Take these steps to quit smoking.
Write down your reasons to quit.
Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. For example, your reasons to quit might be to set a healthy example for your kids and to save money.
Keep the list with you to remind yourself why quitting is worth it.
Set a quit date.
- Pick a date that gives you enough time to get ready to quit. But make sure it’s soon enough that you don’t lose your motivation.
- Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your quit date so they can support you.
- Call the tobacco quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support and help setting up your quit plan.
Make a quit plan.
- Think about situations that might “trigger” you to smoke. Plan how you will handle them without smoking.
- Right before your quit date, go through your house, car, and workplace to get rid of anything that has to do with smoking. Throw away any ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
- Clean your clothes so they don’t smell like smoke. Throw away all your cigarettes.
Change your routine.
Changing your routine on and after your quit date can help you break the smoking habit.
- Try taking a different route to work.
- For the first few weeks, avoid activities and places you connect with smoking.
- Do things and go places where smoking isn’t allowed.
- Make getting active and eating healthy part of your quit plan. Eat healthy snacks instead of smoking. Go for walks. Drink lots of water.
Quitting may be hard, so prepare yourself.
Remember, the urge to smoke will come and go. Most cravings only last 5 to 10 minutes. Here are some ways to manage cravings:
- Do something else with your hands, like washing them, taking a shower, or washing the dishes. Try doing crosswords or other puzzles.
- Have healthy snacks ready, like carrots, nuts, apples, or sugar-free gum.
- Distract yourself with a new activity.
- If you used to smoke while driving, try something new. Take public transportation or ride with a friend.
- Take several deep breaths to help you relax.
Take this withdrawal quiz every day to see your progress.
Break the connection between eating and smoking.
Many people like to smoke when they finish a meal. Here are some ways to break the connection:
- Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating.
- Brush your teeth and think about the fresh, clean feeling in your mouth.
- Try going for a walk after meals.
Deal with stress.
Manage stress by creating peaceful times in your daily schedule. Try relaxation methods like deep breathing or lighting candles.
Check out these tips for dealing with stress as you quit.
Stick with it.
When you stop smoking, you may feel irritable, anxious, restless, or hungry. You may even have trouble sleeping.
Don’t give up! It takes time to overcome addiction. Check out these tips on staying smoke-free.
Learn from the past.
Many people try to quit more than once before they succeed. Most people who start smoking again do so within the first 3 months after quitting. If you’ve tried to quit before, think about what worked for you and what didn’t.
Depression, drinking alcohol, and being around other smokers can make it harder to quit. If you are finding it hard to stay quit, talk with your doctor about what medicines might help you. Remember, quitting will make you healthier.
If you want help, talk with your doctor.
A doctor or nurse can help you choose strategies for quitting smoking that are likely to work best for you.
You can also ask your doctor or a pharmacist about medicines that can improve your chances of quitting – and how to use these medicines correctly. Get more information about the different types of medicines that can help you quit.
What about cost?
You can get free help with quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or by visiting smokefree.gov.
Also, some services to help people quit smoking are covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you.
Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan. For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.