Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It’s a step-by-step process that starts one day at a time. The best way to start quitting is by setting a goal and building a great support system. Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society to help you kick smoking for good.
Create a plan to help you quit
Planning to quit can make it easier to reach your goal. Even planning to fail can make it more likely that your plan succeeds. Start by picking a date of when your journey to quitting begins.
Additionally, deciding ahead of time what you’ll do instead of smoking, how you’ll distract yourself from picking up a cigarette, and how you’ll start over will help you accomplish your goal.
Tell your friends and family
A support network can help you succeed. Your friends and family can offer encouragement or advice, especially if they’ve quit smoking, too. They can also help distract you when you have cravings or remind you of your goals when you’re struggling.
If you don’t have a network, you can still receive support from a Smokefree app or health counselor. And there are also state programs that can support you by providing a structured program designed to help you quit. Project Filter is Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s program.
Get rid of all smoking products
No matter what kind of tobacco product you use, swapping one kind for another will not help you be tobacco free. You’ll need to throw away e-cigarettes, vaping pens, cigars and chewing tobacco, as well as filter cigarettes. Keeping these products out of sight can make it easier to stay on track.
Talk with your doctor about medications
Quitting smoking isn’t always as easy as deciding you want to quit. Getting extra support can help you quit for good. This could include short-acting nicotine replacements like inhalers, nasal sprays, patches or lozenges.
While some tobacco-cessation quit tools are available over the counter, others require a doctor’s prescription. Bupropion and varenicline are the only two medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can help you quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about your plan to quit smoking to see if they can help you get any supplies to quit.
Be in a quitting mindset
Changing the way you think about tobacco starts with how you talk about it. Instead of saying “I’d love a cigarette right now”, try “I don’t smoke anymore.” Smoking is more than just a habit. It’s also a mindset. By talking about tobacco as if you have already quit, you can start to believe that you can quit.
Have gum, carrot stick, toothpicks, and healthy snacks on hand
Part of quitting is rewiring your habits. Giving your mouth and your hands something else to do can help you become healthier. Identify the times when you want a cigarette and use sugar-free gum, toothpicks or healthy snacks to distract your brain.
You can also squeeze a stress ball, play a game on your phone or take a walk when you find that you can’t stop thinking about smoking. The idea is to think about something else until the craving has passed.
Set a quit date
A hard deadline can put your plan into action. Write it down on your calendar or set a reminder in your phone. Give yourself enough time to prepare to quit, but not so far in the future that there’s no urgency. Plan a way you can celebrate quitting so that you can have something fun to look forward to.
Quit smoking for your health
Many people across the country start their wellness journey by stopping smoking. By quitting smoking, you can reduce your risk of cancer and begin to live a healthy lifestyle.
Publish Date: November 15, 2023
Written by: Melissa Carpenter, a wellbeing coach at Blue Cross of Idaho. Melissa has a degree in exercise science and is nationally certified in both personal training (NSCA-CPT) and wellness coaching (ACE). She has nearly 20 years of experience in the health promotion industry, focusing on wellbeing coaching.