While nearly 70% of adult smokers say they want to quit smoking and about 55% attempt it every year, only about 10% are successful in quitting for six to 12 months. If you are one of the 60% of people who want to quit but have not succeeded, these tips can help.
1. Utilize Behavioral Change Techniques
Habits are hard to break. However, there are scientifically proven techniques that can help you break almost any habit, including smoking. The program at DrJud.com uses behavioral change techniques to help users quit smoking or vaping in 21 days. This step-by-step program was developed by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist and teaches smokers who want to quit about how habits are formed and how they can be broken.
2. Identify Your Reason for Quitting
Because changing any habit is difficult, you need a powerful motivation to keep you going. For most people, simply knowing that they should quit because their doctor says so or the various anti-smoking campaigns have told them so is not enough. The reason needs to be honest and personal. Examples might include, wanting to save money by no longer purchasing cigarettes, or living long enough to meet your grandkids. The important part is that the reason should be motivating to you. It doesn’t need to seem like a “good reason,” to anyone else.
3. Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Quitting smoking isn’t just about breaking habits. The nicotine in cigarettes is an addictive substance. Some people have more success working on their smoking habit if they can reduce nicotine cravings. A nicotine replacement product, such as lozenges, gum, or patches may help some people. However, some users later find they have difficulty weaning themselves off the nicotine replacers.
4. Build a Support Network
Don’t feel like you have to do this on your own. Tell your friends and family that you are trying to quit. They can encourage you when you are struggling. Consider joining a support group or working with a counselor.
5. Identify and Avoid Triggers
Some people have triggers that make it more difficult for them to resist the urge to smoke. If you are used to having a cigarette during a particular activity, such as drinking or after eating, it may be helpful to substitute a different activity, such as brushing your teeth, chewing gum or going for a walk. Try keeping a diary that includes what time of day you feel the urge to smoke and what you are doing when you experience cravings to help you identify what your triggers are.
6. Eliminate Cigarettes From Your Home
Whether you are weaning yourself off cigarettes or quitting cold turkey, once you have decided that you are not going to smoke anymore, remove all traces of cigarettes from your home. Toss your last pack. Get rid of your ashtrays and lighters. Clean any items that smell like smoke, such as clothing, carpets, drapes, and upholstery. Use air fresheners to remove smoke smells from items that you can’t easily clean. Make sure your car is free of smoke smells and cigarettes.
7. Get Some Exercise
Exercise can reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It may also help you combat potential weight gain brought on because nicotine is an appetite suppressant and people who quit often eat more. You don’t have to do an intense workout. Walking your dog or doing some light yard work can do the trick.
Quitting smoking is difficult, but it is not impossible. If you have failed in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in the future. If one method of quitting doesn’t work for you, try another until you find what works best for you.