You may be asking: What’s the best way to quit smoking? The truth is there isn’t one right answer. Quitting is a journey and every person’s needs are different. But there’s one thing you should expect: It’s a process. And like most processes, quitting requires self-awareness, practice, and help from others.
First, it helps to make a plan. A Quit Plan can help you stay focused and accomplish your quit smoking tasks. Keep the following recommendations in mind as you create a plan that may help you quit.
There’s more to quitting than throwing away your cigarettes. As you head down the path to becoming smokefree, identify your smoking triggers and behaviors. First, think about the reasons you want to quit and write them down so you have them handy. Then, start to track your smoking habits: Do you smoke every morning while you drink your coffee? Maybe you have a cigarette before or while driving home from work. Make note of the times of day and the places you find yourself smoking. It’s possible that you’re doing it out of routine, and not even realizing the patterns.
Next, you’ll want to recognize how you feel when you smoke. Have you noticed that you smoke more when you’re stressed? Or do you smoke more when you’re happy? The Quitter’s Circle app by Pfizer and the American Lung Association can help you track these behaviors and emotions in a daily smoke log.
Once you recognize the times, locations, situations, and emotions that trigger you to smoke, you can start to make plans to overcome them. Trying something new like exercising in the morning or switching your route to work to help you avoid these urges to smoke altogether.
It’s likely that you’ve tried to quit smoking before. Don’t be embarrassed – quitting takes practice. In fact, on average, former smokers attempt to quit several times before becoming smokefree.
If you have tried to quit before, think about those attempts. Were there any external factors that made it an especially hard time to quit? Plan your Quit Date carefully, and make sure to avoid added stressors. For instance, if you’re a teacher, quitting during back-to-school season could be difficult.
Also, think about all the methods you used during previous attempts to quit, including efforts to stop cold turkey. Only 4 to 7 percent of smokers who attempt to quit cold turkey (without support) are successful in remaining smokefree for one year, so don’t get down on yourself. Smoking is an addiction, and quitting is very difficult. You can do it! If one thing didn’t help you before, it may be time to try a different approach.
Help From Others
There’s no single quit plan that works for everyone, but there are methods that have been found to be helpful to many quitters. A study by Pfizer and the American Lung Association found that 80 percent of smokers say that having support from others is helpful during a quit attempt. Your support team can include your spouse, siblings, friends, or coworkers. An important member of your support team is your healthcare provider.
Unfortunately, a study of current and former smokers found that about 1 in 10 people who smoke don’t tell their doctors. Many smokers admit they didn’t tell their doctor because they felt ashamed, weren’t ready to quit or didn’t want a lecture about it. Additionally, about half of those in the study said their doctor didn’t ask whether or not they smoked. It is important for you to discuss your tobacco use with a doctor, whether you’re ready to quit smoking or not. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke and lung cancer than non-smokers.
Once you are ready to quit smoking, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider so you can receive support like counseling and medication, which can double your chances of quitting smoking. If you’re not sure how to talk to your doctor or what to bring up, this Doctor Discussion Guide may help. Be prepared to talk about how long you’ve smoked, methods you’ve used to quit in the past, and your reasons for quitting. Your doctor may use this information to recommend one of the seven FDA-approved quit smoking treatment options.
After your initial doctor’s appointment, be sure to check in with them to let them know how you’re doing. You should check in with them regularly to update them on your quit smoking progress. They’ll help create the best plan for you.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but there are many reasons to make another attempt to quit. Make a plan that will bring out your quitting best.