Daily habits can be hard to break, and if your daily habit is smoking, it can feel nearly impossible! However, when you understand the addictive nature of tobacco, it’s easier to understand why many just can’t quit. In fact, within the last couple of years, 50% of smokers attempted to quit, but only about 8% were successful.
Smoking cessation becomes easier if you have a plan in place. Below is a comprehensive list that will aid in your journey to a healthier lifestyle without tobacco. So let’s quit smoking together!
1. List your Reasons for Stopping
Stay motivated by writing down a list of reasons you want to stop smoking. Frequently referring back to this list will keep you aware of why you are doing what you are doing when times get hard.
Reasons can include:
- Reducing your risk of heart disease. The risk of heart attack or stroke is decreased by 50% after two years of not smoking. After 15 years, your risk of heart attack is similar to that of a person who never smoked
- Saving money! Smokers can save between $1,380 and $2,540 annually (depending on where they live) by quitting a pack-a-day habit.
- Keeping friends and family away from second-hand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers.
2. Pick a Quit Day
You control your destiny, so it is your responsibility to pick a quit day. If your quit day is too far out, you may find it hard to keep that motivation. But, on the other hand, you need to give yourself time to prepare.
Many believe it is best to wean off smoking, but studies have shown that the best results come from picking a day and quitting cold turkey.
3. Prepare for Your Quit Day
Research has shown that the best results come from counseling and medication for quitting smoking. These things take planning. Here is a list that may help you with that:
- Talk to your doctor about medications. Some treatments can lessen your craving. It is essential to talk to your doctor and begin one on your quit day. There are also clinical trials where you can receive medications for free with no health insurance needed.
- Find a support program. You can also talk to your doctor about support programs. There are many in-person or over-the-phone programs where you can speak with others about your journey.
- Find helpful online tools and apps. Online tools for creating and implementing a quit plan are available from the National Cancer Institute (https://smokefree.gov/build-your-quit-plan) and the Truth Initiative (www.becomeanex.org/). These websites and apps can increase smoking cessation success.
Other tips include:
- Making a list of triggers
- Telling your friends and family, you are quitting
- Cleaning your house of triggers
- Getting your teeth professionally cleaned
4. Make your Quit Day Easier
Your quit day is approaching quickly; let’s prepare a set of rules to follow.
- Don’t smoke, not even once
- Be sure you know how to use your nicotine replacement therapy if you’ve chosen that method.
- Read your “Reasons for Stopping” list
- Drink plenty of water
- Go for daily walks to stay active
- Avoid stressful situations
- Attend a class or call into a therapy/group session
EXTRA TIP: Find Clinical Trials near You
There are many reasons to join a clinical trial. First, it is free to join, you do not need insurance, and you may receive a stipend for time and travel. You will also get attentive care from a medical professional with frequent checkups to motivate you to stay on task. Lastly, you will feel good knowing you are improving your health and the health of future generations. For more information on clinical trials for smoking cessation, visit encoredocs.com or call 904-730-1066.