Take Action: Make a Plan
Take these steps to quit smoking.
Write down your reasons to quit.
Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. For example, your reasons to quit might be to set a healthy example for your children and to save money. Keep the list with you to remind yourself why quitting is worth it.
Set a quit date.
- Pick a date that gives you enough time to get ready to quit. But make sure it’s soon enough that you don’t lose your motivation.
- Tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your quit date so they can support you.
Make a quit plan.
- Think about situations that might trigger you to smoke. Plan how you will handle them without smoking.
- Right before your quit date, go through your house, car, and workplace to get rid of anything that has to do with smoking. Throw away all your cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters, and matches.
- Clean your clothes so they don’t smell like smoke.
Use this online quit plan tool or call the tobacco quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support and help setting up your quit plan.
Take Action: Change Routines
Change your daily routine.
Changing your routine on and after your quit date can help you break habits related to smoking.
- Try taking a different route to work.
- For the first few weeks, avoid activities and places you connect with smoking.
- Do things and go places where smoking isn’t allowed.
- Make getting active and eating healthy part of your quit plan. Eat healthy snacks instead of smoking. Go for walks. Drink lots of water.
Break the connection between eating and smoking.
Many people like to smoke when they finish a meal. Here are some ways to break the connection:
- Get up from the table as soon as you are done eating.
- Brush your teeth and think about the fresh, clean feeling in your mouth.
- Try going for a walk after meals.
Take Action: Stress and Cravings
Deal with stress.
Manage stress by creating peaceful times in your daily schedule. Try relaxation methods like deep breathing or lighting candles.
You can also check out these tips for dealing with stress as you quit.
When you quit smoking, the urge to smoke will come and go. Most cravings only last 5 to 10 minutes.
Here are some ways to manage cravings:
- Do something else with your hands, like washing them, sorting the mail, or washing the dishes.
- Have healthy snacks ready, like carrots, apples, or sugar-free gum.
- Distract yourself with a new activity. Try doing crosswords or other puzzles.
- If you used to smoke while driving, try something new. Take public transportation or ride with a friend.
- Take several deep breaths to help you relax.
Remember, quitting may be hard – so prepare yourself. Take this withdrawal quiz every day to see your progress.
Take Action: Get Help
If you want help, talk with a doctor or pharmacist.
- A doctor or nurse can help you choose strategies for quitting smoking that are likely to work best for you.
- A doctor or a pharmacist can tell you about medicines that can improve your chances of quitting – and how to use these medicines the right way.
When you stop smoking, your body goes through withdrawal from nicotine. This means you may feel irritable, anxious, restless, or hungry. You may even have trouble sleeping. Find out about medicines that can help with withdrawal.
What about cost?
You can get free help with quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or by visiting Smokefree.gov.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover some services to help people quit smoking. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you.
Check with your insurance company to find out what kind of counseling and medicines are included in your plan. For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.
Take Action: Stick with It
Don’t give up!
Remember, it takes time to overcome addiction. Check out these tips on staying smokefree.
Learn from the past.
Many people try to quit more than once before they succeed. Most people who start smoking again do so within the first 3 months after quitting. If you’ve tried to quit before, think about what worked for you and what didn’t.
Depression, drinking alcohol, and being around other smokers can make it harder to quit. If you are finding it hard to stay quit, talk with your doctor about what medicines might help you. Remember, quitting will make you healthier.