Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Yet, 40 million American adults still smoke. The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco.
Try these quick tips when trying to quit.
- Spend as much free time as you can in public places where smoking is not allowed.
- Take extra care of yourself. Drink water, eat well, and get enough sleep. This could help you have the energy you might need to handle extra stress.
- Try to avoid alcohol, coffee, or any other drinks you link with smoking. Try a different low- or no-calorie option instead.
- If you miss the feeling of having a cigarette in your hand, hold something else, like a pencil, a paper clip, a coin, or a marble.
- If you miss the feeling of having something in your mouth, try cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum, sugar-free lollipops, or celery.
- Avoid temptation by staying away from activities, people, and places you link with smoking.
- Make a list of the important reasons you’ve decided to quit, and keep this list in your phone to continually remind yourself.
- Take deep breaths to relax. Picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.
- Remember your goal and the fact that the urge to smoke will lessen over time.
- Remember that quitting is a learning process. Be patient with yourself.
- Brush your teeth and enjoy that fresh taste.
- Call a friend, family member, your medical provider or the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 when you need support.
- Eat 4 to 6 small meals during the day instead of 1 or 2 large ones. This keeps your blood sugar levels steady, your energy balanced, and helps prevent the urge to smoke. Avoid sugary or spicy foods that could trigger a desire to smoke.
- Know that anger, frustration, anxiety, irritability, and even depression are normal after quitting and will get better as you learn ways to cope that don’t involve tobacco and the effects of nicotine subside over time.
- Go for a walk. Exercise can improve your mood and relieve stress.