How to Quit Smoking

The mere thinking that you are about to quit smoking makes you nervous, but your chances will be better if you prepare yourself beforehand. So follow these simple steps that you should START to make your path to being smoke-free a success.

Set a quit date

Pick a date with the next two weeks to quit. That gives you enough time to get ready, but not too long that you will lose your drive to quit. You can consider the following dates: Your birthday or wedding anniversary; New Year’s Day; Independence Day; or World No Tobacco Day (May 31).

Tell family, friends, and colleagues that you plan to quit

Quitting smoking is easier with the support of others. Tell you family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit. Tell them how they can help you. Ask everyone to understand your change in mood as you undergo the transition period. 

If you have friends who smoke, ask them to quit with your or at least not to smoke around you. You can even get support from other people through a support group, Internet chat room, or one-on-one therapy. Even a little help can go a long way.

Anticipate the plan for the challenges you will face

Most people go back to smoking three months after they quit tobacco. Your first three months may be hard, as you tend to be more tempted especially when you are stressed or feeling down. It helps to know when you need a cigarette most. 

Try making a craving journal and write down which situations you may be tempted to smoke. Plan for how to deal with the urge before it hits. Read our guide article about the components of smoking addiction to know alternatives to your smoking cravings.

Aside from temptation, expect feelings of withdrawal during the process of quitting smoking. Withdrawal is the discomfort of giving up nicotine, your body’s way of telling you that it’s learning to be smoke-free. These feelings will go away in time.

Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products

Getting rid of things that remind you of smoking will also help you get ready to quit. Make things clean and smell fresh in your car and at home. Throw away all your cigarettes and matches, as well giving away all of your lighters and ashtrays. Have your dentist clean your teeth to get rid of smoking stains. And don’t even think about saving a pack of cigarettes "just in case."

Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit

Quitting smoking outright is not your only choice. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to quit. They can suggest medicine and other alternatives to help with withdrawal. Also, if you are taking prescribed medicine (other than anti-withdrawal ones), ask your health advisor on any change in the prescription. Nicotine change how some drugs work. You may need to change your prescription after you quit.

Your doctor or pharmacist can also point you to places to find support, such as toll-free quit lines.

If you cannot see your doctor, you can get some medicines without a prescription that can help you quit smoking. Go to your local pharmacy or grocery store for over-the-counter medicine like the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or nicotine lozenge. Read the instructions to see if the medicine is right for you. If unsure, ask a pharmacist.