking in the tub, or watching a movie. Each small success can help you reach your goal to quit smoking for good.
For most people, it takes several tries to overcome tobacco dependence. If you've tried to quit smoking before but took it up again, think about what struggles you faced and why you started again. What helped you stop cravings and what didn't? What made you pick up that first cigarette after you'd quit? If you didn't use stop-smoking products last time, consider them this time. Same goes for counseling. Think what else you can do differently this time to quit smoking for good.