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How to Quit Smoking

Would you like to quit smoking? Quitting smoking can be a drag, but you can successfully quit when you know what to expect, are motivated, have social support, and create a personal game plan.

Stopping smoking requires desire, determination, and commitment, but the more you learn about your options and prepare for quitting, the easier it will be.

While some smokers successfully quit by going cold turkey, most people need a plan that involves a gradual reduction in smoking and different rituals for satisfying your needs. You may be surprised to discover other things in your life that are as pleasurable as smoking. It is possible to learn how to replace your smoking habits, manage your cravings, and join the millions of people who have kicked the habit for good!

Why quitting seems so hard

The pleasures of smoking

It’s not easy to let go of something that’s been such an integral part of your life for so long. That little stick of tobacco has stuck with you through thick or thin, rain or shine, day or night. With minimal effort it has provided hours of comfort and activated the pleasure centers in your brain. No wonder the thought of quitting seems so daunting. Who wants to give up something that can temporarily make sadness, stress, and boredom evaporate into thin air? Just thinking about it can stop you in your tracks. But that’s exactly what’s needed. Stop for a moment and think about why smoking is in your life. What purpose does it serve?

How to get your smoking needs met without smoking

Whatever your reasons are for having smoking in your life, there is an alternative behavior you can substitute in place of smoking which will achieve the same result in the end. Only you can determine what will work for you. Some examples include:

Purpose of Smoking

Sample Substitute Behaviors

Relaxation or stress reduction Deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage or exercise
Boredom or Loneliness Find something you’re passionate about such as art, music, or literature
To feel more comfortable in social situations Counseling, enroll in a public speaking class, join a support group
A meal doesn’t feel quite complete without a cigarette Eat a healthy meal and then top it off with a delicious dessert

Stop smoking plan (START)

S = Set a quit date.

T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.

A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting.

R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.

T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

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