So…..You Have Decided to Quit
Good for you...you’ve taken the first BIG step. Now here’s how to do it!
Quitting smoking is something that you must actively do; it is not something that will just magically happen once you finish the cigarette that you have decided will be your last. During the two to three weeks after your quit date, you will be actively quitting smoking EVERY DAY, ALL DAY! Yes, it’s WORK. And YES, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!!!!
· The first step in preparing to quit is to set a quit date. Choose a date within the next 2 weeks. ________________
· Consider getting a “quitting buddy.” Choose someone who has already quit smoking, or someone who has never smoked—someone you can really rely on to help you quit.
· Use the time between not and your quit date to learn as much as you can about your smoking habit and routines. Once you have quit, this information will help you to stay smoke-free. By understanding when and where you are most likely to smoke, you will be better prepared for how you will feel when you quit, and you will know what kinds of situations to try to avoid.
Pay attention to every cigarette you smoke. Where are you? What are you doing? What are you feeling? Before you smoke every cigarette, ask yourself: “Do I really want this cigarette?”
· To be successful, you much be aware of the situations where you are now most likely to smoke. You must be ready, for a couple of weeks at least, to change your routines and avoid those “trouble” situations. When you find yourself in one of those situations anyway, you must be prepared to change what you do and how you think so that you do not reach for a cigarette.
Being Prepared for Temptation
Even though you have decided to quit smoking, you WILL be tempted from time to time. Almost every new nonsmoker is. Temptations are most likely to occur when you in a situation in which you most often smoked. You may even feel these temptations for several months after your quit date.
Over the years, you have probably smoked so many times in certain situations that you now connect those situations with smoking. Just drinking a cup of coffee or finishing a meal, for example, may make you think about having a cigarette. Changing your routines will remove many of these temptations and will help keep the urge to smoke from sneaking up on you.
Here are some ways to keep yourself from being tempted to smoke.
ALWAYS be prepared. Know ahead of time what situations might be a problem for you, and know what you need to do to prevent the temptation from occurring. Here are some common situations that may trigger an urge to smoke, and some suggestions about how to eliminate them:
· MORNINGS—Change your routine. Get up earlier, take a bath instead of a shower, get dressed in a different room.
· MEALS—Remind yourself ahead of time that you can get through a meal without smoking.
· SEEING OTHERS SMOKE—Avoid situations where you know smokers will be.
· NEGATIVE FEELINGS—Rethink your belief that smoking makes things better. Without a cigarette , you are in control.
· ALCOHOL—As much as possible, avoid drinking alcohol for the first few weeks after you quit smoking.
Avoid a tempting situation altogether. There is no shame in feeling that you cannot handle a certain situation for awhile. The first few weeks of quitting is no time to test you strength!!
Stay away from stressful situations as much as possible until you feel strong enough to handle them without smoking. Practice stress management techniques often.
Take care of yourself. Begin an exercise program, after consulting with your doctor. Eat well-balanced meals, get your normal amount of sleep, and drink plenty of water.
Avoid boring situations where you might begin to think about smoking. KEEP BUSY!! Always have something to do.
Remind yourself often that you are HAPPY being a nonsmoker and that life is much BETTER without cigarettes.
Focus on the positive aspects of your life. Rather than thinking that you have been deprived of smoking, remind yourself that you have made the decision to quit and live a more healthy, productive life. There are much more exciting and interesting things than smoking to occupy your time!
Coping with Temptations: Being Strong
Quitting smoking is about more than regulating the nicotine level in your body. Much more importantly, quitting is about learning to live your life without cigarettes. This is called “coping.”
Coping involves acquiring new knowledge and learning new skills. It means learning hoe to handle all the urges you have for a cigarette and finding new ways to deal with situations in which you used to smoke.
You can handle your desires or urges to have a cigarette in two main ways: changing how you think and changing what you do. You can make these changes either in advance or at the moment the desire to smoke occurs.
Using a combination of both advance and at-the-moment techniques is the best way to keep yourself smoke-free. Using advance techniques helps you to prevent a desire for a cigarette from occurring. Using “at-the-moment” techniques ensures that, if the desire for a cigarette does sneak up on you, you’ll be able to handle it without smoking.
YOUR PLAN FOR ACTION
Even after you change many of your daily routines and remove many temptations to smoke from your day, sometimes an urge to smoke will still sneak up on you.
What is an urge? Often it is nothing more than a thought. In the past, when you thought about smoking, you usually smoked. Now that you have quit, you may still have these thoughts of smoking and may not know what to do with them.
Begin by realizing that just because you think about a cigarette doesn’t mean you have to smoke one. In EVERY situation you have an urge to smoke, you can do or think about something else instead.
Dealing with the urge, or coping, is an important part of becoming a nonsmoker. You can deal with urges in two main ways: 1) CHANGING HOW YOU THINK, and 2) CHANGING WHAT YOU DO!!
CHANGING HOW YOU THINK
· Don’t make a big deal out of your thoughts about cigarettes!
· Remember, the thoughs about a cigarette actually only lasts a few minutes.
· Thinking about a cigarette does NOT mean you have to smoke one.
· When you have a thought about cigarettes, tell yourself, “IT’S JUST A THOUGHT,” or, “I AM IN CONTROL.”
