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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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How to Quit Smoking

5 Rules for Quitting Smoking

1. Know your triggers and avoid them early on. Try to stay away from situations that normally make you feel like smoking, especially during the first 3 months. This is when you're most likely to start smoking again. Make a plan. Write down your triggers and how you can manage each situation. 

2. Know that the first few days are the toughest. Especially if you're quitting "cold turkey," the first few days are the hardest. Have a quit smoking support group available. This can be a good friend, support group or a quit line you can call. You'll probably feel irritable, depressed, slow, and tired. Once you get past those first days, you'll begin to feel normal (but still have cigarette cravings).  

3. Don't give in to your craving to smoke. Every time you don't smoke when you have a craving, your chances of quitting successfully go up. Change your habits, and find other things for your mouth to do such as eating carrot sticks or sunflower seeds.

4. Try a new hobby with friends who don't smoke. Do something that keeps your hands active and reduces stress, such as exercise. This makes success more likely. 

5. Reward yourself. What you are doing is not easy. Treat yourself with something you enjoy.  

When smoking is no longer something you do, it can change how you see yourself. As much as you want to quit smoking, you may be surprised to feel sad or miss it. That's normal. Take care, though, if feeling sad usually makes you want to smoke.

How Hard Will It Be to Quit?

Everyone is different, and how tough it is depends on things such as:

  • The number of cigarettes you smoke daily
  • The number of people you spend time with who smoke (parents, friends, and co-workers)
  • The reasons why you smoke (such as to control your weight, to fit in, or during certain social situations)

Focus on the benefits. Within hours of stopping cigarettes, your body starts to recover from the effects of nicotine and additives. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature -- all of which are higher than they should be because of the nicotine in cigarettes -- return to healthier levels. You can breathe easier. Poisonous carbon monoxide in your blood drops, so your blood can carry more oxygen.

No doubt about it: Quitting helps your whole body. It even helps your looks, as you'll be less likely to get wrinkles when you're still young. And you'll save money, too.

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