Quitting smoking is difficult, to say the least, but it’s worth making a priority in your life. Don’t go it alone. There is plenty of support available to help you quit.
Start with your loved ones. Tell them you are planning to quit, when your quit date is, and that you’ll need their support to quit smoking for good. Let them know you’ll need their encouragement and support to quit successfully. Ask them not to smoke around you (if they smoke), and tell them you’ll be making some changes in order to avoid tobacco smoke as much as possible. For example, you will likely choose to avoid places where smoking is common. If you let your loved ones know of your decision, they will likely understand and be supportive when you say you won’t go somewhere they might be going.
It’s a good idea to have a couple of friends and family members at the ready, so you can call or text them when you feel the urge to smoke. Just that distraction can help you get through those cravings.
Quitting can and often does bring about physical and emotional changes that can be challenging to deal with.
Talking with your doctor about what support options are available will also be helpful. He or she can refer you to local resources aimed at helping smokers kick the habit. These may include counselors and support groups. One group that can help is Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), a national organization that uses an approach like that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Typically, a sponsor is available through NicA to help you overcome your urges to smoke. Take advantage of every resource you can find to help you be more successful with quitting smoking.
Many businesses now offer quit-smoking programs for their employees, as well. Talk with your human resources professional to see if your company offers support in this endeavor.
Another good resource for finding local programs and support services is your local government’s website. Many localities offer community-based programs to help smokers quit. A good program will provide plenty of sessions (at least four that are 15 to 30 minutes in length and stretch over at least two weeks is ideal, according to the American Cancer Society [ACS]) and is led by a trained smoking cessation counselor.
The Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) is available 24/7 and will connect you with a counselor to help you when you need it. Counselors can help you steer clear of the mistakes many people make when they try to quit. It’s worth noting that people who use some form of telephone counseling have twice the success rate as those who don’t, according to ACS.
There are also free apps and texting services (data rates may apply) for smartphones that can offer support. Free apps include Smoke Free, the LiveStrong MyQuit Coach, and My Last Cigarette. These apps offer innovative tools to track your progress and help you see exactly how you’re helping your own health by quitting. Check the App Store (Apple iOS) or Google Play (Android) for available apps.
This article is sponsored by American Lung Association and StayWell.
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.