Quitting Smoking: What You Need to Know
There's no one way to quit smoking, but to quit, you must be ready both emotionally and mentally. You must also want to quit smoking for yourself, not to please your friends or family. It helps to plan ahead. This guide will help you get started.
What Should I Do First?
Your first days of not smoking will be the hardest. You should pick a date to quit smoking and then stick to it. Write down your reasons for quitting before your quit day and read the list every day before and after you quit.
You should also come up with a quit plan. It will help you stay focused and motivated. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Write down when you smoke, why you smoke, and what you are doing when you smoke. These are your smoking triggers. You need to avoid these as often as possible going forward.
Stop smoking in certain situations (such as during your work break or after dinner) before actually quitting.
- Make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking, like taking a brisk walk or chewing a piece of gum. You have to be ready to do something else when you want to smoke.
- Ask your doctor about using nicotine replacement therapy gum or patches. Some people find these helpful in curbing cravings.
- Join a smoking cessation support group or program. Call your local chapter of the American Lung Association to find groups near you.
- Tell your friends and family about your quit smoking plan, and let them know how they can support you.
Why Is Smoking So Addictive?
Blame nicotine, the main drug in tobacco, for your smoking addiction. Your brain quickly adapts to it and craves more and more to feel the way you used to feel after smoking just one cigarette.
Over time, your brain learns to predict when you're going to smoke a cigarette. You feel down and tired, so you think, "I need a cigarette," and the cycle starts again.
But it's not just about brain chemistry. Certain situations make you want to smoke. Everyone's triggers are different. Yours might include the smell of cigarette smoke, seeing a carton of cigarettes at the store, eating certain foods, or drinking your morning coffee. Sometimes just the way you feel (sad or happy) is a trigger. One of the biggest keys to quitting smoking is spotting the triggers that make you crave smoking and trying to avoid them.