Quitting tobacco use may be the hardest, but the most beneficial thing you will ever do for yourself and your family. You know it won’t be easy, but if you decided that this year is the last to be a tobacco user, here are some tips that may help in taking that step to becoming tobacco free.
1. Quit, Don’t Switch – Substituting one addiction for another by changing to e-cigarettes will not help with quitting tobacco. A combination of prescribed medication and counseling has proven to have the highest rates of success.
2. Have a Plan - There’s more to it than just stopping. For your best chance of success, set a date and create a plan for avoiding triggers and dealing with cravings. Withdrawal from the nicotine can be rough. Do your homework and analyze what will work best for you.
3. Learn from Past Experiences - For many this won’t be your first time trying to quit, but don’t let previous attempts discourage you. Learn what worked and what didn’t from those experiences -. This time, figure out what to do differently and try something new. Think of these as steps on the road to future success.
4. Find Your Reason - You will need a significant personal reason to quit. It might be your commitment to be there for your children or grandchildren; or to get healthy and lower your chance of having serious health problems; or to look and feel younger. Choose a reason that is strong enough to outweigh the urge to light up.
5. Get Guidance from your health care provider – Today there are several nicotine replacement therapies, including a prescribed nasal spray inhaler and medications. Additionally, to help overcome intense cravings, there are non-prescription items such as short-acting patches, gum and lozenges. Some of these can be used in conjunction with the long-acting nicotine patches or one of the non-nicotine, stop-smoking drugs. Be sure to follow the directions and use medications in combination with other tools for quitting. People fail because they don't use these medications correctly, don’t use them long enough, or expect the medication to replace the habit.
6. Avoid Triggers - Tobacco urges are likely to be strongest in the places where you used it most, such as at parties or bars, or at times when you were feeling stressed or sipping coffee. Find your triggers and have a plan in place to avoid them or get through them without using tobacco. Change some habits like brushing your teeth after a meal or staying inside at restaurants or bars. Don't set yourself up for a smoking relapse.
7. Delay - If you feel like you're going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes. Then try and stay busy, call a friend, or get involved in something else to help you forget. This simple trick may be enough to move you past your tobacco craving.
8. Call for Reinforcements -Tell your friends, family, and other people you’re close to that you’re trying to quit. Connect with them to help you resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk, share a few laughs, or meet to talk and support each other. Counseling or a support group may also help. 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) provides support and counseling.
9. Find a Distraction - Many smokers smoke to manage stress, distress, and negative emotions. Finding other ways to manage these feelings can be difficult and takes a lot of practice. It would be wise to try to avoid stressful situations during the first few weeks after you stop smoking. Then utilizing other methods such as exercising to blow off steam, tuning in to your favorite music, connecting with friends, treating yourself to a massage, or making time for a hobby could all be good diversions.
10. Choose A Reward - Tobacco use is not only bad for your health, it’s also hard on your budget. Quitting will mean more money being saved. Calculate your savings over the next few months and reward yourself with something fun!
Every tobacco user can quit. Everyone will have to find their own best way to succeed and you might have a few attempts. Many people try several times before giving up for good. Just keep trying and you will find the right combination of tools, medications, and support for you!