Are you one of the many smokers who want to quit? Then try following this advice.
1. Don't smoke any number or any kind of cigarette. Smoking even a few cigarettes a day can hurt your health. If you try to smoke fewer cigarettes, but do not stop completely, soon you'll be smoking the same amount again.
Smoking "low-tar, low-nicotine" cigarettes doesn't do much good, either. Because nicotine is so addictive, if you switch to lower-nicotine brands you'll likely just puff harder, longer, and more often on each cigarette. The only safe choice is to quit completely.
2. Write down why you want to quit. Is it because you want to:
- Feel in control of your life?
- Have better health?
- Set a good example for your children?
- Protect your family from breathing other people's smoke?
Really wanting to quit smoking is very important to your success. Smokers who survive a heart attack are the most likely to quit for good -- they're very motivated. Find a reason for quitting before you have no choice.
3. Know that it will take effort to quit smoking. Nicotine is habit forming. Half of the battle in quitting is knowing you need to quit. This knowledge will help you deal with the symptoms of withdrawal that can occur, such as mood swings and cravings. There are many ways smokers quit, including using nicotine replacement products (gum and patches), but there is no easy way. Nearly all smokers have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal when they try to quit. Give yourself a month to get over these feelings. Take quitting one day at a time, even one minute at a time -- whatever you need to succeed.
4. Half of all adult smokers have quit, so you can too. That's the good news. There are millions of people alive today who have learned to face life without a cigarette.
5. Get help if you need it. Many groups offer written materials, programs, and advice to help smokers quit for good. Your doctor or dentist may also be a good source of help and support.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.