If you have tried to quit smoking you know how hard it can be, and nicotine is a very addictive drug. Usually, people make 2 or 3 tries or more, before finally being able to quit- no matter how many times it takes, each time you can learn about what helps and what hurts you.

The 5 Keys to Quitting

  1. Get Ready to Quit: Pick a date to stop smoking, get rid of all cigarettes, ash trays and lighters in your home, car and workplace. Make it a rule to never let someone smoke in your home. Write down why you want to quit and keep this list around as a reminder.
  2. Get Support: Encouragement from your family, friends and coworkers can make all the difference. Studies show you will be more successful when you ask for help- ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes around you.
  3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors: When you get the urge to smoke, try to do something different- talk to a friend, go for a walk, read a book or other stress reducing activities. It's helpful to plan ahead for how you will deal with triggers or situations that make you want to smoke. Have sugar free gum or candy around to help handle cravings and drink lots of water.
  4. Get Medication and Use It Correctly: There are medications available to help you quit and lessen the urge to smoke. Your health care provider can help you decide what will work best for you- and be sure to talk to them before taking any over-the-counter medications, especially if you're pregnant or if you have heart problems.
  5. Be Prepared for Relapse: Most people relapse or start smoking again within the first three months after quitting. Don't get discouraged if this happens! Certain things or situations can increase your chances of smoking again, such as drinking alcohol, being around other smokers, gaining weight, stress, becoming depressed or having more bad moods than usual.