Tips For Actions You Can Take
Quit Smoking For Good
by the U.S.
National Institutes of Health
PREPARING YOURSELF FOR QUITTING
KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT
INVOLVING SOMEONE ELSE
Brands * Cut Down the
Number of Cigarettes You Smoke * Don't Smoke
"Automatically" * Make Smoking
Inconvenient * Make Smoking
JUST BEFORE QUITTING
ON THE DAY YOU
IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU
Temptation * When You Get
the Crazies * Find New
Habits * About
Gaining Weight * Tips To Help
You Avoid Weight Gain
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU QUIT SMOKING
Rewards * Immediate
Effects * Long-Range
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS AND ACTIVITIES THAT MIGHT HELP
QUITTING FOR KEEPS
Congratulations! * Keep Your
Guard Up * How To
Dampen That Urge * Not Smoking
Is Habit-Forming * Relapse: If
You Do Smoke Again
MARKING PROGRESS COMMON
RATIONALIZATIONS FOR FURTHER
you from thinking about stopping smoking through actually doing
it-from the day you
quit smoking , to quitting for keeps. It gives tips on
fighting temptation-and what to do if you give in-and on avoiding
weight gain (a handy Snack Calorie Chart is included). By telling you
what to expect, it can help you through the day-by-day process of
In this booklet,
you'll find a variety of tips and helpful hints on
kicking the habit. Take a few moments to look at each suggestion
carefully. Pick those you feel comfortable with and decide today that
you're going to use them to quit. It may take a while to find the
combination that's right for you, but you can
stop smoking for good, even if
you've tried to quit before.
Many smokers have
successfully given up cigarettes by replacing them with new habits
without quitting "cold turkey," planning a special program, or seeking
approaches include many of those most popular with ex-smokers.
Remember that successful methods are as different as the people who
use them. What may seem silly to others may be just what you need to
quit smoking. So don't be embarrassed to try something new. These methods can
make your own personal efforts a little easier.
Pick the ideas
that make sense to you. And then follow through. You'll have a much
better chance of success.
positively that you want to
quitsmoking. Try to avoid negative thoughts about
how difficult it might be.
* List all the
reasons you want to
quitsmoking. Every night before going to bed, repeat one
of those reasons 10 times.
strong personal reasons in addition to your health and obligations to
others. For example, think of all the time you waste taking cigarette
breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, hunting for a light, etc.
* Begin to
condition yourself physically: Start a modest exercise program; drink
more fluids; get plenty of rest; and avoid fatigue.
* Set a target
stop smoking - perhaps a special day such as your birthday, your
anniversary, or the Great American Smokeout. If you smoke heavily at
work, quit during your vacation so that you're already committed to
quitting when you return. Make the date sacred and don't let anything
change it. This will make it easy for you to keep track of the day you
became a nonsmoker and to celebrate that date every year.
KNOWING WHAT TO
realistic expectations-quitting isn't easy, but it's not impossible
either. More than 3 million Americans quit every year.
that withdrawal symptoms are temporary. They usually last only 1-2
* Know that
most relapses occur in the first week after quitting, when withdrawal
symptoms are strongest, and your body is still dependent on nicotine.
Be aware that this will be your hardest time and use all your personal
resources, willpower, family, friends, and the tips in this booklet-to
get you through this critical period successfully.
* Know that
most other relapses occur in the first 3 months after quitting, when
situational triggers, such as a particularly stressful event, occur
unexpectedly. These are the times when people reach for cigarettes
automatically, because they associate smoking with relaxing. This is
the kind of situation that's hard to prepare yourself for until it
happens, so it's especially important to recognize it if it does
happen. Remember that smoking is a habit, but a habit you can break.
* Realize that
most successful ex-smokers quit for good only after several attempts.
You may be one of those who can quit on your first try. But if you're
not, don't give up. Try again.
* Bet a friend
you can quit on your target date. Put your cigarette money aside for
every day you don't smoke and forfeit it if you smoke. (But if you do
smoke, don't give up. Simply strengthen your resolve and try again.)
* Ask your
friend or spouse to quit with you.
* Tell your
family and friends that you're quitting and when. They can be an
important source of support both before and after you quit.
QUIT SMOKING WAYS
* Switch to a
brand you find distasteful.
* Change to a
brand that is low in tar and nicotine a couple of weeks before your
target date. This will help change your smoking behavior. However, do
not smoke more cigarettes, inhale them more often or more deeply, or
place your fingertips over the holes in the filters. These actions
will increase your nicotine intake, and the idea is to get your body
used to functioning without nicotine.
Cut Down the Number
of Cigarettes You Smoke
* Smoke only
half of each cigarette.
* Each day,
postpone the lighting of your first cigarette 1 hour.
you'll only smoke during odd or even hours of the day.
beforehand how many cigarettes you'll smoke during the day. For each
additional cigarette, give a dollar to your favorite charity.
* Change your
eating habits to help you cut down. For example, drink milk, which
many people consider incompatible with smoking. End meals or snacks
with something that won't lead to a cigarette.
* Reach for a
glass of juice instead of a cigarette for a "pick-me-up."
Cutting down can help you
quit smoking, but it's not a substitute for
quitting. If you're down to about seven cigarettes a day, it's time to
set your target date to quit and get ready to stick to it.
* Smoke only
those cigarettes you really want. Catch yourself before you light up a
cigarette out of pure habit.
