Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time. And a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event on November 21 be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of people who smoke across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk. Here are some tips:
Deciding to Quit Smoking and Making a Plan
Smokers often say, “Don’t tell me why to quit, tell me how.” There’s no one right way to quit, but there are some requirements for quitting with success. Key steps for quitting are covered here.
Make the decision to quit smoking
The decision to quit smoking is one that only you can make. Others may want you to quit, but the real commitment must come from you.
Think about why you want to quit.
Write down your reasons so you can look at them every time you want to smoke.
If you’re ready to quit, setting a date and deciding on a plan will help move you to the next step.
What’s important about picking a Quit Day?
Once you’ve decided to quit, you’re ready to pick a quit date. This is a key step. Pick a day within the next month as your Quit Day. Picking a date too far away gives you time to change your mind. Still, you need to give yourself enough time to prepare. You might choose a date with a special meaning like a birthday or anniversary, or the date of the Great American Smokeout (the third Thursday in November each year). Or you might want to just pick a random date. Circle the date on your calendar. Make a strong, personal commitment to quit on that day.
How do you plan to quit?
There are many ways to quit, and some work better than others. Nicotine replacement therapy, prescription drugs, and other methods are available. Learn more about ways to quit so you can find the method that best suites you. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor or dentist, and get their advice and support.
Support is another key part of your plan. Stop-smoking programs, telephone quit lines, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking counselors can be a great help. Also tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you’re quitting. They can give you help and encouragement, which increases your chances of quitting for good.
For the best chance at success, your plan should include at least 2 of these options.
As you make your quit plan, you may wonder about success rates of the many different methods available. Success rates are hard to figure out for many reasons. First, not all programs define success in the same way. Does success mean that a person isn’t smoking at the end of the program? After 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Does smoking fewer cigarettes (rather than stopping completely) count as success? If a method you’re considering claims a certain success rate, ask for more details on how success is defined and what kind of follow-up is done to confirm the rate.
It’s important to remember that quitting is hard. Quit smoking programs in general seem to have fairly low success rates, but they can still be worthwhile. Only about 4% to 7% of people are able to quit smoking on any given attempt without medicines or other help. Finding a program that fits your needs can make a difference.
Counseling and other types of emotional support can boost success rates higher than medicines alone. There’s also early evidence that combining certain medicines may work better than using a single drug.
Behavioral and supportive therapies may increase success rates even further. They also help the person stay smoke-free. Check the package insert of any product you are using to see if the manufacturer provides free telephone-based counseling.
Here are some steps to help you get ready for your Quit Day
Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment, not luck. Decide now on your own plan.
On your Quit Day
Over time, smoking becomes a strong habit. Daily events, like waking up in the morning, finishing a meal, drinking coffee, or taking a break at work, often trigger your urge to smoke. Breaking the link between the trigger and smoking will help you stop.
On your Quit Day go down this list:
Be prepared to feel the urge to smoke. It will pass whether you smoke or not. Use the 4 D’s to help fight the urge:
Often this simple trick will allow you to move beyond the strong urge to smoke.
Source: American Cancer society: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-toba...