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Quit Smoking Tips

Becoming a non smoker brings huge rewards. Being aware of the challenges ahead, particularly during the first few months, will help you STAY stopped. We know that this is not an easy task, so we have created a list of quit smoking tips to help you accomplish your goals. These quit smoking tips include coping with cravings, facing difficulties and coping with setbacks.

Coping with Cravings

The first few days after you quit can be the hardest.

Confront Cravings

Few smokers can quit without feeling cravings. They are hard to avoid altogether. Use these quit smoking tips to help deal with cravings.

To quit, you need to learn new ways to cope with things that used to trigger your smoking. You may want to refer back to your smoking diary. As you become better at doing other things instead of smoking, your cravings will tend not to happen as often or be as strong.

It is not uncommon to get a craving totally 'out of the blue' - it doesn't mean you're failing at quitting! Just remember the 4D's. (Delay, Deep breathe, Drink water, Do something else.)

Take One Day at a Time

Focus on getting through each day without smoking. Remember your first cigarette? It probably made you feel sick and dizzy. Be kind to your body as it adjusts to living without the nicotine it has got used to.

Tea, Coffee and Cola Drinks

These drinks and chocolate contain caffeine. Without nicotine, your body absorbs much more of this stimulant, making you restless, irritable and sleepless for a while. While you adjust, try drinking fewer or weaker cups of tea and coffee, coffee substitutes, water, fruit juice or low-joule, caffeine-free cola drinks.

Reward Yourself

Congratulate yourself every time you beat the urge to smoke. Remember to treat yourself occasionally with the money you've saved, such as watching a movie, buying a new CD, or enjoying a meal out.

Remind Yourself

Take out your list of reasons for quitting and the things you want to do as a non-smoker, or read your Deciding to Quit Checklist.

Refuse Offers of Cigarettes

You have the right to refuse a cigarette and can do so without upsetting others.

The Problem of Empty Hands

If you need to keep your hands busy, try keys, beads, a stress ball, loose change, a mobile phone or jewellery.

Smoking and Alcohol

Research shows that many ex-smokers find it hard to resist smoking when drinking alcohol. Alcohol and other drugs may weaken your resolve to give up smoking, so it might be best to avoid these for a few weeks.

Tell Your Friends You've Quit Smoking and Ask Them to Consider This:
  • Go to a smoke-free venue.
  • Resolve not to smoke before you go out.
  • Have a quitting buddy or non-smoking friend with you as support.
  • Cut down on how much you drink; try alternating alcoholic drinks with glasses of water (this will also save you money!).
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs for a few weeks.
  • Tell yourself it's okay to go home early, if the cravings become too hard.

Facing difficulties

The worst is over. You'll feel the urge to smoke less and less, and soon you'll hardly think about cigarettes. The 'new you' can think of yourself as a non-smoker.

The urge to smoke can, however, return when you least expect it. You can stay stopped, but you need to be prepared to deal with stress and difficult emotions, social pressure, unexpected difficulties, and the possibility of weight gain. But remember, there is always something better than a cigarette.

By now you know the moods and emotions that make you want to smoke. Stress is a common reason, but there are plenty of others, including grief, anger, guilt, and hunger.

Smoking may have made you feel better for a minute or two, but the effects were short term. While most people who quit find dealing with stress challenging, finding new ways to cope with difficult situations can be very personally rewarding.

Try this:

  • Think about your plans at work and home for the next few weeks. Can you make one or two changes to reduce the pressure?
  • Talk about problems openly with those involved.

Social Pressure

If your friends or family are making quitting harder for you, explain to them how you feel. Enjoy yourself with people who are glad to see you looking after your health.

Unexpected Difficulties

Take time to think before you react to unexpected difficulties. Remember, having a cigarette is not going to make the problem go away. As a non-smoker, you have learned new strengths and have shown great determination. What other ways can you look after yourself or get the support you need instead of falling back on a cigarette?

Tips for the Tough Times
  1. Breathe deeply and slowly
  2. Relax your body and your mind. Try a relaxation exercise like this:
    • Lie down in a comfortable position
    • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
    • Tighten your feet and toes, hold them tight for three seconds then relax them. Repeat this exercise with your leg muscles, your stomach, your arms and your shoulders.
    • Think about something relaxing, perhaps laying in the shade of a tree... a gentle breeze brushes your skin... the leaves rustle quietly... nothing to do now but close your eyes and let your mind drift...
    • When you are relaxed and ready, open you eyes and bring the good feelings with you
  3. Ask a friend for a neck and shoulder massage
  4. Make a change in your routine
    • Get up early, and go for a morning walk, or sit in a different place for breakfast.
    • Choose a different chair to watch TV, eat some sugar-free popcorn or chewing gum.
    • Have a pen or paper by the phone so you can doodle, or move around while you are talking.
    • Take a soft rubber ball in the car and do hand exercises if you are stuck in traffic.
    • Leave alcohol alone for a while try a soft drink instead.
  5. Exercise - This can be as simple as getting off the bus one stop early and walking the extra distance, or using stairs instead of lifts.
What if I Gain Weight?

Most people do gain some weight when they quit smoking. Weight changes also depend on things such as exercise and eating habits.

On average smokers weigh slightly less than people who don't smoke. This is thought to be due to the effect of nicotine, which suppresses hunger and speeds up the way the body processes food.

Over a year, women typically gain between 3 and 5.5 kilos after stopping smoking. Men tend to gain less weight than women. Research with women shows that in the long term the average weight of ex-smokers is similar to that of people who have never smoked.

If worrying about putting on weight is stopping you from quitting:

  • Act on your concerns. Talk to a doctor or dietitian, and make a sensible eating plan.
  • Exercise. It's the best way to keep your weight down, and it keeps you fit.
  • Eat healthy snacks. But be realistic, and allow yourself some treats.

If you put on a few kilos, try not to be too hard on yourself. Concentrate on your resolve to give up smoking and then tackle the weight gain. But do try to eat healthy foods and to get some extra exercise. A few extra kilos are a lot less harmful than smoking. If you think weight gain is a problem, discuss it with your doctor. Remember, starting to smoke again may not help you lose the weight you have gained.

Coping with setbacks

Quitting can be hard. You might be going along OK, and suddenly you feel like smoking again. Sometimes, as you gain confidence, you actually start to think quitting is easy, so why not smoke again? Your resolve starts to weaken.

Try This:

Remember, every craving only lasts a few minutes. You can fight it off: with the 4Ds: Delay, Deep-breathe, Drink water, or Do something else.

Remind yourself of the times when you found the going really tough. Think about how much work you put into preparing and achieving your goal. Think of how far you have come. Do you really want to have to start all over again?

List your reasons for quitting on a card that you carry with you. Read the reasons whenever you feel the urge to smoke.

If You Have a Cigarette

Don't let one cigarette lead you back to full time smoking. Think of how long you have gone without a cigarette and say to yourself: "I'm determined to give up. After all, I have only slipped up once. In the past, I would have smoked 20 a day. I am determined to quit."

If You Go Back to Regular Smoking

Don't despair, and don't give up on your plan to quit.

Most people who have successfully quit smoking for good have made several serious attempts. Every day that you have spent smoke-free makes your body healthier and helps to break your habit and weaken your addiction. Remember, you took a long time to learn the habit of smoking, so it may take you a while to learn to be a non-smoker.

Try This:

Use what you have learned from your quit attempt and plan another date to give up as soon as possible. If you have lost the urge to give up, go back to How to Quit Smoking. It may help to go through all the steps again if that helps you.

Remember, help is there for you. Call 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)

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