Preventive Service

9 Tips to Quit Smoking

There is no easy way to quit smoking, but there are ways to make the experience more tolerable. Do not be discouraged if it takes many attempts before you kick the habit. The key to quitting is patience, perseverance, and having a plan.

Keep these tips in mind when you quit:

  • Know Why You Are Quitting. Pick a reason that you believe in, be it for your family or for yourself. If you do not believe in your reason, it is that much harder to quit.


  • Take it One Day at a Time. Worry about not smoking for just one day, and not for the rest of your life. Besides, it gets easier to stave off the desire the longer you do not smoke. The nicotine will soon leave your system, and the worst of the withdrawal symptoms will go away.


  • Taper Off. Some quitters achieve their goal by quitting all at once. However, there are many other options, like slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke. The key to this method is to cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.


  • Change Your Environment. Think about the things that lead to lighting up, and do not do them. Get rid of the ashtrays at home. Do not come back from lunch 15 minutes early to sneak in a cigarette break. Avoid places where smoking is part of the atmosphere.


  • Practice the Three D’s. Delay; deep breathing; drink water. When you feel like a smoke, delay. Try to think of something else. Breathe deeply, and count to 10 slowly as you do so. Drink plenty of water. It helps flush the nicotine out of your system. Do something else, like chew gum, until the craving passes.


  • Keep a Diary. This technique, which has also been used effectively with people who eat too much, is surprisingly effective. Each time you feel like a cigarette, write down the time of day, what you are doing, and how badly you want to smoke on a scale of one to three, with one for the worst craving. A diary helps you to learn to unlearn the responses that make you want to smoke.


  • Discuss Medicines. You may want to talk with your doctor about medicines that are available to help with smoking cessation.


  • Work with Your Doctor. For the best results, work with your doctor. Together, you can test your lung function and compare the results to those of a non-smoking person. The results can be given to you as your lung age. Finding out your lung age may help you to stop smoking. Your doctor can also talk with you about your options, such as:
    • Over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum and lozenges, which may be used alone or in combination
    • Prescription nicotine inhalers or nasal sprays
    • Prescription medicines
    • Alternative therapies like hypnosis and acupuncture
    • Smoking cessation classes
    • Group therapy
    • Self-help programs


  • Reward Yourself for Succeeding. Quitting is hard. You deserve a reward for meeting short-term goals, such as being smoke-free for one week, two weeks, or a month. Give yourself something you really want but have been putting off getting. Remember how much money you are saving by not buying cigarettes!


To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.

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