A 10-Step Guide on How to Quit Smoking

Do you want to quit smoking?

Does the phrase “quit smoking” run a chill up your spine?

According to BeTobaccoFree.gov, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. Statistics show that 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18, and 98% start smoking by age 26. Remember that viral video of an Indonesian two-year old who smoked 40 cigarettes a day? Smoking is addictive due to nicotine, a substance abundant and naturally found in tobacco. Nicotine quickly travels to the brain, causing temporary relief and feeling of relaxation.

Because of its feel-good effect, most smokers find it hard to quit smoking. Majority of the smokers are under the working class, where they are faced with stress daily. Smoking is their way of releasing stress, causing an endless cycle of dependency on cigarette smoking.

More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964, including approximately 2.5 million deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking kills; and it doesn’t kill you alone, but also the people around you.

25 Ways to Finally Quit Smoking

Even if smoking is addicting, you can always make the move to stop and quit smoking. We’ll give you a friendly warning: it’s not easy to quit, but it’s not impossible to quit smoking.

Here are ways on how you can finally quit smoking!

  1. Create a list of the things you like about smoking

Get a piece of paper and fold it into two, lengthwise. Unfold it, and on the left side of the paper, write down the things you like about smoking; be completely honest about this!

On the right side, list down the things that you dislike about smoking. It might be your girlfriend doesn’t want to cuddle up after you smoke, or how your child bursts into fits of coughs because of your smell. List down the things that affects your life negatively.

When you’re done with this list, read and reread this continuously. Try to change your point of view on the things you like about cigarette smoking, and notice its effects on your dislikes. Gather the courage to ask your family and friends who are nonsmokers; use their feedback to add more negatives on your list. If you realize how smoking impacts your life, you are ready to quit.

  1. List down the reasons why quitting smoking isn’t easy for you.

This seems discouraging for you, but it’s time to face your fears and worries.

List down all the reasons you could think why it wouldn’t be easy for you to quit smoking. While writing down this list, you will start to think that it seems like its impossible to quit, right? After you’re done listing down the reasons, it’s time to motivate yourself by thinking of solutions or counteractions on how combat these negativities.

As you learn that every reason can be resolved, it will be an encouraging experience. When you face these challenges, you know how to tackle it down one by one

  1. Make it official: Quit Date.

Remember how people always promise to go on a diet on Monday or start exercising by next week? Those are indefinite dates. You should set a definite date when to quit smoking. Make it official; draft a contract and have someone sign it up for you as a witness.

  1. Get an index card or open your phone’s notes and start writing your reasons why you’re quitting.

Write down your reasons why you’re quitting. If there’s enough space on your index card, write why each reason is important. Keep it with you at all times. When you feel the need to light a cigarette, reread this list.

  1. Before your quit date, resist the urge to buy cigarettes.

There’s no instant way to stop smoking cigarettes. You have to teach and discipline yourself to wean down on smoking. You may consume 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day, now, limit yourself to one pack a week. Bring with you two to three sticks a day, and leave the rest in your house. This can help you wean from smoking too much down to smoking a few sticks. Resist the urge to buy yourself a pack from the convenience store, or ask for an extra stick from a co-worker. Remember, discipline is the key.

There are alternatives on smoking that is deemed safer, as a 2015 expert review “…concludes that [using an] e cigarette is 95% safer than smoked tobacco and they can help smokers to quit.” You may try e cigarettes but opt for a lower nicotine content to help taper down your craving.

  1. Take note of your smoking habits at least a week before you quit smoking.

Once you determine what event triggers your smoking habits, you will learn when to anticipate the craving. This helps you avoid the triggering event or at least curb the craving.

  1. Come up with a list on what to do when you’re beginning to crave for a stick.

There are different diversions on how you can avoid your cravings. Try the following suggestions below:

  • Take a five-minute walk
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Organize and rearrange your workstation
  • Chew gum
  • Google images of “cigarette smoking effects”
  • Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea
  • Play with your kids or spend time with your partner
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Eat a healthy snack to satiate the craving

Keep this list in mind as you will surely crave for it. Do not be discouraged, but do not let yourself be tempted in giving in to your desires.

  1. Make sure to quit in a good mood.

It will be easier for you to quit smoking once you’re in a good mood. Negative feelings are stressful, which will only trigger your need to smoke.

  1. Start clearing yourself of the past.

Once your quit date draws near, start clearing everything that will remind you of your smoking days. Throw away your leftover cigarettes, lighters, car lighter, everything! Every time you feel like buying some cigarettes, put your cigarette money in a glass jar. You’d be surprised that you’re actually saving up money that can help you pay off more debts, or buy yourself something fancy to impress your date.

The only way to break a habit is to change your habit. Start a different routine, stick by it until it becomes your new habit.

  1. Couldn’t resist the urge? Start over again.

A study from BMJ Open notes that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests 8 to 11 attempts. The American Cancer Society believes 8 to 10. The Australian Cancer Council is less optimistic with 12 to 14 attempts.

Again, there’s no instant way to stop and quit smoking. Some people are prone to relapse; you could be one of them. Quitting isn’t easy, but there’s always time to try again. Your resolve might not be as solid as you have tried before, but don’t wait until the time that you cannot undo the hazards of smoking.

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