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Be There for the Long Run
It can be tough to be a supporter, especially when someone needs your encouragement for an extended period of time—like when they’re quitting smoking. Sometimes a quit journey can last for some time. Being a supporter can be exhausting (we know how hard you work!) but it’s important to commit to your role as a supporter for the long run, through every phase of your loved one’s quit. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your loved one’s quit journey: Stay positive. Keep an uplifting tone. Remember, scare tactics and blame are not the best way to motivate someone to quit smoking. Instead, help your quitter maintain confidence that smokefree success is on the horizon. Quitting smoking is not just about willpower: it’s about shifting one's physical, mental and social being, which is not a simple task to achieve. Celebrate small wins and don’t hold it against a quitter who runs into obstacles along the way. The first week or so smokefree is the toughest. Check in frequently during that first week or so and help your friend plan for this time. Perhaps you schedule a movie night for distraction, work on that house project together or take a dance class together. Most smokers who relapse do so within the first three months of their quit. Though that tough first week has gone by, your loved one may still need your support long after. You may want to start a routine of checking in with your quitter via phone, email or text, or set up end-of-month activities as smokefree rewards. For example, every fourth Saturday you can go bowling together, or sing karaoke—whatever the quitter will look forward to. Some smokers will have the urge to smoke years after they quit. This means that, as a supporter, you need to remain mindful of your friend’s quit long after he or she has left cigarettes behind. You may want to check in with your smokfree friend to see if he or she is comfortable at a bar or concert—places that often trigger the urge to smoke. At the same time, supporting someone a year after their quit is very different than supporting them at the start. No one wants to be asked each and every day how a quit is going. Be conscientious of your friend’s experience and jump in to help when you see fit, without being overbearing. Do your best to be understanding over the long run. Because quitting smoking is a journey, it’s possible that the experience will include some slip-ups. Let your quitter know that you’re there to support on the good days and bad, and reassure your loved one that they can achieve their smokefree goal. Don’t let a misstep upset you or make you think a quitter’s goal is any less achievable—slipping up is a possibility for those trying to quit smoking. Instead, help your friend learn from the experience so as to avoid the same situation in the future. VCP729109
Why are cigarettes so addictive?
The nicotine found in cigarettes and other tobacco products is known to be very addictive. Have you ever wondered why that is, or what nicotine is doing inside your body? Here, we explain all you need to know to answer the question: Why are cigarettes so addictive? VCP755104 VCP738412
When a longtime smoker declares their desire to quit, it can be an exciting time for those who wish to see them live a healthier lifestyle. But remember that your quitter may be feeling a mix of emotions about quitting, some positive, and some negative. As a supporter, it’s crucial to listen to your quitter’s needs and encourage them to proceed at their own pace. Respect that your quitter is leading their quit journey, and you’re there to support them along the way. Start by simply asking, “How can I help you?” While you may be in a supporting role, don’t underestimate the impact you can make. In a recent survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80 percent said that support from others was very important for their quitting success. To help be the best supporter you can be, read on to learn about three different forms of quit smoking support. Physical Support A major challenge of quitting smoking is managing urges to smoke. Help your quitter resist these urges by having something other than cigarettes to keep their mouth busy. Alternatives include toothpicks, sugar-free lollipops, chewing gum and hard candies, or crunchy, healthy snacks. Make a Quit Kit with these items for your quitter, or keep one handy when you’re with them to show your dedication to their well-being.  Simply being with your quitter during moments when they desire a cigarette can also be beneficial. Though the urge to smoke usually passes within 3 to 5 minutes, your presence may help distract and comfort your quitter during those difficult times. As their lung capacity improves and they get less winded, invite your quitter to go for walks or toss a ball around. Being there as they overcome challenges will encourage your quitter to keep it up. Emotional Support When your quitter gives up cigarettes, they may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, frustration and irritability. Don’t take their moods personally; instead, be a source of positive support. If they want to talk about their feelings, be a good listener. Remind them that these symptoms will fade with time, and the benefits of quitting make the effort worth it. During the quit smoking journey, your quitter may get discouraged with the process. If they have a slip, help them get back on their feet and focused on their goal of a smokefree life. Encourage your quitter to make a plan to deal with urges to prevent future slips. Your quitter will also have milestones to celebrate during their journey, such as one-week, one-month or six-months smokefree. Recognize these successes as notable milestones for your quitter! A little praise can make a big difference. You can also surprise them with a card, a home-cooked meal or tickets to see their favorite band in concert. Financial Support Some smokers cite the costs of quit smoking treatment as a barrier to using them. In a survey sponsored by the American Lung Association and Pfizer involving 483 adult smokers in the US, 78 percent said that quit smoking treatments or aids are too expensive. If money is a concern for your quitter, you can help them set up a Quit Fund. A Quit Fund is an online fundraising tool to help pay for expenses during their quit smoking journey such as doctor’s visits, exercise classes, or healthy groceries. By contributing to their fund, you’re showing that you’re invested in their positive life change. Your quitter’s other friends, family members and coworkers can donate to the Quit Fund as well. Together, your support will add up, covering some of the costs during their quit journey. Or maybe your quitter will use their Quit Fund to plan a smokefree celebration! No matter what they use their quit fund for, your quitter will be filled with gratitude for your generosity and foresight. Quitting smoking is a challenging journey. But your support can make a difference during this journey. Whether its handing your quitter a sugar-free candy at the right moment or asking them “how are you feeling?” after a tough day, your thoughtful support can help your quitter stay focused on their quit smoking goals. To learn more about ways you can help someone quit smoking, visit the For Supporters section of QuittersCircle.com. PP-CHM-USA-1284 
When it comes to quitting smoking, men and women are not created equal. Research suggests that male and female brains respond differently to nicotine. This may explain why men and women have different smoking patterns and quit experiences. Although they are probably not aware of it, men tend to smoke for the “nicotine rush,” while women more often smoke in response to stress and for the calming effects. For anyone quitting smoking, it’s important to understand your specific triggers, how smoking affects your body, and how you’ll plan ahead to cope with the challenges of quitting smoking. Ladies: read on for useful information to help understand your quit journey. Women may have a harder time quitting smoking than men The research is still mixed on this topic. But a recent study of more than 1,000 smokers who had attempted to quit within the past 2 months found that women had 33 percent lower odds of successfully quitting than men. A gender gap also existed among the 694 smokers attempting to quit without smoking cessation medication. Women worry about weight gain Women fear gaining weight more than men when quitting smoking. The more cigarettes smoked per day, the more weight you may gain after quitting. However, the average person who quits smoking gains between 4 and 10 pounds. While you may gain some weight, it’s important to look at the bigger picture: the health benefits from quitting smoking far outweigh any weight gain. You can help manage weight gain with healthy eating and exercise. Find a healthy lifestyle buddy to help you stay on track. You can share healthy recipes, shop together at the farmer’s market, and make weekly dates to exercise. Women tend to smoke to relive stress Many women have a lot on their plates, juggling home and work life, which can naturally lead to stress.  As you prepare for your quit journey, develop a plan for how you’ll manage stressful situations instead of reaching for a cigarette.  Consider some of these stress relief techniques: - Practice breathing techniques. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. A few long, slow breaths can help your body relax. - Take a walk. If the heat of the moment is getting to you, step away for a few minutes. Get your legs moving and your mind off of the problem. - Talk to a friend. During your quit journey, turn to your supporters–that’s what they’re there for. Whether it’s a stressful situation at work or with your kids, sometimes just letting it out to a kind listener can be a source of relief. Women have so many benefits of quitting smoking When you quit smoking, you can look forward to reducing your risk of many serious illnesses, including heart disease and lung cancer. Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. But within 10 years of quitting smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.   For women of childbearing age, quitting smoking can also reduce the risk of infertility and decrease the chances of premature birth, birth defects, and infant death. If you’re looking for other incentives for quitting, there are plenty of those as well: you may look forward to a brighter smile, your clothes and breath no longer smelling of smoke, and you may have more energy. As you can see, you have so much to gain by quitting smoking. So what are you waiting for? Start planning ahead and finding the support you may need on this journey. First, talk to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking and voice any concerns you may have. Round up a support team that can help have your back on this journey.  And look forward to your new healthy, smokefree future!   PP-CHM-USA-1258
No one likes being called a “quitter,” but when it pertains to quitting smoking, it’s actually an impressive title to have. By giving up smoking, you’re not only improving your health and saving money, you’re starting a positive life transformation. As much as the benefits abound, quitting smoking can be tough. At first, it may even feel like losing an old, familiar friend.  But in life there are many instances when giving up one thing (a relationship, a job, a habit) can open the door to positive growth. Next time you think about “quitting” as a loss, remember these five examples that show how “quitting” can lead to positive results, and prepare to be the greatest quitter you can be. 1. Quitting Foreign Rule Perhaps one of the most famous events of American history, the American Revolution, was one enormous “I quit!” After years of being ruled by the British, the colonists decided that they had enough with being taxed and ruled from across the sea. They fought against the odds, and formed their own country. Years later, we still celebrate this momentous occasion with fireworks and barbeques. Imagine what sort of celebration you will be able to enjoy when you are finally smokefree! 2. Quitting the Band How many of your favorite bands have broken up, just to splinter off and create a new and interesting sound? Some of the most famous bands are made up of musicians who were previously in other groups. Calling it quits in one part of your life can lead to new opportunities in other areas.  So let that mic drop, along with the extra spending that comes with smoking. You can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars (over time), by quitting smoking. At $5.76 per pack, your yearly savings could add up to $1,450 per year.* With all the money you can save by not smoking, why not buy a new instrument and start jamming? 3. Quitting a Toxic Relationship Some friendships aren’t meant to last a lifetime. If you’re not being supported or cherished in the way that you deserve, it might be time to end the relationship. Similarly, plan your breakup with cigarettes – they take up a lot of your time, time that could be spent with supportive friends and loved ones. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, and assuming it takes about five minutes to smoke a cigarette, then quitting smoking can save you approximately 600 hours per year. Transform your new free time into you time! 4. Quitting Before Injury If your body is talking to you, listen. Pro-athletes are usually good at listening to their bodies’ signals. While they may have been champions in their prime, many athletes make the decision to quit playing when their bodies tell them it’s time. Take a cue from these professional quitters and listen to your body. Is it telling you that it's had enough of the negative effects of smoking, such as smoker's cough, shortness of breath, and tired muscles? Now is the time to consult with your healthcare provider. 5. Quitting Junk Food In the past few years, the public has become more aware of the harmful effects of saturated and trans fats found in many processed foods. Many consumers have stopped buying heavily-processed foods to make room for better tasting, natural products.  When quitting smoking, one physical benefit can help you eat more healthfully: within 48 hours of quitting smoking, your taste buds will start to repair themselves, allowing you better savor the flavors of healthy fruits and vegetables. “Quitting” doesn’t always mean failure. In some cases, it can actually be a gateway to success. Taking the first steps, such as finding supportive friends and coworkers, picking a quit date, and talking to a healthcare professional will help you understand a way to quit that is best for you. Know that when you’re ready to quit, you’re in good company. *The average price of a pack of cigarettes is $5.76 and the average smoker smokes 13.8 cigarettes per day, Based on 2014 figures.   PP-CHM-USA-1259
So you’d like to quit smoking­? We know it can be challenging. But we also know that support from a healthcare provider, which can include medication and counseling, can double your chances of quitting successfully. Remember, smoking can be a physical, mental, and/or social addiction and a healthcare provider can offer the tools to help you quit. If you’ve already made an appointment with your healthcare provider, congratulations on taking this critical step!  You may be wondering how that appointment will go and what will be discussed. Below is a useful TEAM guide to help you get the most out of your visit. Print it out and bring it with you to your appointment. TELL your healthcare provider: I want to quit smoking and I need help. EXPLAIN your quit history: Sharing past quit attempts and methods you’ve tried can help your healthcare provider determine the best course for this quit attempt. Be prepared to discuss your medical history and any medications that you’re currently taking if the provider doesn’t already have that information. ASK about support tools: What medication and counseling options are available to help you quit?  How long do you need to stay on treatment? Where can you find extra support as you’re quitting? MANAGE your expectations: To improve your quit chances, ask your healthcare provider what to expect in your quit journey and how to manage challenging moments.  What withdrawal symptoms should you expect? What can you do to overcome urges to smoke?  When does it start to get easier? Remember that this visit with your healthcare provider should be an open two-way conversation.  He or she has the expertise to help you quit smoking but you know yourself better than anyone. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity and give yourself the best chance of quitting smoking for good. For more tips and questions to ask your healthcare provider, refer to this quick guide. With support and preparation, you’ll be armed for success on your quit smoking journey.   PP-CHM-USA-0915
Do you have a close friend who is quitting smoking? Are you wondering how to support them? You’ve made an important first step by seeking out information about how to help them. In a recent survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80 percent said support from family, friends and coworkers is very important to successfully quit smoking. While your pal’s motivation to stay smokefree must ultimately come from within, you can play an important role in helping them achieve success! As summer goes on, bringing warmer weather and vacation time, think of activities you can do with your friend to help them enjoy the benefits of a smokefree life. Here are some key ways you can be an effective supporter to your friend: Be a source of support If your quitter has asked you for support, take a moment to feel honored that they’ve let you into their inner circle. During this important and challenging life transition, your friend needs a lot of support and encouragement. During the first few days of your friend’s quit, make yourself available for phone calls or evening walks.  Show that you understand the journey can be challenging, by simply asking, “How are you doing?” Avoid lecturing or criticizing them. Another way to stay connected with your friend is by using the Quitter’s Circle app. Download the app on your mobile device, and invite them to do so as well.  Supporters can receive updates when their Quitter hits a milestone and send encouraging stickers, emoticons and Quit Cards. Plan Fun Smokefree Activities Together Quitting smoking is more than just giving up cigarettes. Your friend may have to learn new skills and habits to adjust to a smokefree life. During the early weeks of your friend’s quit, when slip-ups are most likely to occur, plan some fun activities that avoid smoking triggers and serve as a distraction from smoking. Surprise your friend with an activity to celebrate their new smokefree life. Have you and your friend always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding, salsa dancing, or horseback riding? Start something new! Help them Set Up a Quit Fund A Quit Fund is a way for friends and family to donate money to help with expenses related to quitting, such as doctor’s visits, and other things that may help support a healthier lifestyle, such as healthy groceries and new workout clothes. Let your friend know about this option and offer to help set up their Quit Fund, but remember: they should be leading the effort. Celebrate your Quitter Your friend is working hard to quit smoking, and by being a key supporter, you can also celebrate in their successes. When your quitter reaches a milestone, such as one-month smokefree, think of fun ways to honor their accomplishment. Here are some ideas: Prepare their favorite meal Give them a card telling them how much you care Surprise them with fresh flowers or a gift-certificate to their favorite retail store  If you have a close friend that is quitting smoking, visit our Facebook page to give them a shout-out and let them know how proud you are of their quit journey.   PP-CHM-USA-1172
