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Ways to quit smoking

Renew your pledge to quit smoking!

If you have tried to quit smoking and failed before, do not lose hope because most smokers fail several times before quitting successfully; your past failures are not a lesson that you are unable to quit but parts of the normal journey toward becoming a non-smoker.

Preparation to Quit Smoking

  1. Draw a line down the centre of a piece of paper. Write down an honest list of all the things you like about smoking on one side and a list of all the things you dislike on the other side, such as how it can affect your health, family and work etc.
  2. Make changes over time as you get feedbacks from family and friends. Once the side with dislikes has more items than the other side, you are ready to quit.
  3. Then, make another thorough list of the difficulties of quitting smoking. It can be long and discouraging. Next to each item, list one or more solutions to overcome the challenge. The more you anticipate, the higher chance of success you have. For example, if you write "Smoking helps me to release stress", your option can be "Take a five minute walk instead".
  4. Set a date to quit smoking and write a "quit smoking contract" that includes your signature and that of two supportive witnesses.
  5. Write down all your reasons for quitting smoking on an index card and keep it near you at all times. You can include "My daughter, my granddaughter, my husband, my wife etc.
  6. Post an "effects of smoking" list at a visible place in your house. Whenever you are tempted to start smoking, look at the list to see how smoking can damage your health.
  7. As you are nearer to the date of quitting, buy fewer cigarette packs a time, and only carry two or three sticks with you at a time (try putting them in an Altoids tin). Eventually you will find it a hassle to smoke since it is not available easily, and thus it will make you smoke lesser.
  8. Keep a list of smoking details simply by noting down the time you smoke, what you are doing at the time, and how bad the craving is. This will enable you to see if specific times of the day or activities would increase your cravings (suggested by Gaylene Mooney, chairman of the American Association for Respiratory Care's Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues). Then arrange fun, unique things to do during those times.
  9. Prepare a list of counter-measure for battling craving. Make copies of the list and keep one with you at all times so that you find something to do when craving hits you. For example: take a walk, drink a glass of water, kiss your partner or child, throw the ball for the dog, wash the car, clean out a cupboard or closet, have sex, chew a piece of gum, wash your face, brush your teeth, take a nap, get a cup of coffee or tea, practice your deep breathing, light a candle.
  10. Create your own smoke-free zones. Do not allow anyone to use tobacco in your home, car, or even while sitting next to you in a restaurant. Make "No Smoking Signs" and hang them around your house and in your car.
  11. Instead of a cigarette break at work, play a game of solitaire or minesweeper (Expert mode) on your computer. It takes about the same time and is much more fun (although, like cigarettes, it can get addictive). If your company prohibits games like that, find another five-minute diversion: a phone call, a stroll, or eating a piece of fruit outdoors (but not where smokers congregate).

Beginning to Quit Smoking

  1. When your quit date arrives, throw away anything that reminds you of smoking, such as your leftover cigarettes, matches, lighters, ashtrays and cigarette holders.
  2. Make yourself happy on the date set to quit smoking. You have to be in good mood because studies show that there is less chance to quit smoking successfully when you are depressed or under stress.
  3. Stay away from smokers, including friends who smoke. If inevitable, get them not to smoke in front of you or you can walk away. Make the smokers have some candies or chewing gum to eliminate the smell of cigarette after smoking.
  4. Switch to decaf until you have been cigarette-free for two months. Too much caffeine while quitting can cause the jitters.
  5. Swing by the health food store for some Avena sativa (oat) extract. One study shows that taken at 1 millilitres four times daily, it helped habitual tobacco smokers significantly decrease the number of cigarettes they smoked.
  6. Think of difficult things you have done in the past. Ask people who know you well to remind you of challenges you have successfully overcome. This will give you the necessary self-confidence to stick with your pledge not to smoke.
  7. Control your emotions. Tell your friends, coworkers, boss, partner, kids, etc., how you feel about situations instead of bottling up your emotions. If something makes you angry, express it instead of smothering it with cigarette smoke. If you are bored, admit to yourself that you are bored and find something energetic to do instead of lighting up.
  8. Put all the money you are saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar. You want to physically see how much you have been saving. Earmark that money for something you have always dreamed of doing, but never thought you could afford, be it a cruise to Alaska or a first-class ticket to visit an old college friend.
  9. Affirm yourself several times a day, quietly repeat to yourself the affirmation, "I am a nonsmoker." Many quitters see themselves as smokers who are just not smoking for the moment. They have a self-image as smokers who still want a cigarette. Silently repeating the affirmation "I am a nonsmoker" will help you change your view of yourself, and, even if it may seem silly to you, this is actually useful. Use it!
  10. Ask for support. Ask for support from co-workers, friends and family members. Ask for their tolerance. Let them know you are quitting, and that you might be edgy or grumpy for a few days. If you do not ask for support, you certainly will not get any. If you do, you will be surprised how much it can help. Take a chance - try it and see! Ask friends and family members not to smoke in your presence. Do not be afraid to ask. This is more important than you may realize.
  11. Do not pretend smoking was not enjoyable - it was. This is like losing a good friend - and it is okay to grieve the loss. Feel that grief, do not worry, it is okay. Feel, and you heal. Stay with it - you can do it!

You may like to read more on the natural ways to quit smoking.

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