Learning to live without cigarettes is difficult but hardly impossible. People who never thought they could do it now live smoke-free lives.
About 48 million Americans smoke cigarettes, but most smokers are either actively trying to quit or want to quit. Since 1965, more than 40 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit. You can be among that group too. Here are some tips that can help you or someone you care about kick the habit for good
- List all the reasons you want to quit smoking (e.g., better health, save money, play with children/grandchildren) and read them several times a day.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist if you are a good candidate for using a nicotine replacement (e.g., patch, gum, lozenge) or other medication to help you quit. Consider smoking cessation counseling or support groups.
- Choose a quit date ? it could be a significant date (e.g., a birthday or anniversary) or just a date about two to three weeks away. Before your quit date, get rid of all smoking-related materials in your home and work area (e.g., ashtrays, matches, cigarette packages).
- Stay busy! Go to the movies, exercise, take long walks, go bike riding.
- Destroy all cigarettes and clean out your ashtrays. Use your favorite lighter to light candles or burn incense instead of cigarettes.
- If you are going to a party or bar decide not to smoke beforehand and ask someone you trust to help you stick to your decision. Avoid drinking excessively as this may fog your judgment.
- Drink lots of water and fruit juice. Use a straw so you can satisfy the urge to hold a cigarette in your mouth.
- Buy plenty of sugarless gum, lollipops, and raw vegetables to munch on. Hold on to a pencil, some Silly Putty or a small ball or toy, to keep your hands busy and cigarette-free.
- Find healthy substitutes for smoking. Carry sugarless gum or artificially sweetened mints. Munch carrots or celery sticks. Try doing crafts or other things with your hands.
- Know before you quit that you may gain a few pounds at first although 2/3 of people who choose to stop smoking do not gain any weight. Decide that a few pounds are not as bad as wrinkles, yellow teeth, and health problems that cigarettes cause.
- Let your friends, family, and co-workers know that you plan to quit ? and ask for their help and support. And if your spouse or partner smokes, ask them to help you out by not smoking around you for the first couple of months after you quit.
Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit and quit for good. You have the best chances of quitting if you use them together:
- Get ready.
- Get support.
- Learn new skills and behaviors.
- Get medication and use it correctly.
- Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations.
Your situation or condition can give you a special reason to quit.
- Pregnant women/new mothers: By quitting, you protect your baby's health and your own.
- Hospitalized patients: By quitting, you reduce health problems and help healing.
- Heart attack patients: By quitting, you reduce your risk of a second heart attack.
- Lung, head, and neck cancer patients: By quitting, you reduce your chance of a second cancer.
- Parents of children and adolescents: By quitting, you protect your children and adolescents from illnesses caused by second-hand smoke: