You know you want to quit smoking. But what do you do next?
There is no single, or “best” way to quit smoking – the steps you take along your quit journey and the order of these steps will be unique to you. That said, there are certain techniques that can help people quit. Take the following recommendations into account as you plan your quit journey, make note of what works for you, and add your own helpful steps based on previous quit smoking attempts. This time, you could be well on your way to quitting!
When would you like to go smokefree? It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, as quitting smoking takes planning and preparation. Consider setting your quit date at least a month in the future and take that time to prepare for quit smoking success.
You probably know that quitting smoking has a variety of health benefits. Which potential benefits are you most looking forward to?
What are some other reasons you want to quit? Maybe you’re quitting so you can save money for that vacation you’ve always wanted. If you play a sport, maybe you’re quitting to improve your endurance. Or perhaps you’re tired of the hassle of smoking.
Are you quitting with someone or something else in mind? A child, grandchild, or for the health of your pet? Are you quitting because you want to be a better role model for someone?
Whatever the reasons, keep them in your back pocket, on the refrigerator door, or in the car so you keep your motivation nearby throughout your quit journey.
3. Notice the times, places, and situations that make you crave a cigarette
You might smoke while driving to work, or in the morning while drinking coffee. Maybe you light-up with others at work. Noticing these patterns may help you prepare a plan to break them. Come up with alternative routes and activities to help avoid these urges.
You can also build a quit kit to help you manage urges. Fill it with something to do with your hands, such as a stress ball, healthy snacks like nuts and carrots, and items to replace cigarettes in your mouth. Whether that’s a lollipop, breath mint, or gum, figure out what works for you.
Support from a healthcare provider, which includes counseling and medication, can double your chances of quitting smoking.
Tell them about your reasons for quitting, and the smoking triggers you’ve identified. They will help you make a quit plan.
Consider using a quit-smoking medication and talk to your doctor about which treatment might be right for you. If you’ve tried one in the past, let your doctor know, so you can discuss if that one or a difference choice best meets your needs.
Once you have your medication in hand, make sure you understand how to use it by reading the package or talking to your doctor or pharmacist. Some medications require you to start before Quit Day, or have dosages that depend on how much you smoke.
You have many people around you who want you to succeed in quitting smoking. Let them know that you are quitting and could use their encouragement. Many smokers say that support of family and friends is very important to help their quit journey.
If you are a non-smoker or former smoker who wants to support someone’s quit journey, let that person know you’re there for them, and ready to discuss quitting when they are.
Give yourself short- and long-term goals to look forward to early on in your quit. Reward yourself for being 24 hours smokefree, and keep it up as you reach 48 hours, one week, one month, and beyond!
When you’re tracking your smoking patterns, keep track of the time you spend on smoke breaks — the average smoker takes about 5 minutes per break. Calculate how you breaks add up, and set a goal for yourself to use that time for something else.
Likewise, the national average cost of $6.28 per pack adds up quickly. Make a goal to buy something with your money saved, perhaps for those smokefree rewards we talked about above. Did you know the Quitter’s Circle app can help you keep track of your dollars saved?
7. Learn from the past
If you have tried quitting before, learn from those experiences. Think about what helped you and what didn’t. Use that information to build your quit plan. This will help increase your chances of quitting. Keep trying – it’s normal to have multiple quit attempts. You can do it!