CHANGING WHAT YOU DO
· Do deep breathing.
· Distract yourself.
· Escape from the situation.
· Call your support person, or talk with someone nearby.
· Drink a glass of water, eat a piece of sugarless candy, or chew a piece of gum.
· Hold a straw or cinnamon stick in your hand as you would hold a cigarette.
Like many people, you may feel that smoking a cigarette helps you to beat stress. You may be surprised to find out that the nicotine in cigarettes in actually a stimulant that makes your heart beat faster and increases your blood pressure.
So, why do many smokers feel more calm and relaxed when they smoke?? This is caused by a combination of three things:
· If you are a smoker, your body is “used to” a certain amount of nicotine. When your nicotine level drops below that amount, you feel uncomfortable. Then, when you put more nicotine into your body, your “feel better”—not because your problems are gone, but simply because nicotine is back in your bloodstream.
· If you are a smoker, you have probably smoked a cigarette so many times during stressful situations that you now connect the “feeling better” that nicotine brings about with feeling more relaxed and in control of your problems. You have actually trained yourself to believe that smoking a cigarette helps to make you calm and in-control.
· Each time you inhale while smoking a cigarette, you are taking deep slow breaths. Deep breathing in the way, with or WITHOUT a cigarette, actually does help calm you.
So, as you smoke a cigarette, you breathe deeply and bring the nicotine level in your body back up to a certain level. You get a feeling that you are more relaxed, and you think that the cigarette has done this for you.
It is understandable that you are concerned that, by quitting smoking, you will lose your “relaxation tool” and will be overcome by stress.
But it is very important to understand that YOU, NOT THE CIGARETTE, have always been the one doing the calming and relaxing! A cigarette does not contain any ingredient that can relax you. It cannot pay your bills, make the traffic go any faster, or help you deal with you boss.
Smoking a cigarette has simply been your way of “setting the stage” for relaxing yourself and coping with stress. As you focus on quitting smoking, you simply need to find new ways to set the stage for relaxation and stress management. THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO DO THIS!
REDUCE THE STRESS IN YOU LIFE
· Be sure to eat right, get plenty of sleep, and take part in some kind of exercise. If you do not exercise now, walking twenty minutes a day is great place to start. Be sure you talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
· Focus on the good things in you life! Make a list of all the good things you have now. Look at the list when you become angry or upset.
· Learn to accept the things that you cannot change. Try to take one day at a time.
· If possible, put off any especially stressful tasks that you are facing until you have been smoke-free for several weeks.
· Set aside relaxation time each day. Purchase a relaxation or meditation tape or video; listen to music.
STRESS HAPPENS….AND YOU CAN HANDLE IT!
· Practice deep breathing throughout the day, especially during stressful times. Use a cinnamon stick or straw, if you wish, to help draw the air.
· Close your eyes and practice seeing yourself successfully handling stressful situation without a cigarette. Make the picture as real as possible.
· Talk about stressful situations with friend or loved ones, to get suggestions from them about dealing with the problem at hand. Talk with a clergyman or a counselor if you feel it is necessary.
· Remind yourself that every problem has a solution THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE SMOKING.
HANDLING TEMPTATIONS TO SMOKE DURING STRESSFUL TIMES
· Separate the cigarette from the situation. Think back to a recent stressful situation that you went through. Ask yourself what a cigarette could have done to make it any better.
· Step back, take a deep breath, and say to yourself, “I AM IN CONTROL” or “I CAN HANDLE THIS.”
· If you become angry or upset with someone, tell yourself, “IF I SMOKE, I AM ONLY HURTING MYSELF, NOT THAT PERSON.” Remind yourself that smoking is not a good way to get back at anyone.
· Leave the room or setting if necessary.
· Distract yourself. Always have something to read or do with you. Do a crossword puzzle, write you next shopping list, read a magazine, knit, etc.
FIND a quiet place where no one will bother you.
SIT in a comfortable chair or lie on the floor.
THINK of a sound or a short word that you can say over and over to yourself.
CLOSE your eyes.
LET yourself relax.
BEGIN to breathe deeply and slowly, taking the air in through your nose and letting it our through your mouth. As you do this, say your special word over and over to yourself.
DO this for 15 minutes every day.
DON’T WORRY if you have trouble clearing your mind that first few times you do this. Just like everything else, it will become easier as you practice.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU QUIT
Quit With Us LA
1-800-784-8669 24 hours/7 days per week
By text: Text the word QUIT to 47848 from your mobile phone, answer a few questions, and you’ll start receiving messages.
There is no additional fee for this service. However, message and data rates may apply. If you pay for individual texts, this program may not be right for you. Check with your mobile provider.
Smoke Free Woman
Smoke Free Español
National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quit Lines
1-800-784-8669 24 hours/7 days per week
Smoking Cessation Trust
American Lung Association
American Heart Association
American Cancer Society
If you answered "yes" to both questions,then you are eligible for the program.
A cigarette is only paper and dried-up leaves. It is not magic wand! A cigarette has never solved your problems—you have done that yourself, and you can continue to do so without cigarettes!
The only way the thoughts about smoking will go away for good is if you DO NOT SMOKE. Having just one cigarette continues the control that smoking has over your life.