How to quit smoking: Four tips to live by

Posted June 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

by Lisa D. Ellis

Each person has different needs when it comes to smoking cessation. Use these strategies to make it work for you.

Here are four philosophies/tips to quit smoking that can be helpful to remember. They can help you stay strong in your efforts to stop smoking once and for all.

1. One size doesn’t fit all.

Each person has different needs when it comes to smoking cessation efforts. This means what worked for your friend or neighbor may not be as successful for you. That’s why there are many smoking cessation strategies you can try to find the best fit. Many people find that taking a multi-faceted approach is most effective, incorporating such things as online resources and support groups, medications and behavioral therapy to help them quit. To explore some of the options out there, you can do a search online for smoking cessation programs, ask your doctor’s office for recommendations, or check with the American Cancer Society. Keep in mind that some programs provide information and tools online to assist in the process, while others may offer phone counseling, or live support group meetings. Decide what works best for you.

Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement products that can help ease the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Some have a good success rate and may be what you need to get over the hump. Behavioral therapy can compliment your other efforts by helping you develop some new coping techniques and behaviors to replace your negative ones so it will be easier to break your addiction. If your first attempts at quitting aren’t effective, don’t be afraid to try different smoking cessation tips and approaches until you develop the best combination that works for your situation.

2. Make your home a safe haven.

You spend the majority of your time at home and if this is where you used to smoke, it’s probably ripe with trigger spots that can cause you to crave a cigarette. For instance, if you typically lit up after dinner, while you talked on the phone, or while sitting on your front porch having a beer, the urge might reappear in these same situations.

The first step to break your old habits is to simply be aware of them. Once you identify these areas of weakness, change up your routine a little. Chew gum when you’re on the phone or munch on carrot sticks, take a walk after dinner and forego the alcohol while you’re still feeling vulnerable. Taking up a new hobby or sport can also help you burn off excess energy and resist the craving for that cigarette fix. If using your cell phone prompts you to reach for a cigarette, set up daily motivational messages to pop up on your screen and download a mobile version of a quitting guide. Some people also find it helpful to keep a journal of where their urges strike, and to come up with a written plan on how to handle the situation in the future.

3. Remember that you aren’t alone.

When the going gets tough, reach out to others who’d successfully quit smoking. Their stories can help bolster your resolve and motivate you to stick with it. Online smoking cessation programs and resources make it easy to find former smokers who are willing to share their stories and smoking cessation tips. Some programs can connect you to experts who can give you advice and information to assist you in your efforts.

You might also benefit from a quit buddy who can support you through the process. Modern technology makes it easier than ever to connect at all hours via the phone, email, Facebook, Twitter and texting. With the right resources in place, you’ll never have to feel alone and helpless when the urge to smoke hits.

4. Keep your eye on the prize.

Focus on why you decided to quit in the first place. Be ready to remind yourself over and over again in different ways. For instance, if your motivation is that you want to live longer for your family, post their pictures on the refrigerator as a constant reminder of this.

If you’re tired of throwing away money on cigarettes, establish a vacation jar to collect your savings and use it to plan a trip in the not-to-distant future to celebrate your success. Don’t let fear of gaining weight sabotage your efforts. Have plenty of healthy snacks on hand to keep your mouth busy. Reward yourself for your hard work by having your teeth whitened once you finally quit for good, get a new hair cut for your healthier self or by buy yourself something special.

You may encounter some moments of weakness along the way, but don’t let this be an excuse to give up. If you don’t succeed at first, it’s important for yourself and your health to try again. Remember that when you stop smoking, you’ll add years to your life, keep more money in your wallet and help yourself look younger and feel better.

Dr. Rafael Pajaro reviewed this article.