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Smoking Cessation Health Center

Surviving Without Smoke: Month 1

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After You Quit Smoking continued...

Many people, knowingly or unknowingly, sabotage themselves during the first weeks of quitting, says Arvon. During this time when you’re very vulnerable, don’t put yourself in situations that will up the pressure to smoke. For example:

  • Don’t go out with friends who are smokers for a few weeks. This doesn’t mean to drop your smoking friends completely. Just tell them you’ll be taking a break while you’re in the early, difficult days of quitting and back when you’re feeling stronger.
  • Change your habits. If sitting outside your favorite coffee shop with your morning coffee and a cigarette is an old familiar routine, you might find it almost impossible not to light up there. Instead, have tea or juice on the front porch with your morning paper.
  • Many people associate alcohol with having a cigarette, so you might want to stay away from happy hour for a few weeks.

Instead of sabotaging yourself, reward yourself every time you succeed. Many people recommend rewards after the first week or two of quitting, but, Arvon says, why wait that long? Give yourself small rewards for every single day you make it through the first two weeks, and bigger ones at the end of week one and week two.

Small Rewards:

  • A new book, DVD, or video game.
  • A dozen golf balls.
  • New earrings.
  • A manicure (for your hands that will look so much more attractive without a cigarette in them).
  • A box of expensive, artisan chocolates. To avoid “quitter’s weight gain,” indulge in just one per evening.

Bigger Rewards:

  • A fancy dinner out.
  • Go to a sports event or concert.
  • Have your car detailed.
  • An evening at the movies or theater.
  • A full-body massage and facial.
  • A weekend away.

You know the things that motivate you. Dole them out to yourself for every day you don’t put a cigarette in your mouth.

Finally, says Arvon, you have to learn to overcome the learned ways of thinking that lead you to pick up a cigarette. “A lot of times, we smoke when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed. When that feeling comes on, stop and think about why you’re feeling that way.”

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