If you look back on your greatest achievements, support from key people was likely an important factor in your success. Quitting smoking is no different.  Overcoming the addiction to cigarettes can be challenging: tobacco addiction is a three-link chain of physical, social and mental components. Having a support squad can be an important factor in your ability to quit smoking. You may be wondering: what does this support look like? Here is a quick guide to the points along your quit journey where support may be helpful. Before you quit Talk to your healthcare provider If you haven’t already, this is a good time to enlist the help of a healthcare provider in creating a quit plan. Support from a healthcare provider, which includes medication and counseling, can double your chances of successfully quitting.   Tell your family and friends Many former smokers say support from family and friends was important during their quit attempt. When you’re getting ready to quit, start letting family and friends know so they can be ready to support you.  Surround yourself with people you trust, those you feel comfortable being open with who won’t judge or criticize you. This could be a spouse, an old college buddy who quit smoking, a friend or a co-worker. Think about the people in your life who are positive, and consider stepping away from people or situations who are not supportive of your quit smoking attempt.  You should also ask people in your life who continue to smoke to not light up around you as you are going through your quit journey. Invite your supporters to download the Quitter’s Circle app, so they can stay connected during your quit journey.  When you’re feeling an urge to smoke Reach out to a friend During the first few days and weeks of your quit journey, have a trusted friend or two you can call or text when you need extra support.  Urges to smoke pass in three to five minutes whether you light up or not. Calling or texting a friend can be a useful coping skill to help get you through these urges. If you have a slip-up When some people have slip-ups, they get shy or embarrassed about telling their supporters. Don’t become isolated during this time. Reach out to a trusted friend who can help you make a plan for dealing with whatever tripped you up and get you back on your journey to a smokefree life.  When you’re having a bad day   During your quit journey, expect to have some challenging days. Leaning on family and friends can help ease some of this stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, pick up the phone and reach out to a supporter to let them know how you’re feeling. Suggest going for a walk, seeing a movie or going shopping. To focus on staying healthy   A major part of quitting smoking is learning how to live as a non-smoker. Friends can ease this transition and help manage the challenges. Look for new recipes with a friend that likes to cook healthy meals!  Ask them about their meal routines and to share any favorite recipes, and then plan a dinner party that you can throw together. Find an exercise partner. Having a workout buddy can help you stay accountable as you reach your fitness goals.  You may want to join a walking club or sports league. Surround yourself with friends who can help you embrace your new smokefree life. Organize a trip to the beach, a hiking trail or a picnic in the park. As you prepare for your quit journey, what other ways do you think support can be helpful?  Visit our Facebook page to let us know about your support squad and how they’ve assisted you.   PP-CHM-USA-1186
Summer is finally here! With the warmer weather and longer days, it’s a great time to get outdoors and embrace your smokefree life.  Over the last decade, a wave of laws have passed at the state and local levels making public spaces and workplaces smokefree. For those quitting smoking, that means one less trigger to worry about when enjoying your favorite activities. Planning fun outings with your family and friends is a great way to stay positive and focused on your quit journey. So grab your sunscreen and shorts, and get ready for some smokefree summer fun. Here are five suggestions: 1. Catch a baseball game On opening day 2016, several Major League Baseball stadiums around the country went smokefree. These new policies add to the growing number of baseball stadiums that have instituted smokefree policies. So sit back, enjoy the game and appreciate that your new smokefree lifestyle means you won’t be missing any homeruns hit during a smoke break. 2. Explore a national park On the 100th birthday of the National Parks Service, plan a trip to one of our great national parks for hiking, camping and wildlife spotting. You don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon to enjoy our park system – chances are, there is a smaller site near you.  Nature is sweeter smelling now that you are smokefree! 