Tips to Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking Image - Masterfile

There are many ways to quit smoking. For example, some research has shown that an effective strategy for quitting is a combination of counseling, telephone "quit lines," and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). For each person, the key to success is finding the plan that works best.

Below is a general outline for designing and implementing a plan to quit smoking. There are many alternatives to these stop smoking tips, and a health care provider or a tobacco-cessation professional can help create an effective plan. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advice and assistance from a health care provider more than doubles the chances of quitting successfully.

  1. Get ready.
    • Make a detailed list of your reasons for wanting to quit (e.g., health benefits, saving money).
    • Keep a diary of when you smoke (or use tobacco) and the triggers that prompt you.
    • Research the available options in your area for information and support about quitting.
    • Set a date for quitting. (On this date, get rid of ashtrays, lighters, all tobacco products, and anything else you associate with smoking or using tobacco.)
  2. Ask for support.
    • Ask your health care provider for advice in quitting.
    • Sign up for a smoking (or tobacco) cessation program.
    • Join an online support network.
    • Talk to friends and family about what support you would like from them.
    • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings during this challenging process.
  3. Use the following strategies to help handle withdrawal, deal with stress, and resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco:
    • Learn yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
    • Start an exercise routine. (Consult your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program.)
    • Talk to a counselor.
    • Research your nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) options.
  4. Consider medications that can help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and improve your chances of success.
    • Research your medication and other withdrawal treatment options.
    • Ask your health care provider for recommendations.
  5. Be prepared to prevent a relapse. Urges to smoke or use tobacco usually last no longer than 3 minutes.
    • Keep busy for the first few days.
    • When the urge comes, time it and take one deep breath at a time until it passes.
    • Call someone. Or take a walk. Or ask a loved one for a hug.
    • If you do relapse, don't give up! Focus on the fact that you did quit for a time. Set a new quit date and start the process again.
    • Remember, many people who quit had to try several times before succeeding for good.

For more tips about creating your plan for quitting, go to the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Publication Review By: Karen Larson, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Jul 2006

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015