* Don't empty
your ashtrays. This will remind you of how many cigarettes you've
smoked each day, and the sight and the smell of stale cigarettes butts
will be very unpleasant.
yourself aware of each cigarette by using the opposite hand or putting
cigarettes in an unfamiliar location or a different pocket to break
the automatic reach.
* If you light
up many times during the day without even thinking about it, try to
look into a mirror each time you put a match to your cigarette-you may
decide you don't need it.
* Stop buying
cigarettes by the carton. Wait until one pack is empty before you buy
carrying cigarettes with you at home or at work. Make them difficult
* Smoke only
under circumstances that aren't especially pleasurable for you. If you
like to smoke with others, smoke alone. Turn your chair to an empty
corner and focus only on the cigarette you are smoking and all its
many negative effects.
* Collect all
your cigarette butts in one large glass container as a visual reminder
of the filth made by smoking.
JUST BEFORE YOU
going without cigarettes.
* Don't think
of never smoking again. Think of quitting in terms of 1 day at a time.
yourself you won't smoke today and then, don't.
* Clean your
clothes to rid them of the cigarette smell, which can linger for a
ON THE DAY YOU
* Throw away
all your cigarettes and matches. Hide your lighters and ashtrays.
* Visit the
dentist and have your teeth cleaned to get rid of tobacco stains.
Notice how nice they look and resolve to keep them that way.
* Make a list
of things you'd like to buy for yourself or someone else. Estimate the
cost in terms of packs of cigarettes and put the money aside to buy
* Keep very
busy on the big day. Go to the movies, exercise, take long walks, go
* Remind your
family and friends that this is your quit date and ask them to help
you over the rough spots of the first couple of days and weeks.
* Buy yourself
a treat or do something special to celebrate.
* Develop a
clean, fresh, nonsmoking environment around yourself, at work and at
home. Buy yourself flowers. You may be surprised how much you can
enjoy their scent now.
* The first
few days after you
quitsmoking, spend as much free time as possible in places
where smoking isn't allowed, such as libraries, museums, theaters,
department stores, and churches.
* Drink large
quantities of water and fruit juice (but avoid sodas that contain
* Try to avoid
alcohol, coffee, and other beverages that you associate with cigarette
* Strike up
conversation instead of a match for a cigarette.
* If you miss
the sensation of having a cigarette in your hand, play with something
else, such as a pencil, a paper clip, a marble.
* If you miss
having something in your mouth, try toothpicks or a fake cigarette.
* Instead of
smoking after meals, get up from the table and brush your teeth or go
for a walk.
* If you
always smoke while driving, listen to a particularly interesting radio
program or your favorite music, or take public transportation for a
while, if you can.
* For the
first 1-3 weeks, avoid situations you strongly associate with the
pleasurable aspects of smoking, such as watching your favorite TV
program, sitting in your favorite chair, or having a cocktail before
* Until you
are confident of your ability to stay off cigarettes, limit your
socializing to healthful, outdoor activities or situations where
smoking is not allowed.
* If you must
be in a situation where you'll be tempted to smoke, such as a cocktail
or dinner party, try to associate with the nonsmokers there.
* Try to
analyze cigarette ads to understand how they attempt to "sell" you on
When You Get A
* Keep oral
substitutes handy. Try carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples,
celery, raisins, or sugarless gum instead of a cigarette.
* Take 10 deep
breaths and hold the last one while lighting a match. Exhale slowly
and blow out the match. Pretend it's a cigarette and crush it out in
* Take a
shower or bath if possible.
* Learn to
relax quickly and deeply. Make yourself limp, visualize a soothing,
pleasing situation and get away from it all for a moment. Concentrate
on that peaceful image and nothing else.
incense or a candle instead of a cigarette.
* Never allow
yourself to think that "one won't hurt" -it will.
Find New Habits
* Change your
habits to make smoking difficult, impossible, or unnecessary. For
example, it's hard to smoke while you're swimming, jogging, or playing
tennis or handball. When your desire for a cigarette is intense, wash
your hands or the dishes, or try new recipes.
* Do things
that require you to use your hands. Try crossword puzzles, needlework,
gardening, or household chores. Go bike riding or take the dog for a
walk; give yourself a manicure; write letters.
* Enjoy having
a clean-mouth taste and maintain it by brushing your teeth frequently
and using a mouthwash.
* Stretch a
* Get plenty
attention to your appearance. Look and feel sharp.
* Try to find
time for the activities that are the most meaningful, satisfying, and
important to you.
Many people who
are considering quitting are very concerned about gaining weight. If
you are concerned about weight gain, keep these points in mind:
doesn't mean you'll automatically gain weight. When people gain, it's
because they often eat more once they quit.
* The benefits
of giving up cigarettes far outweigh the drawbacks of adding a few
pounds. You'd have to gain a very large amount of weight to offset the
many substantial health benefits that a normal smoker gains by
quitting. Watch what you eat, and if you are concerned about gaining
weight, consider the tips that follow.
Tips To Help You
Avoid Weight Gain
Make sure you have a well balanced diet, with the proper amounts of
protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
* Don't set a
target date for a holiday, when the temptation of high-calorie food
and drinks may be too hard to resist.
* Drink a
glass of water before your meals.
sugarless gum when you want sweet foods.
* Plan menus
carefully and count calories. Don't try to lose weight; just try to
maintain your prequitting weight.
low-calorie foods on hand for nibbling. Choose foods that are both
nutritious and low in calories. Some good choices are fresh fruits and
vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, low-fat cottage cheese, and
air-popped popcorn without butter.
* Take time
for daily exercise or join an organized exercise group.