Quitting tobacco is a difficult task, but we are here to help. We understand that you might not think it’s important to quit or that you can’t be successful. Here you can find information about why quitting tobacco is important for you, your family and your friends; the risks to your health, to your family, to society, and to your wallet; the benefits of quitting smoking. You will find some suggestions on how to improve your confidence in quitting. We have also offered alternative resources and suggestions about how to get ready to make a quit attempt.
Many smokers are afraid to quit because they have tried to quit in the past and were unsuccessful. They think it will be too hard because they don’t believe they can overcome withdrawal symptoms, they feel like they have no support, or just don’t think they are capable of success. Here are a few suggestions to help improve your confidence:
- Try to quit smoking and being smoke free for 1 day, then 2, and so on.
- Follow role models. Observe those around you that have recently quit and practice their behaviors. What actions and reactions of theirs can you adopt? In the United States alone, almost 50 million smokers have quit smoking successfully on their own.
- Look at each quit attempt as a learning process. Each time, you learn what doesn’t work for you and how you can be more successful next time. You should know that it’s common for smokers trying to quit to make multiple attempts before they are successful. But they do achieve success!
- Improve your negative mood towards quitting. Many smokers associate fear, stress, and anxi- ety with trying to quit. However, if you surround yourself with the proper support, such as friends and family and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep you will find that any stress, fear, or anxiety that you are anticipating can be properly managed. If you do begin to feel any of these things, yoga, meditation, and other relaxation methods, are great coping mechanisms.
It’s great that you’ve made the decision to quit. Smoking can’t fit your values, priorities, and goals such as living longer, living better and being a good role model for your kids. You are choosing to make a positive change for yourself! Quitting starts with the first action you take: developing a quit plan. Here you will find steps, advice, and a list of supportive resources to help in planning and making your quit attempts. Always remember that you can be successful. You will be able to quit, as long as you keep your goals in sight, your head held high, and your “eye on the prize”!
i. DEVELOPING A QUIT PLAN
Your first step to quitting is to develop a quit plan. Here are key elements of a successful quit plan as out- lined by the STAR acronym.
1. Set a quit date. It is important to set a quit date as soon as possible. Giving yourself a short period to quit will keep you focused and motivated to achieve your goal. Choosing your birthday or some other mean- ingful day is a good idea, but you don’t have to always follow suit. You can start quitting today!
2. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers. It is important to share your goal to quit with those you interact frequently.
• Ask them for support. They can support you by reminding you of your goal to quit and encouraging you to
not give in to temptations like cravings. By telling your friends, family, and coworkers you might also inspire those of them who smoke to create a quit plan with you. Having a “quit buddy” is a great way to keep both of you accountable and on track to quitting.
• Ask them for understanding. If you have friends or family that smoke, it is a good idea to ask them to refrain from lighting up when you’re around!
3. Anticipate challenges to the upcoming quit attempt. Quitting smoking is no easy feat, so you are brave and courageous for committing to this goal! It’s important that you anticipate triggers and challenges in the upcoming attempt, particularly during the critical first few weeks. The first few days and weeks will be the hardest due to potential nicotine withdrawal symptoms as well as the obstacles presented by breaking any habit (see more information below on how to successfully overcome them).
4. Remove tobacco products from your environment. It’s important to minimize exposure to smoking cues. If the tobacco products are still around, you will be more tempted to pick them up and smoke. It’s best to rid yourself of such temptations by making a smoke free house, avoiding smoking areas, and asking your peers to not smoke around you. If you live with other smokers who are not yet ready to quit, ask them to smoke outside the home and cars to best achieve your smoke-free environment.