New Year's Resolutions: Quitting Smoking

If you're hoping to quit smoking as your number one New Year's Resolution, you're not alone. Of the millions of Americans who light up each day, thousands will try to put it to rest come January 1.

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Getting Ready to Quit:

  • Set a date to quit smoking. Get a friend, family member or co-worker to quit with you for extra support.
  • Keep a weekly log of when you smoke. Record the time, place, reason and mood you are in when you choose to smoke.
  • Smoke only in certain places, such as outdoors.
  • When you want a cigarette, wait for a few minutes. Try to do something else besides smoke.
  • Buy only one pack of cigarettes at a time. Also, start smoking a brand of cigarettes that you don't like.

On the Day you Quit:

  • Dump out all of your cigarettes. Throw away any items that have to do with smoking such as ashtrays and lighters.
  • If you smoke in the morning, change your routine. Instead of getting up and having that morning cigarette, go ahead and take a shower.
  • When you get the urge to smoke, do something else.
  • Make a kit for "emergency cravings" that includes sugar-free gum or candy, straws, toothpicks, stress ball and a cinnamon stick.

Staying Cigarette-Free:

  • Don't worry about being more short-tempered or sleepy. These things will pass.
  • Try to exercise daily; take a walk when you start craving a cigarette.
  • Keep thinking of the positive reasons for quitting such as health benefits for you and your family and how much you like yourself as a non-smoker. Being positive will help you through the rough times.
  • When you feel tense, try to remind yourself that it's not a cigarette that will help you through this; it's solving the problem that will.
  • Eat regular meals. Feeling hungry can be mistaken for the desire to smoke.
  • Keep the money you would usually spend on cigarettes in a jar so you can see how much money you are saving.
  • Let people know you have quit smoking. Most people will support you. Many friends may ask you for advice on how you quit.
  • If you slip and smoke, don't feel discouraged. Some former smokers attempted to quit several times before succeeding. Don't give up!
  • Try nicotine replacement therapy such as patches or gum to help you wean yourself off of nicotine. Remember, nicotine is a very addictive drug, but many people have won the battle and so can you!

(Source: National Cancer Institute Publication)