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At Last, Quit Smoking for Good

7 tips for quitting cigarettes -- no matter how many times you’ve tried before.
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6. Know Why You Crave Cigarettes continued...

People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, Schachter says. And the nicotine in cigarettes is every bit as addictive as heroin or cocaine. In his book Life and Breath, Schachter explains that anyone who smokes at least five to 10 cigarettes a day is considered addicted to cigarettes. And sometimes it takes a major catastrophe, such as hospitalization, for people to be able to stop smoking and stay ex-smokers.

Even those who have been able to stop smoking for years can get the urge to smoke again. And while no two smokers are alike, trying to quit smoking is guaranteed to increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

7. Get Support or Counseling

One way to deal with the stress of quitting -- and increase the odds that you’ll quit for good -- is to consider group or individual counseling, according to Wolfenden. And, she adds, always talk to your physician to get the best help you can.

Quitting Cigarettes for Good

So if cigarettes are so addictive, can you quit smoking for good? Yes. Anyone who wants to quit smoking has a 3% to 5% chance of quitting, says Schachter. Most patients who do quit smoking have to try several times. But each time you try to quit, you have another 5% chance.

Your chances of stopping cigarettes once and for all adds up over time. For example, say you’re on your fourth try to quit smoking. This means you may have a 20% chance of really making it:

  • 4 stop smoking tries X 5% chance = 20% chance of making it 

Schachter tells WebMD that the odds are increasingly in your favor the more attempts you make to quit smoking cigarettes. “But if you slip and have a cigarette, don’t beat yourself up,” Schachter says. Most smokers slip several times before they quit smoking for good. He firmly believes that most people who have the stamina to try to quit smoking, will quit smoking.

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Reviewed on July 28, 2010
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