Quitting tobacco is hard. But it can be easier if you have a plan. When you’re ready to quit, follow these steps to put your plan into action.
Know Why You’re Quitting
Before you actually quit, think about why you’re doing it. To be healthier? To save money? To keep your family safe? Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I dislike about smoking?
- What do I miss out on when I smoke?
- How is smoking affecting my health?
- What will happen to me and my family if I keep smoking?
- How will my life get better when I quit?
Learn How to Handle Triggers and Cravings
Triggers are specific people, places, or activities that make you want to smoke. Knowing your triggers ahead of time can help you deal with them.
Cravings are short but intense urges to smoke. They usually only last a few minutes. Plan ahead and have a list of short activities you can do when you get a craving.
Find Ways to Handle Nicotine Withdrawal
During the first few weeks after you quit, you may feel uncomfortable and crave a cigarette. This is because of withdrawal. Your body is getting used to not having nicotine from cigarettes. For most people, the worst symptoms last a few days to a few weeks. During this time, you may:
- Feel depressed
- Be unable to sleep
- Become cranky, frustrated, or mad
- Feel anxious, nervous, or restless
- Have trouble thinking clearly
You may want to smoke to relieve these feelings. Just remember that they are temporary, no matter how powerful they feel at the time.
One of the best ways to deal with withdrawal is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT can reduce withdrawal symptoms and double your chances of quitting for good. NRT comes in several forms, such as gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler, and lozenge. Many are available over the counter. The QualChoice Kick the Nic! program includes a voucher for NRT therapy if prescribed.
Explore Your Quit Smoking Options
Quitting “cold turkey” isn’t the only way to do it. In fact, adding another option like a text message program, an app or a phone line may improve your chances of success. Find a quit method that’s right for you.
Tell Your Family and Friends You Plan to Quit
Quitting smoking is easier when others support you. Let friends and family know you’re planning to quit and explain how they can help. Here are some tips:
- Tell your family and friends your reasons for quitting.
- Ask them to check in with you to see how things are going.
- Ask them to help you think of smoke-free activities you can do together (like going to the movies or a nice restaurant).
- Ask a friend or family member who smokes to quit with you, or at least not smoke around you.
- Ask your friends and family not to give you a cigarette—no matter what you say or do.
- Alert your friends and family that you may be in a bad mood while quitting. Ask them to be patient and help you through it.
Support is one of the keys to successfully quitting. Find more ways to get support to help you quit.
Make a Quit Plan
Having a plan can make quitting easier. Create your personalized plan to help you stay focused, confident, and motivated to quit.
Learn more about the effect of nicotine on your body and get more tips and tools for quitting at Smokefree.gov.
Smokefree.gov provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking.