How to Quit Smoking: Kick the Habit with This Handy Guide

By The Care Centers. Posted on Mon Feb 22 2016

Whether you’ve just started smoking within the past few months or you’ve been smoking cigarettes all your life, quitting smoking isn’t easy. In fact, a lot of people try and try, and each time they end up relapsing and starting over again. It’s enough to make you think that it’s impossible and that you’ll be a smoker for the rest of your life. However, if you have the right game plan and some support from your family and friends, quitting is not only possible – it’s much easier than you might think.

Why Is It So Hard?
One of the keys to quitting successfully is understanding why it’s been so hard for you to quit in the past. Smoking isn’t just a physical addiction – it’s a psychological habit, and it becomes linked with other habits. Not only that, but it has a feel-good buzz, so your brain looks for that reward whenever you do the things that you associate with smoking. This is why, for example, if you have a cigarette after breakfast each morning, you’ll miss that cigarette and want it very badly when you skip it.

Create Your Own Personal Plan to Quit
With that in mind, sit down and make a list of the times you habitually smoke and when you crave a cigarette? Do you smoke after you eat? While you’re drinking? When others are smoking? Answer honestly, and you’ll get a good map of how your day looks in terms of cigarettes. Having this outline of your day in typical smoking habits will help you anticipate and avoid situations in which you’ll be tempted to smoke, and it’ll help you understand and handle your cravings, too.

Use the START Method
START is a handy acronym that stands for:

  • Set a date to quit.
  • Tell your family, friends, and people you work with that you’re planning to quit and when.
  • Anticipate and create a plan for facing challenges like cravings and old smoking buddies while you’re quitting.
  • Remove all tobacco products and cigarettes from your office, car, house, etc.
  • Tell your doctor you’re quitting and ask for advice and help if you need it.

The START method gives you a clear process for starting to quit, and it includes accountability with your friends, family, and doctor. When you start here, you’ll have the support you need to keep going.

Identify Why You Smoke
Some people find that keeping a craving calendar helps them because they can go back and look at the times when they wanted to smoke and what triggered those cravings. Whether you want to do this or not, take the time to think about when and why you smoke. If you’re doing it to relieve anxiety or get yourself through difficult emotional situations, then you’ll want to replace this habit with a positive one, like relaxation and breathing exercises. If you’re just smoking because you habitually smoke after your meals, take a walk instead.

The more you replace your bad smoking habit with good habits, and the more you stick to your plan, the easier quitting will be. And, if you need help through a support group or counseling, reach out to one of The Care Centers near you.  

Tags: Mental Health