3. Get your thrills at a theme park Many of the nation’s major theme parks are smokefree, including many local and state fairs. So whether you're braving a roller coaster or grabbing a snow cone at the state fair, you’ll be able to enjoy that moment with your family without having to leave for a smokebreak.  4. Soak up the sun and sand at the beach Unwind with the sound of crashing waves and feel the sand between your toes. Many beaches around the country have become smokefree in recent years, you can build a sandcastle or take a stroll along the waterfront without worrying about the sight of cigarette butts. 5. Dine al fresco while watching the sunset Nearly 400 municipalities across the country have passed laws making outdoor dining and patio spaces smokefree. Invite your loved ones out for a light summer meal ­– such as grilled vegetables and chicken or seafood­­ – and you’ve got yourself a perfect summer evening.   PP-CHM-USA-1176
Any travel plans coming up? Whether it’s a sunny beach holiday or a work convention, those quitting smoking should be prepared for the challenges that come with being away from home and their regular routines. Plan ahead by packing these travel-friendly essentials to help manage urges to smoke. Remember the urge to smoke passes in three to five minutes, whether you light up or not. And having the right tools at hand can help distract and motivate you in these moments. Travel can be stressful: there’s the rushing to catch planes, waiting in long lines, getting lost in new cities, and the general lack of sleep. And once we reach our destinations, we often switch into holiday mode, which can also make sticking to your quit plan more challenging. After an indulgent meal, for example, or while sipping cocktails at sunset, some may feel an urge to light up. But by planning ahead for these scenarios, you’ll be prepared to be a savvy smokefree traveler.   Know anyone who is quitting smoking? Share this video with your quitter, or better yet, surprise them with a smokefree travel kit before saying “bon voyage.” Safe travels, and don’t forget to pack your determination for a smokefree life!  PP-CHM-USA-0878
Fire-up the grill, slice some watermelon and grab your blanket for the fireworks show­–it’s the Fourth of July! While the holiday is filled with many fun traditions, it can also be challenging for people quitting smoking. If it’s the first summer that you’ve declared your independence from smoking, it’s important to plan ahead for how you’ll handle triggers associated with parties and social events. Read on for strategies for staying smokefree this Fourth of July and throughout the summer.  These pointers are useful for anyone­­, no matter where you are in your quit journey. 1. Have a plan     Backyard BBQs and other outdoor parties may include people who are smoking. Take a moment to think about the event you’ll be attending. Have you associated it in the past with smoking cigarettes or do you know if guests will be smoking at the party? If it’s early in your quit journey, you may want to make alternate plans to celebrate the holiday free of your triggers. Reach out to your supporters to plan some smokefree fun.  If you do end up being around someone who’s smoking, have an exit plan such as excusing yourself to use the restroom or to make a phone call. 2. Publicly declare your independence from smoking By telling people that you’re quitting smoking, you’re helping to reinforce your new identity as a former smoker. Take pride in your decision, and if you feel ready, share this important life change with others. You may even meet people who are in the same boat and are also quitting smoking or have quit in the past. Telling friends that you’re trying to quit can also be a gentle reminder to refrain from lighting up in your presence, at least for the time being. 3. Avoid alcohol Alcohol can be a trigger to smoke. If you once associated having a cocktail or beer with lighting up, you may want to temporarily stay away from drinking alcohol to avoid this trigger. Make a refreshing non-alcoholic drink with seltzer water, a splash of juice, ice cubes and mint leaves to garnish.  4. Stay busy Keep your mind off of smoking by offering to take over the grill, scoop ice cream for the kids or play a game of backyard whiffle ball.  Urges to smoke pass in three to five minutes whether you light up or not. Keeping occupied with activities may help keep your mind off these urges. 5. Make time to exercise Before you get your Fourth of July celebrations started, start your day by working out. Exercising while quitting smoking has numerous benefits. It may help with managing urges, controlling weight and reducing stress. So get active before the celebrations begin, and work up a sweat as part of your new smokefree lifestyle.  6. Snack on fresh fruit One of the best parts of summer is the fresh produce! Snack on watermelon, peaches, strawberries and blueberries to maintain a healthy lifestyle while staying smokefree.   PP-CHM-USA-1185