Story last updated at 11/26/2008 - 10:44 am
The American Cancer Society offers the following five strategies to help you quit smoking.
1. Prepare for life as a nonsmoker. Remove all cigarette-related materials such as ashtrays, lighters, matches, cigarettes and cigarette butts, etc. from your office and your home. This will help you avoid temptation.
2. Urges last a few minutes at most, so practice the four D's:
• DEEP breaths.
• DO something else to get your mind off the craving. Call a friend, go for a walk, or chew on a carrot stick.
• DRINK lots of water throughout the day, especially during a craving.
• DELAY reaching for a cigarette - the urge will pass!
3. Change your routines. For example, if you light up with a cup of coffee, switch to tea, soda or juice. If you smoke while you watch the evening news, read a newspaper instead.
4. Recognize that urges are the worst within the first two weeks of your life as a nonsmoker. After that, your chances of smoking again will most likely occur in situations associated with smoking such as after dinner or during car rides. While it may difficult and nearly impossible to avoid some of these situations, try to avoid as many of them as you can. If you can't, tell people you've just quit or that you're a nonsmoker.
5. Use all the resources available to you. Nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges are a few over-the-counter options while nicotine nasal spray and inhaler and other smoking cessation medications are available via a doctor's prescription. Additionally, toll-free help lines, such as the American Cancer Society's Quitline® (1-800-ACS-2345), and online programs (www.cancer.org/greatamericans) are at your disposal for information and support.
Your employer and/or medical insurance plan may also offer a cessation program - check with your company's human resources and benefits department.
Remember that most smokers will have to try several methods before they succeed in quitting, so don't be discouraged and keep trying until you find what works for you!
When you are ready to quit, the American Cancer Society can help. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/greatamericans for more information.