9 Tips to Quit Smoking

  • Stubbing out cigarette
    Join the Quitters!
    Mark Twain may have said it best: "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times." And while you might relate well to that quote, there is still hope. Millions of people alive today have quit smoking, and you can join them. Here are nine tips to get you thinking about what might help you kick the habit for good.

  • Woman writing on notepad
    Put It on Paper
    Write down the reasons you want to quit smoking. Being highly motivated to quit will be a key factor in whether you can quit.

  • Calendar
    Set a Quit Date
    Mark a day on your calendar within the next month, and tell your family and friends about it.

  • Depressed man
    Don't Get Down on Yourself
    Quittin’ ain’t easy. There are various ways that smokers have successfully quit, but none of them is easy. Nicotine is very addictive, and the withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to manage, such as bad moods and a strong urge to smoke. Most ex-smokers have made at least one unsuccessful attempt to quit, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt at quitting doesn’t work. View it as a learning experience and keep trying.

  • Woman writing in diary
    Know Your Triggers
    Keep a diary and record each time you have a cigarette. Be specific and include the time of day along with what you were doing.

  • Man on desert hike
    Change Your Ways
    Once you’ve identified the triggers or situations in which you’re most likely to smoke, come up with a plan to avoid smoking at those times. For instance, if you tend to smoke while driving or feeling stressed, take the cigarettes and ashtrays out of the car and have snack alternatives handy instead. When feeling stress, go for a walk rather than lighting up.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy
    Take It Slow
    Slowly step it down. To better deal with withdrawal symptoms, some people use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The best time to start NRT is right when you quit and have thrown away your last cigarette. Five different types of NRT have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration: patch, gum, nasal spray, inhaler, and lozenges. Just keep in mind that NRT is only meant to be temporary, as you gradually step down your nicotine use to zero.

  • Taking medicine
    Talk With Your Doc
    Non-nicotine medications are another option. Bupropion, a prescription antidepressant, reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms and can be taken in conjunction with NRT. A newer prescription medication, varenicline, reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms and lessens the pleasure a person gets from smoking. These medications are not for everyone, so be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any medication.

  • family-walking-on-beach
    Create a Support Circle
    Surround yourself with supportive people. Perhaps many of your friends or relatives smoke, but you should still steer clear of smoke-filled areas, where you are more likely to smoke. It really does help to have a group of people--friends, family members, or coworkers--who support your efforts to quit.

  • Happy couple
    Quit Completely
    While reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day does have health benefits, most people who don't completely quit eventually go back to smoking as much as they did before. It's best to completely quit smoking--and live smoke-free.

9 Tips to Quit Smoking

About The Author

  1. Prevention and Cessation of Cigarette Smoking: Control of Tobacco Use. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/control-of-tobacco-use/Patient/page2
  2. Guide to Quitting Smoking. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_10_13X_Guide_for_Quitting_Smoking.asp
  3. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Quit Smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/index.htm
  4. Smoking – tips on how to quit. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001992.htm
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Last Review Date: 2019 May 22
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