You know you need to quit smoking. You really wish you could quit. But cigarette smoking has become such a huge part of your life that you just can’t envision waking up in the morning without reaching for a cigarette, concluding a meal without lighting up, or spending time with your friends – who are smokers – without smoking yourself.
So, how does one go about stopping smoking once and for all? An effective strategy can help. If you are armed with a bit of knowledge, you can greatly enhance your odds of success. You just have to know what you are facing.
Here are several tips that may help you stop cigarette smoking:
- Write it down. Write down your arguments for quitting on index cards so you can refer to them when you are tempted to smoke.
- Examine your motives for smoking. Maintain a diary before you quit to document your feelings about your habit. You want to include particulars about where you light up most frequently, when you smoke, with whom and why. Review your journal after four or five days to identify feelings and circumstances that bring about your nicotine cravings.
- Alter your habits. Make a note of your “triggers” on the left side of a piece of paper and on the right side, write down how you plan to deal or cope with those situations or feelings that have you reaching for nicotine.
- Decrease the satisfaction component. Most cigarette smokers have favorite brands of cigarettes. In the week or so leading up to your stop date, swap your favorites for another, less-appealing variety. For example, buy menthols if you normally don’t smoke them. Purchase low-tar filters or light versions of your preferred brand or try new, strange brands that you have never smoked before. This practice will make the habit of smoking seem less pleasing and easier to quit.
- Spread the news. Tell everyone you know you are giving up smoking to build a network of family members, co-workers and friends who can support your efforts.
- Do away with smoking paraphernalia. Throw out all of your ashtrays, matches and lighters.
- Quit cold turkey. Despite an urge to slowly cut back, stopping altogether on your chosen stop smoking date is the ideal approach to giving up smoking once and for all.
- Make it rewarding. Produce reasons to celebrate your quitting tobacco at regular intervals. For example, a week after you stop smoking, go to the movies or bowling. A month after quitting, go to a nice hotel for an evening or treat yourself to a day at the mall. A year after quitting, go on a wonderful vacation with the money you save from no longer purchasing packs of cigarettes.
- If you backslide, don’t freak out. Identify what it was that brought on your desire to smoke again and develop a way to deal with the trigger. The desire to smoke — no matter how overwhelming — will pass after several minutes.
- Look for assistance. If you are not able to give up on your own, try making use of aids such as nicotine gum, the nicotine patch, or electronic cigarettes. If you still aren’t able to quit, see your doctor about other alternatives. You may also wish to join a support group. Whatever you do, don’t give up!