Quitting Smoking (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Planning Your Strategy to Quit
Learn what works for you.
When it comes to quitting smoking, some people find it helpful to plan ahead. Others don't. Do what works for you. If you are ready to quit right now, see the section Ready to Quit Today?
If you prefer to plan ahead, start by asking yourself some questions. Are you a goal-setter? How confident do you feel that you will succeed at giving up smoking? Asking yourself these questions is one way to prepare yourself for quitting.
Know your reasons
Your reason for wanting to quit is important. Maybe you want to protect your heart and your health and live longer. Or maybe you want to spend your money on something besides cigarettes. If your reason comes from you-and not someone else-it will be easier for you to try to quit for good.
After you know your reasons for wanting to quit, use the U.S. Surgeon General's five keys to quitting: get ready, get support, learn new skills and behaviors, get and use medicine, and be prepared for relapse.
1. Get ready
Contact your doctor or local health department to learn about medicines and to find out what kinds of help are available in your area for people who want to quit smoking. Telephone helplines operated by your state can also help you find information and support for quitting smoking.
Check with your insurance provider to find out if medicines and counseling are covered under your health plan. Your employer may also help pay the cost of a quit-smoking program or provide help to pay for medicines, even ones.
Here are some other ways to get ready to quit smoking:
2. Get support
You will have a better chance of quitting successfully if you have help and support from your family, friends, and coworkers. Others sources of support include:
You can also find online and phone support (1-800-QUITNOW) along with quit-smoking programs that you can attend. People who use telephone, group, or one-on-one counseling are much more likely to stop smoking than people who try to quit on their own.
If a partner or friend is quitting, you can help.
3. Learn new skills and behaviors
Since you won't be smoking, decide what you are going to do instead. Make a plan to:
4. Get and use medicine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medicines to help people quit smoking. You will double your chances of quitting even if medicine is the only treatment you use to quit. Your odds get even better when you combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counseling.1
You won't have to take medicines forever-just for as long as it takes to help you quit. Your employer or health plan may help pay the cost of a quit-smoking program or provide help to pay for medicines. And remember that no matter how much it costs to buy medicines to help you stop smoking, it's still less than the cost of smoking.
The first-choice medicines are:2
Remember, taking medicines and using telephone or in-person counseling or a quit-smoking program at the same time greatly increases your chances of success.
5. Be prepared for relapse
Most people are not successful the first few times they try to quit smoking. If you start smoking again, don't feel bad about yourself. A slip or relapse is just a sign that you need to change your approach to quitting. Make a list of things you learned. And think about when you want to try again, such as next week, next month, or next spring. Or you don't have to wait. If you're still motivated to quit, you can try again as soon as you want.
You might get some ideas for things you can do differently by looking at "Prepare for roadblocks" in the section Thinking About Quitting? Maybe you can try something new next time, such as a new medicine or program. You might try combining tools, such as counseling and medicine. Keep trying, and don't be fooled into thinking that smoking "light" cigarettes will help. They do not make smoking safer.
If you slip
If you slip or smoke a little, don't give up. Talk to someone who has quit smoking, or to a counselor, to get ideas of what to do. If you are taking medicine or using nicotine replacement, keep doing so unless you go back to regular smoking.
Quitting smoking is hard, but it can be done. To stay motivated, keep reminding yourself why you want to quit smoking. Make a list of your reasons to quit and the benefits you expect from quitting. Put your list of reasons on your bedroom dresser, in your wallet, or on the refrigerator. Review it whenever you are struggling with the quitting process. Add to your list whenever another reason or benefit occurs to you.
See the topic Quick Tips: What to Do When You Crave Nicotine.
If you have tried to quit smoking before, remember that most people try to quit many times before they are successful. Don't give up.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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