Making the decision to quit is a big one, and requires dedication, support, and organization. In the second part of our four-part series, we help breakdown what the process of quitting looks like, and how to do it.
Editor's note: Information and data included in this blog is derived from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Knowing your reasons
Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, and that alone is a good enough reason to quit. But in order to effectively carry out your plan of quitting, take some time to think about why you smoke in the first place. Understanding your reasons for smoking can help you tackle the greater challenge of quitting. If it helps, make a list of all the reasons you want to quit, and keep it in a place where you’ll see it every day.
A lot of folks hold back from quitting smoking because of their dependence on nicotine -- it’s literally a hard habit to break. In case you didn’t know, nicotine is a chemical found in cigarettes that makes you addicted to smoking. So when you stop smoking, your body experiences withdrawal symptoms. Most physical symptoms can last for a few days, to a few weeks -- but you still might experience a craving for a cigarette.
Here are a few symptoms you may experience while quitting. Remember, it’s only temporary!
- Feel a little depressed
- Be unable to sleep
- Become cranky, frustrated, or mad
- Feel anxious, nervous, or restless
- Have trouble thinking clearly
Knowing your triggers
Particular feelings, people, and places become associated with smoking, and being around them when you’re trying to quit can trigger you. And by trigger, we mean that it may want to make you smoke. If you can avoid your triggers, quitting smoking will be a lot easier. Here are some tips on avoiding your triggers:
- Go to places that are smoke-free. Avoid places that allow smoking.
- Hang out with people who don’t smoke. It may mean you don’t hang out with certain friends or coworkers, but it will help you avoid wanting to smoke.
- Find something to entertain your hands. Everyone is different, and there are plenty of options. Fidget toys, pens, rings, and toothpick might be a good place to start.
- Breathe in, breathe out. When you’re going through a rough patch, take a moment to remember why you’re quitting smoking, and how much your life will change for the better.
- This may seem like a no-brainer, but throw out your cigarettes, lighters, matches. Do not keep an extra pack “just in case.” And any other smoking materials, or items that remind you of smoking. Creating a smoke-free environment is important.
Telling Your Family
Support makes a big difference when you’re trying to accomplish a goal. So make sure to let your friends and family know you’re quitting smoking. That way, they are aware of the changes you’re making, and you can feel supported. Asking them to check in with you and your progress can definitely help, as can doing smoke-free activities with them. If you need tips on how to ask for support, you can find those here.
Consider a Program For Your Plan
Having a plan for a plan is awesome. And if you need a little extra help in outlining how you’re going to quit, you can check out some personalized plans to help you. You can do it!
If quitting cold turkey isn’t right for you, there are still ways to quit. For example, consider nicotine replacement therapy. Check out the links below to explore those.
Reward Yourself For Milestones
No step is too small to celebrate. Throughout the quitting process, be sure to treat yourself. It’s up to you: a milestone could be not smoking for 24 hours, a week, a month, and so on. You are your biggest cheerleader, so be sure to pat yourself on the back during this process. Take yourself out to dinner, go to the movies, or buy that new watch you’ve been wanting.
How Apicha CHC Can Help You
At Apicha CHC, we're here to help. Our Primary Care Providers (PCPs) conduct annual smoking assessments all patients of the Primary Care Clinic. If one of our patients smokes, the provider discusses tobacco cessation (also known as quitting) with patients at every visit and will urge them to quit. If the patient is willing to make a quit attempt at the time, the PCP will offer medication and provide a referral for counseling to help the patient, as appropriate. You can schedule an appointment here.
If you'd like more resources on how to quit smoking, you can check out the CDC's resource page.