Uncertain of how to give up smoking cigarettes? Choose from these 20+ effective smoking cessation strategies to get started on the road to a healthier, smoke-free life.
Make an honest list of all the things you like about smoking.
Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write them on one side; on the other side make a list of all the things you dislike, such as how it can interfere with your health, work, family, etc., suggests Daniel Z. Lieberman, M.D., director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Think about the list over time, and make changes. If you are brave enough, get feedback from family and friends about things they don’t like about your use of cigarettes. When the negative side outweighs the positive side, you are ready to quit.
Then make another list of why quitting won’t be easy.
Be thorough, even if the list gets long and discouraging. Here’s the important part: Next to each entry, list one or more options for overcoming that challenge. For instance, one item might be: “Nicotine is an addictive drug.” Your option might be: “Try a nicotine replacement alternative.” Another reason might be: “Smoking helps me deal with stress.” Your option might be: “Take five-minute walks instead.” The more you anticipate the challenges to quitting, and their solutions, the better your chance of success.
Set a quit date.
Write a “quit date contract” that includes your signature and that of a supportive witness.
Write all your reasons for quitting on an index card.
As you’re getting ready to quit, stop buying cartons of cigarettes.
Keep a list of when you smoke for a week before quitting.
Prepare a list of things to do when a craving hits.
Quit when you’re in a good mood.
When your quit date arrives, throw out anything that reminds you of smoking.
Put all the money you’re saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar.
Switch to decaf until you’ve been cigarette-free for two months.
Think of difficult things you have done in the past.
Find a healthy snack food you can carry with you.
Switch to a cup of herbal tea whenever you usually have a cigarette.
Instead of a cigarette break at work, play a game of solitaire on your computer.
Picture yourself playing tennis.
Create a smoke-free zone.
Post this list in a visible location in your house.
• Increases risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure • Increases risk of diabetes • Reduces levels of folate, low levels of which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease • Affects mental capacity and memory • Contributes to thin bones • Increases likelihood of impotence • Reduces fertility • Affects ability to smell and taste • Results in low-birth-weight, premature babies • Increases risk of depression in adolescents • Increases your child’s risk of obesity and diabetes later in life if you smoked while pregnant.
Swing by the health food store for some Avena sativa (oat) extract.
Tell your friends, coworkers, boss, partner, and kids how you feel.
Make an appointment with an acupuncturist.
If you relapse, just start again.