5 Proven Tricks to Help You Quit Smoking for Good

Quitting smoking is tough, but getting to the point where you’re ready to quit is half the battle. According to government estimates, about 70% of current U.S. adult smokers want to kick the habit—but smoking is a hard habit to kick.

Comprehensive dental work gave Sharmil Hassan the motivation to quit successfully. “On my last visit to my parents in South Africa, I decided to have some dental work done while on vacation there,” says Hassan. “I wanted my teeth to remain as white as I could possibly get them, so I had the dentist give me a rather long and thorough—and painful—ultrasonic cleaning.”

Switching up your routine and keeping away from certain triggers can help you avoid cravings.

Switching up your routine and keeping away from certain triggers can help you avoid cravings.

Changing up your routine can also help keep cravings at bay. “I knew that not smoking while driving would be my hardest obstacle in kicking the habit, so I would carry a bottle of water with me in the car,” says Stacey Massaglia, 34, of Mount Juliet, Tenn. “I would drink the water as I drove.”

Research shows that support systems—like behavioral therapy or counseling—are effective ways to supplement nicotine-replacement products or non-nicotine medications. And support from family and friends is crucial. Spread the word that you’re quitting and consider asking other smokers in the family to join you.

You might also find support by seeking out group meetings or classes near you. One Nicotine Anonymous member told Health.com that he attended sessions for nearly eight months while he tried to quit. “It was challenging each week admitting I was still smoking, but I was always accepted, always understood,” he says. “The experience and encouragement of other members helped bring to me a new willingness to let go of nicotine. Using the tools of this program I was finally able to recover a life without nicotine. It’s a gift I never take for granted.”

Congratulations! You are taking a big step. You are ready to quit today. It’s exciting. But it can also be scary.

If you’ve been planning to quit, you may already know that when you stop smoking, you may not feel so great at first. Some people feel grouchy and have headaches or cravings. The good news is that these things are at their worst in the first 2 to 3 days after you quit, although they can last up to several weeks.2 And there are things that can help.

If you decided to quit today but haven’t planned ahead, don’t worry. Here are some things to consider to help you succeed:

Use medicine

Using nicotine replacement products and/or medicine doubles your chancesof quitting.1 Nicotine is addictive. When you quit smoking, your body craves the nicotine that it was used to getting when you smoked. But the nicotine isn’t the harmful part of smoking or chewing. It’s all the other things in tobacco that are bad for you.

  • Nicotine replacement products can help with cravings and withdrawal.
  • Other medicines that can help are bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).

Get support

Support can help you through the stress of losing this part of your life. Friends and family can provide shoulders to lean on, and they can encourage you to stay smoke-free. They can help distract you when you want to smoke, and they can understand when you’re a bit grouchy.

In-person, online, and phone support can also help you succeed. Here are some ways to get support:

  • National tobacco quit line: 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Counseling from a doctor, nurse, or therapist
  • Stop-smoking programs, such as the American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking program (www.lungusa.com)

Know your reason

You are taking an important step to improve your life. Make sure that you know your reasons for quitting smoking. The most common reason to quit is to live longer. It’s a gift you can give yourself and your family.

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