Tips for Quitting

Eight tips for quitting smoking

1. Understand your addiction

Three things usually work together to make you want to smoke. Understanding why you continue to smoke can help you kick the addiction.

  • Nicotine addiction: Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. That means that once you start using it, your body depends on it to feel good. Why? Smoking releases "feel good" signals in the brain. The longer you smoke, the less your body can release these signals naturally. This leads to cravings.
  • Habit: Habit is the body’s response to the pleasure of smoking. When smoking becomes a habit, it's hard to stop. Smoking gives you something to do with your hands or mouth.
  • Triggers: Triggers are things that can make you want to smoke - like driving, finishing a meal, or being with friends. Each person may have a variety of them.

2. Handle stress without tobacco

If you know about difficult times coming up at work, at school, or in your personal life, create a substitute plan for tobacco use during these times. For example:

  •  Leave the situation.
  • Talk to a friend or loved one.
  • Use a "quit-smoking" medicine.
  • Cut down or quit drinking alcohol when you first quit smoking.
    For many people, drinking alcohol is a trigger and can lead to smoking.

3. Cut down or quit drinking alcohol when you first quit smoking

For many people, drinking alcohol is a trigger and can lead to smoking.

4. Stay away from smokers

It is harder to quit when you are around smokers. When you first quit smoking:

  • Try not to be near others who smoke.
  • Ask friends, loved ones, and coworkers not to smoke around you.

5. Keep non-tobacco substitutes for your mouth nearby
You may feel you need to have something in your mouth when you quit smoking. These substitutes may help:

  •  Sugarless gum or candy.
  • Toothpick.
  •  Bottled water.
  • "Quit-Smoking" medicine.

6. Change routines that include smoking

Think about the times you automatically reach for a smoke. Create a plan to do something different. For example, if you usually smoke while:

  • Drinking morning coffee: Change your morning routine. Drink tea, or take a shower or a short walk before you drink coffee.
  • Driving: Make sure the inside of your car is tobacco-free and does not smell smoky. Listen to the radio or a book on tape/CD. Use a "quit-smoking" medicine.
  • Talking on the phone: Stand while talking, make your calls short, move your phone, keep your hands busy by doodling or drawing.
  •  Relaxing after meals: Get up immediately and do the dishes, take a quick walk, or call a friend.

7. Do not worry about gaining weight

Do not try to change too much at one time. Focus on quitting smoking, and deal with weight loss later. If the thought of gaining weight keeps you from quitting smoking, try these ideas instead of trying to go on a strict diet:

  • Plan time to exercise.
  • Eat more fruit and drink more water to make you feel fuller.
  • Chew sugarless gum or eat sugarless candy.

8. Fight through tobacco cravings

Cravings for tobacco do not last long. Cravings usually pass within 5-10 minutes. Stop what you're doing and do or think about something else.

Sometimes, all someone needs to quit smoking is the right motivation. Read over the Pennsylvania Medical Society's Institute for Good Medicine "Reasons I Want to Quit Smoking," and find your motivation to put down cigarettes for good.

Permission granted for use by GlaxoSmithKline and adapted from HealthCoach 4MeSM.