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Tips to Quit

The process of quitting involves several steps. They include: commitment, personal assessment, plan for success, slip control, and personal rewards for success.


Commitment means convincing yourself that you want to quit. It is deemed the most important step of the entire process. Once you have convinced yourself you are going to quit, it becomes easier to proceed to the next steps. Commitment means going from an "I'll give it a try" to an "I'll do it!" attitude.

Personal Assessment

First you need to understand why you are using tobacco - whether it be a social habit or a stress reliever. Many common reasons include: habitual, relaxation, stress, and stimulation. By knowing why you smoke, you can choose different actions and rewards to replace the need for tobacco.

Plan for Success

You need to plan to become tobacco-free. Form new behaviors to take the place of tobacco use. For example, learn how to relax using tapes or exercise, instead of using tobacco. Choose a method to quit, like "cold turkey" or tapering. Finally, let others know you are going to quit, friends and family are your biggest supporters and influencers - you need their support.

Slip Control

Even with a plan in place, it takes most people between 2 and 5 attempts to successfully quit. Some attempts work better than others, and the time of quitting is equally as important. The key to quitting is to find the reason(s) for your slips and to try new ways to quit. Remember, a slip is just a slip so long as you stay committed to quitting and don't give up.

Rewards for Success

Rewards for quitting can vary from spending the money saved on something special, the ability to brag to friends, family and co-workers of your success, and the better health and feeling you will receive without using tobacco.

Staying Smoke Free
Don't carry spit tobacco, cigarettes, matches or a lighter with you.
Each time you want tobacco, stop and ask yourself, "Do I really want this cigarette/chew?"
Keep your hands busy. Try doodling, playing a musical instrument or fiddling with rubber bands.
Brush your teeth often to make your mouth taste fresh and clean, especially after eating.
Go places where you can't use tobacco such as the mall, the movies, or school.
Chew or suck on cinnamon or mint flavored gum or candy - they make tobacco taste bad.
Stay positive; be proud of yourself for deciding to make a change and quit or reduce your tobacco use.
Stay busy - keep yourself from getting bored. Exercise, read, hike, bike, go see a movie.
Save the money you would normally spend on tobacco in a jar. Watch it add up and buy yourself something special.
When you feel tense, uptight or upset, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Approaches to Quitting

People who often want to know what is the best solution to quitting tobacco. The truth is, there is no one best way. There are 5 basic methods to quit. Which one works depends more on you than on the method itself. You may have to try more than one approach to quitting before being successful. The key is to not give up. If 1 method doesn't work, try to figure out what went wrong and then choose a better way to quit. Most people who quit, do so by using methods that are best for them.

Cold Turkey
Method: Set a quit date and use no tobacco after that date.
Benefits: Get through withdrawal period sooner. Don't have to worry about keeping track of how many packs/cans you have used each day.
Drawbacks: The thought of suddenly going without tobacco may keep you from even trying to quit.
Method: Set a quit date, count how many cigarettes/cans must be reduced per date to become tobacco-free before set date.
Benefits: It lessens the impact of sudden withdrawal and slowly weans you from your addiction to tobacco.
Drawbacks: It requires you to keep track of tobacco use, and high stress events may cause you to use up your supply before the end of the day - increasing chances of withdrawal symptoms.
Place Postponement
Method: Keep a log of where you use your tobacco, identify high use areas. Begin setting high use areas off-limits to tobacco-use. Soon all areas will be off-limits.
Benefits: It doesn't require counting use of tobacco, and slowly weans you from your addiction to tobacco.
Drawbacks: High stress situations and a lack of commitment may limit success.
Time Postponement
Method: Set a time limit from when you 1st feel the urge to when you actually use. The time block gets larger from the 1st day on until there is no more time to use tobacco.
Benefits: It doesn't require counting use of tobacco.
Drawbacks: High stress situations and lack of commitment may limit success.
Method: You use 2 or more of the previous methods at the same time.
Benefits: It allows you to commit to an approach that doesn't require total quitting from the start.
Drawbacks: Lack of persistence. Like anything new, learning techniques takes time to work.
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Quick Tips

Know why you want to quit?

Research indicates that if you're thinking about quitting, you may actually overemphasize what you "get" from using tobacco. One effective method for dealing with this is to focus on reasons you want to quit instead. Take a few minutes and write down 10 reasons why you want to quit. Keep this list in a place you can get to easily. Review these reasons daily, the more you emphasize the reasons you want to quit, the more likely you will not slip.

Take the Challenge.

Find a small, pocket-size notebook. Each time you want a cigarette or chew, take out your notebook and write a few thoughts: what time is it, what's your mood, who are you with, where are you? Write in your journal each time you use tobacco, for up to 3 days. After you have 10 journal entries, review what you've written. See any patterns or trends?