5 Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
In the U.S., the statistics of tobacco use and smoking-related deaths is astounding: nearly one in five deaths are directly caused by smoking, and 15.1 percent of adults smoke. On average, a smoker lives 10-15 years less than a non-smoker.
Tips to Help You Quit
If you want to quit, help is available. UW Carbone Cancer Center member Megan Piper, PhD, associate director of research at the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, provides her best tips for quitting.
1. Get help, and remember you don't have to do this on your own.
"There are no prizes for suffering or white knuckling through the quit process. Luckily, there are places to turn for help. Talk to your doctor, call 1-800-QuitNow or go to smokefree.gov. You can sign up for their texting program, or read the material on there to create a quit plan."
2. Get support from friends and family in a way that works for you.
"Talking to friends and family is a great way to get support, but be very clear about what is helpful and what is not helpful. You can say, 'I'm quitting, but I don't want to talk about it unless I bring it up otherwise it stresses me out.' Or, 'It would be great if you could call me once a day to check in and see how I'm doing.' Ask friends and family for the support that is correct for you and your situation."
3. Get medications, which can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully.
"Quitting smoking is incredibly hard. This is a serious addiction. Medications have shown tremendous success in many patients, and there really are no downsides to using them. If I sent you out to build a house, there is no way I'd give you just one hammer. I would give you as many tools in your toolbox as possible. In smoking cessation, medication is an incredibly effective tool that helps smokers deal with withdrawal. Ask your primary care provider about it, or call the 1-800-QuitNow line which may provide two weeks of medication for free.”
4. Make sure that you are ready to quit.
"Get rid of the cigarettes, the ashtrays, the lighters, and anything that reminds you of smoking. That way, if all of a sudden you have a big craving or urge, it's not so convenient to smoke. Another thing that you may consider is making your own Top Five list of reasons why you want to quit or what would be better in your life if you did quit. Keep this list somewhere you can see it and be reminded of why you are working so hard to quit.”
5. Avoid dangerous or tricky situations that may make it difficult for you to quit.
"Avoid friends who are smoking or not supportive of your quit when you begin the process (you don't have to avoid them forever). Avoid thinking you can have just one cigarette because it is a special occasion -- almost nobody can have just one and not go back to regular smoking. Also, avoiding drinking. No one makes their best decisions while drinking, plus alcohol can actually make you crave cigarettes more. Lastly, if you know stress makes you want to smoke, have a plan for what you are going to do when you are stressed."
Date Published: 08/07/2017