If you’re determined to quit for good this time, these tips can help.
Ready to quit smoking? Congratulations if you are! Quitting smoking can be difficult and many smokers find it takes more than one attempt to quit for good. But one of the best ways to increase your chance of success is to make a plan and prepare before you start.
There are so many benefits to quitting smoking, so it’s worth putting in some extra effort up front to tip the scales of being successful in your favor. Not only are their numerous well-documented health benefits to not smoking, but there are non-health benefits as well. When you stop smoking, you’ll save money, will regain your sense of taste and smell and will be able to breathe easier and exercise more, for starters.
Every person’s journey to being smoke-free is different, and what works for one person may not work for another, but the tips below are designed to help you create a personalized quit plan that works for you so you can make this attempt at quitting the one that keeps you smoke-free forever.
- Set a date. It’s best to make a plan and set a specific date when you plan to start. This makes your plans concrete so when the date arrives, you’re ready to hit the ground running. Consider making your quit day one without too many temptations or stressors.
- Envision your why. Everyone has a different reason for quitting. For some people, knowing it will improve their health is the driving force. Others may want to quit for their kids, to save money or to make themselves feel better. Whatever your reason may be, think about it, visualize it and write it down. When times get tough and you want to light up, your why may be just the thing that stops you. Your why may change over time, but having a specific reason to stay smoke-free will be a powerful tool to keep you motivated as you weather the days, weeks and months ahead.
- Identify triggers and temptations. It may seem logical that you’ll want to get rid of all tobacco products before you quit, but there’s more to it than that. Think about what tempts you to smoke and what habits you associate with smoking. Then find ways to get rid of those triggers. If you always light up when you have a cup of coffee, switch to tea. If stress makes you reach for a cigarette, think about ways to avoid or manage that stress.
- Consider a quit smoking aid. Smoking is a physical addiction to nicotine, it’s not just a bad habit. That’s what makes it so hard to quit. Educate yourself about the effects of nicotine on your brain and think about whether using a quit smoking aid will help you manage the effects of withdrawal as you quit. Talk to your health care provider or a pharmacist for more information about over-the-counter and prescription medications to determine if one is right for you.
- Learn from the past. Many people who quit smoking don’t do it on their first attempt. If you have tried to quit smoking in the past, think about what you learned from previous attempts. Knowing what tripped you up and what you could have done better will leave you more prepared so this time becomes your last time because you quit for good.
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Date Last Reviewed: October 18, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD