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Deciding to live tobacco-free is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. It’s difficult to quit, however, especially if you have been smoking for a prolonged period of time. Here are some tips to hopefully help you accomplish this new goal you have set for yourself.
- Choose a date. Set a date for when you would like to start your journey to quitting; it is recommended that you choose a time of the month when you won’t be stressed (preferably). You wouldn’t want to quit when there’s a big deadline approaching for school or work; celebrations can also be a bad time to quit, as many people smoke while they drink and/or socialize.
- Make a list of reasons why you’re quitting. This will help keep you accountable and help keep you motivated should you be tempted to go back to smoking during the journey. If you’re having trouble finding benefits from quitting tobacco, here are some to keep in mind.
- Your chances of developing cancer, heart attacks, chronic lung disease, stroke, and cataracts will decrease.
- Your blood pressure will decrease to more normal levels.
- Your skin will rehydrate itself; you will notice less wrinkles, your teeth won’t be as yellow, and your nails won’t be stained from nicotine.
- You will save money and have more energy.
- Your home, vehicle, clothes, hair, etc., won’t have the lingering smell of smoke.
- You will be a great example for your family and friends to follow.
- Your lifespan will increase.
- Find a support group. This could be a few close friends and/or family members. These individuals can help encourage you and keep you busy during nicotine withdrawal. It may be best during this time to stay away from friends and family members who do smoke so you aren’t tempted to fall off of the wagon.
- Determine what triggers your smoking habits. Maybe it’s after work, during your drive home, or after a meal. Perhaps you tend to smoke when you’re stressed or feeling down/upset. Form healthy habits in the place of these; keep gum on hand, go for a walk, meet up with a friend, etc. Stay busy so your mind doesn’t trick you into thinking you need a cigarette.
- Expect cravings. These will happen for five to ten minutes during your journey. When they hit, drink a glass of water, go over your list of reasons for quitting, breathe deeply, participate in a hobby, etc. Eat healthy snacks, such as carrots, celery or nuts. Keep yourself busy until the moment passes.
- Expect to feel a bit unlike yourself. You may feel anxious, sad, irritated, and/or restless. This is normal.
- Trash all existing cigarettes in your possession. Throw away any packs you have, including those you have saved for an emergency.
- Treat yourself. No, not by smoking! Since you won’t be spending money on cigarettes, you will have more money to treat yourself to other things, such as a nice dinner, new clothes, a getaway trip, etc. If you’re the type of person who needs to see their motivation, keep a jar in your home and fill it with money you would spend each day/week on cigarettes. You will see how quickly it adds up!
- Meet with your physician. If you’re afraid of going cold turkey, meet with your doctor and talk to him or her about your options. There are over-the-counter medications you can take to help make quitting easier for you.