If you’ve tried quitting before, you know how hard it can be. That’s because the nicotine in tobacco is an addictive drug. Medical guidelines suggest treatment that includes both medication and behavioral counseling. You should talk to your doctor to see which medication is right for you.
Most smokers who quit have tried more than once. So don’t feel discouraged if you’ve tried before. In fact, past attempts make your chance of success better this time. After a previous attempt, you know what works and what doesn’t.
Prepare for Success
Even if you’ve never tried to quit before, there are ways you can raise your chances of success. First you have to get ready:
Reasons to quit:
Think about what’s good about not smoking
Save money, etc
Encouragement from others:
Get support from others
Phone quit line
Research shows that getting help boosts your odds of success.
Anticipate the next steps: Be prepared!
Figure out what will give you the urge to smoke and what you’ll do to overcome it
Call a friend
Go for a walk
Use a stop-smoking medication
Carry hard candy to suck on
What will you do if you “slip up” and have a cigarette?
If someone else at home smokes and does not quit with you, can you make a smoke-free zone in the house?
Doctor support is important. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what may help you quit.
Research shows stop-smoking medicines can double or triple your chances of quitting1American Cancer Society. Double your chances of quitting smoking. October 23, 2007. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_3x_Double_Your_Chances.asp. Accessed March 1, 2008.
Only 3% to 5% of smokers are able to quit on their own, without treatment
A smoker is more likely to quit by knowing his or “lung age.” You can ask your doctor to do a lung-function test. It will compare how well your lungs work with those of an average healthy person.2Hughes, JR, Keely, J, Naud S. Shape of the relapse curve and long-term abstinence among untreated smokers [review]. Addiction. 2004; 99(1): 29-38.
Again, find out how a stop-smoking medication can help you.3Parkes G, Greenhalgh T, Griffin M, Dent R. Effect on smoking quit rate of telling patients their lung age: the Step2quit randomized controlled trial. BMJ Online. March 10, 2008. http://www.bmj.com. Accessed March 10, 2008.
You set the time: You have to decide that quitting is what you want and commit to it. Then, set a date to quit.
Make a quit plan:
Write a quit plan that has the above information. If you’ve tried quitting before, include what helped and what didn’t.4US Department of Health and Human Services, US Public Health Service. You can Quit Smoking: Consumer Guide. June 2000. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/smconsumr.pdf. Accessed April 6, 2008.
Once you’re READY, set a date when you will quit – in 2 weeks or less. And then do it! On your quit day, do not smoke even 1 puff.5US Department of Health and Human Services, US Public Health Service. You can Quit Smoking: Consumer Guide. June 2000. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco/smconsumr.pdf. Accessed April 6, 2008.
If you cannot stop smoking on your quit date, pick another day and try again.