So you’ve decided to quit smoking, vaping or using any form of tobacco. Great! It’s one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. It’s not easy — but you can do it. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting. Remember, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical, and your body will need to get used to being without it again.
Get ready to stop smoking and vaping for good with these five steps — just remember to take it one step at a time:
1. Set your “Quit Day” and take a No Smoking or Vaping pledge.
Choose a date within the next seven days when you’ll stop using tobacco products – that’s now your “Quit Day.” Make a pledge or commitment in front of people who will support you on your path to quitting. Use the time until your Quit Day to prepare and to gradually cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke or how much you vape or use other tobacco products. Take the pledge: “I promise to not smoke or use any tobacco products after my Quit Day. I know it is a serious danger to my (and my family’s) health. I will also try to stay away from secondhand smoke and encourage and support others to quit smoking and using tobacco products.”
2. Choose your method for quitting.
There are three ways to quit smoking. You can choose one or use them in combination – whatever you think will work best for you.
- "Cold turkey.” Stop smoking or vaping all at once on your Quit Day. This method works best for some people because it doesn’t drag out the quitting process.
- Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day or how many times you vape until you stop completely. For example, if you smoke 20 cigarettes each day, cut down to 10 per day for two to three days. Next, cut it down to five cigarettes for two to three days. Keep track on a calendar. By your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.
- Smoke only part of each cigarette, reducing the amount until you stop smoking completely. Count how many puffs you normally take from each cigarette, then reduce the number of puffs every two to three days. Keep track on a calendar. On your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.
3. Talk with your doctor and decide if you’ll need medicines or other help to successfully quit.
4. Make a plan for your Quit Day and afterward.
Have healthy snacks available, like:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Air-popped popcorn
- Sugar-free mints and chewing gum
Find enjoyable ways to fill the time when you may be tempted to smoke:
- Go to a movie.
- Work out or go to the gym.
- Visit non-smoking friends.
- Take a walk.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
- Try a new hobby that occupies your hands, like painting, playing an instrument, woodworking or knitting.
- Work in the yard or garden.
- Do other activities I enjoy: __________________________ Get rid of every cigarette, vape, match, lighter, ashtray and any other tobacco product in your home, office and car.