Everyone has their own reasons for quitting their tobacco use. Maybe they want to be healthier, save some money, or keep their family safe. As you prepare to quit, think about your own reasons for quitting. Remind yourself of them every day. They can inspire you to stop using tobacco for good. Whatever your reasons, you will be amazed at all the ways your life will improve when you become tobacco free.
Here are a few reasons to quit you may want to consider:
Your Health and Appearance:
- My chances of having cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, cataracts, and other diseases decrease.
- I will be less likely to get sick.
- I will breathe easier and cough less.
- My blood pressure decrease.
- My skin will look healthier, and I will look more youthful.
- My teeth and fingernails will not be stained.
Although quitting will make you feel better and improve your health, there are other reasons to quit that you may not have considered:
- I will have more money to spend.
- I can spend more time with family, catch up on work, or dive into my favorite hobby.
- I won’t have to worry about when I can smoke next or where I can or can’t smoke.
- My food will taste better.
- My clothes will smell better.
- My car‚ home‚ and kids won’t smell like smoke.
- I will be able to smell food, flowers, and other things better.
Your Loved Ones:
- I will set a great example for my kids; it takes a lot of strength to quit.
- My friends, family, co-workers, and other loved ones will be proud of me.
- I will protect my friends and family from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
- My children will be healthier.
- I will have more energy to do the things I love with friends and family.
- I will get healthy to make sure I am around to share in my family’s special moments.
Make a list of all of the reasons you want to become tobacco free and keep it in a place where you will see it often, like your car or where you kept your cigarettes. When you feel the need to use tobacco, take a look at the list to remind yourself why you want to quit.
Prepare to Quit
We get it, quitting is hard. But it is easier if you prepare ahead of time. When you feel like you are ready to quit, START by following these five steps:
1. Set a Quit Date
Pick a date within the next two weeks to quit using tobacco. This will give you enough time to prepare. Really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to use tobacco (for example, a night out with friends, days where you may smoke at work).
2. Tell Family and Friends You Plan to Quit
Quitting tobaccco is easier when the people in your life support you. Let them know you are planning to quit. Explain how they can help you quit. We all need different things, so be sure you let friends and family know exactly how they can help. Not sure what you need? Here are a few ways to START the conversation:
- Tell family and friends your reasons for quitting.
- Ask your friends and family to check in with you to see how things are going.
- Identify your smoking triggers, and ask your friends and family to help you deal with them.
- Ask your friends and family to help you think of smoke-free activities you can do together (like going to the movies or a nice restaurant).
- Know a friend or family member who smokes? Ask them to quit with you, or at least not smoke around you.
- You are going to be tempted to smoke. Ask your friends and family not to let you have a cigarette—no matter what.
- Let your friends and family know that you may be in a bad mood while quitting; ask them to be patient and help you through it.
- Do you take any medicines? Tell your doctor or pharmacist you are quitting. You may need to change your prescriptions after you quit.
Support is one of the keys to successfully quitting. Check out additional support options to help you quit.
3. Anticipate and Plan for Challenges While Quitting
Quitting tobacco is hardest during the first few weeks. You will deal with uncomfortable feelings, temptations to smoke/chew, withdrawal symptoms, and cigarette cravings. An important part of preparing to quit is anticipating these challenges. To get a head START, be aware of the following:
The first few weeks after quitting, a lot of people may feel uncomfortable and will crave tobacco. This is because of withdrawal. Withdrawal is when your body gets used to not having nicotine from tobacco products. Nicotine is the chemical found in tobacco that makes you want to keep using. Some of the more common feelings that come with withdrawal are:
- Feeling a little depressed
- Not being able to sleep
- Getting cranky, frustrated, or mad
- Feeling anxious, nervous, or restless
- Having trouble thinking clearly
You may be tempted to smoke/chew to relieve these feelings. Just remember that they are temporary, no matter how powerful they feel at the time.
Triggers are specific persons, places, or activities that make you feel like smoking. It is important to know your smoking triggers so you can learn to deal with them.
Cravings are short but intense urges to smoke/chew. They usually only last a few minutes. Plan ahead and come up with a list of short activities you can do when you get a craving.
4. Remove Cigarettes and Other Tobacco From Your Home‚ Car‚ and Work
You will be tempted to smoke during your quit attempt. Stay strong; you can do it! Removing things that remind you of smoking will get you ready to quit. Try these tips:
- Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Give or throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Remember the ashtray and lighter in your car!
- Don’t save one pack of cigarettes “just in case.” Keeping one pack just makes it easier to start smoking again.
- Remove the smell of cigarettes from your life. Make things clean and fresh at work‚ in your car‚ and at home. Clean your drapes and clothes. Shampoo your car. You will be less tempted to light up if you don’t smell smoke.
- Have your dentist clean your teeth to get rid of smoking stains. Your teeth will look amazing. When you quit smoking, they will always look that way.
Don’t Use Other Products with Tobacco
Thinking about using other tobacco products instead of cigarettes? Think again. All tobacco products contain harmful chemicals and poisons. Despite their name, light or low-tar cigarettes are just as bad as regular cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco‚ pipes‚ cigars‚ cigarillos‚ hookahs (waterpipes)‚ bidi cigarettes‚ clove cigarettes‚ and herbal cigarettes also hurt your health.
No matter how they are presented in advertisements‚ all tobacco products are dangerous.
5. Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist About Quit Options
It is difficult to quit tobacco on your own, but quitting “cold turkey” is not your only choice. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other support options. Most doctors and pharmacists can answer your questions, give advice, and tell you where to get quit smoking help.
Quit smoking medications are also an effective quit option. Many quit smoking medicines, especially Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), are available without a prescription. This includes the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, or nicotine lozenge. Read the instructions before using any medications. If you have questions about a medication, ask your pharmacist. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consult your doctor before using any type of medication. If you plan on using quit smoking medications, remember to have them available on your quit day.
Ann Weaver, ACASA (585)-593-1920 x713