November 2, 2021

When You’re Ready to Give It Up: Tips to Stop Smoking

For more than four decades, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The aim is to help motivated smokers commit to quitting, so they can live healthier lives.

The process of quitting is different for every smoker. One person may quit cold turkey with minimal withdrawal symptoms, while another may struggle physically and mentally. Genetics play a role in addiction—even to tobacco and nicotine—and can also affect your experience of giving up smoking.

However, not all is lost; there are ways for you to stop smoking altogether. Here are some of our best, proven tips:  

Know Your Why: Make a List of Reasons Why You Want to Quit.

This is an essential first step to changing any habit, not just quitting smoking. Health reasons are usually top of this list for most people who want to become ex-smokers. To reinforce a health reason, describe a related scare or uncomfortable feeling, such as decreased lung capacity, chronic cough or poor quality of life.

Recent, joyful additions to your life, such as a child or grandchild, may make you want to live your best and healthiest life.

Remember, any reason to quit smoking that truly matters to you is a valid one. And each time you feel a craving, refer to this why to empower your conviction.

Make Small Changes: Cut Down Slowly.

Quitting cold turkey can come with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, sweating, sore throat, headaches, constipation and intense cravings. So instead, cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. This way, you’re not overwhelming your body suddenly.

Small, incremental changes are also easier to maintain than an all-or-nothing approach. First, keep track of when and where you’re smoking and when you tend to crave a cigarette the most. Knowing your patterns will help you create a plan to eventually avoid the temptation completely, like giving up one smoking session per day at first. Try telling yourself, “I don’t smoke during my morning coffee break” for a week or so instead of jumping straight into “I don’t smoke at all.” If your cravings are strongest after a meal, start by eliminating a cigarette at another time of day to build up confidence in your ability to not light up at another time.

Find Alternatives: Swap in a New Behavior.

The trigger to reach for a cigarette is different for everyone. You may find that the habit often goes hand-in-hand with other familiar activities, such as feeling full after a meal, drinking alcohol, taking a break at work or socializing.

Recognize the moments when you tend to smoke the most and replace them with something else. If you feel full after a meal, make a cup of calming tea. Use your breaks to meditate or go for a walk. And if you find yourself socializing, suggest activities that can keep your hands busy while you engage in the conversation; both can help keep your mind off your cigarette craving.

Get Support: Accountability and Encouragement Help Change Happen.

Help can come from fellow former smokers, family, co-workers or friends. Telling more people about your intentions to quit smoking strengthens your support system by building accountability and increasing your cheerleaders. The others can be key to your journey.

Spreading the word will also make it clear to family, friends and co-workers who smoke not to tempt you by inviting you along—because the best support system is the one that respects your decision to quit.

Support and actionable strategies can also come from trained professionals who can help create a program for you. Our team at Communicare is ready to help.

If you’d like to discuss stopping smoking or other behaviors, reach out to us today to discuss your journey to breaking addiction and recovery: 662-234-7521.  

If you have an emergency, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room or call 1-866-837-7521 to be connected to Communicare’s mobile crisis team, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.