We all know smoking is bad for our health. It affects our bones, immune system, heart, lungs, and eyes, plus it’s known to cause cancer. But just knowing how bad it is for you isn’t always enough to stop smoking. If you’re ready to quit, or you’ve tried to quit in the past, we have a few tips to help you succeed.
Know Your Why
To give it up takes some dedication. Start by knowing why you want to quit and creating reminders for yourself. Some people choose to quit because they don’t want their kids to smoke, or they want to live longer to see their grandchildren. Other people want to see the world, but cigarettes are an expensive habit. Connect your quitting to a “why” that is bigger than just quitting to be quitting.
Create A Plan
For some people just deciding to quit and following through works, but that’s not often the case. Before you decide to quit, take a few steps to prepare for the journey ahead. Smoking, vaping, or using e-cigarettes has become a part of your life. You can make the first week easier on yourself by identifying smoking triggers and removing anything smoking related from your life. This includes washing all your clothes and cleaning up your car to get rid of the odor. You may also need nicotine replacement to assist your efforts. Think through what might work best for you and talk to your doctor about your decision to quit.
Curb the Cravings
You’re going to have cravings especially during the first week you quit. Be prepared. Nicotine takes 3-4 days to fully leave your body. Understand most cravings will pass within 20 minutes. While you may experience cravings for up to three months, they will be the strongest during the first week. If you’ve identified your triggers, you can plan for alternatives. If you usually smoke when you wake up in the morning or during a break at work replace that activity with something else, preferably something healthy. Take a walk. Do some push ups. Make coffee. Drink a glass of water. Changing your behavior can help curb the cravings and maybe create better habits.
Phone a Friend
Don’t try to quit alone. Let a friend or family member in on your plan. Call or text your support group when you feel the cravings come on. Part of avoiding triggers might involve meeting a friend at the gym or taking a walk together. Not only will connecting with others offer you the support you need, but the physical action of picking up your phone keeps your hands busy.
Find a Role Model
Talk to someone you know who quit smoking. Ask them how they did it or what benefits it brought to their lives. Most will still remember how hard it was, but they’ll also tell you about the ways they used the money they saved or how much longer they could play with their kids before being out of breath. An inspirational story goes a long way to helping you remember your why.
Our nurse practitioners are here when you’re ready to quit. We offer walk-in or appointments 7 days a week. And we’re open until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday which makes finding the help you need easier than ever.