Clearing the Air:
How to Quit Smoking...and Quit for Keeps
Withdrawal Symptoms and Activities That Might Help*
Adapted from Quitting Times: A Magazine for Women Who Smoke, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health; prepared by Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.
Quitting for Keeps:
Congratulations!Now you are ready to develop a new habitnot smoking. Like any other habit, it takes time to become a part of you; unlike most other habits, though, not smoking will take some conscious effort and practice. This section of the booklet can be a big help. You will find many techniques to use for developing the nonsmoking habit and holding on to it.
By reading this section of the booklet carefully and reviewing it often, you'll become more aware of the places and situations that prompt the desire for a cigarette. You will also learn about many nonsmoking ways to deal with the urge to smoke. These are called coping skills. Finally, you will learn what to do in case you do slip and give in to the smoking urge.
Keep Your Guard UpThe key to living as a nonsmoker is to avoid letting your urges or cravings for a cigarette lead you to smoke. Don't kid yourselfeven though you have made a commitment not to smoke, you will sometimes be tempted. But instead of giving in to the urge, you can use it as a learning experience.
First, remind yourself that you have quit and you are a nonsmoker. Then look closely at your urge to smoke and ask yourself:
The urge to smoke after you've quit often hits at predictable times. The trick is to anticipate those times and find ways to cope with themwithout smoking. Naturally, it won't be easy at first. In fact, you may continue to want a cigarette at times. But remember, even if you slip, it doesn't mean an end to the nonsmoking you. It does mean that you should try to identify what triggered your slip, strengthen your commitment to quitting, and try again.
Look at the following list of typical triggers. Does any of them ring a bell with you? Check off those that might trigger and urge to smoke, and add any others you can think of:
How to Dampen That Urge with Dr. David Cohen, N.D., Ph.D., M.H., C.N.C.
These tips are designed for you, the new nonsmoker, to help you nurture the nonsmoking habit.
1. Think about why you quitGo back to your list of reasons for quitting. Look at this list several times a dayespecially when you are hit with the urge to smoke. The best reasons you could have for quitting are very personally yours, and these are also the best reasons to stay a nonsmoker.
2. Know when you are rationalizingIt is easy to rationalize yourself back into smoking (see Common Rationalizations). Don't talk yourself into smoking again. A new nonsmoker in a tense situation may think, "I'll just have one cigarette to calm myself down." If thoughts like this pop into your head, stop and think again! You know better ways to relax nonsmokers ways, such as taking a walk or doing breathing exercises.
Concern about gaining weight may also lead to rationalizations. Learn to counter thoughts such as, "I'd rather be thin, even if it means smoking." Remember that a slight weight gain is not likely to endanger your health as much as smoking would. (Cigarette smokers have about a 70-percent higher rate of premature death than nonsmokers.) And review the list of healthy, low-calorie snacks that you used when quitting.
3. Anticipate Triggers and Prepare to Avoid ThemBy now you know which situations, people, and feelings are likely to tempt you to smoke. Be prepared to meet these triggers head on and counteract them. Keep using the skills that helped you cope in cutting down and quitting:
4. Reward yourself for not smokingCongratulations are in order each time you get through a day without smoking. After a week, give yourself a pat on the back and a reward of some kind. Buy a new record or treat yourself to a movie or concert. No matter how you do it, make sure you reward yourself in some way. It helps to remind yourself that what you are doing is important.
5. Use positive thoughtsIf self-defeating thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself again that you are a nonsmoker, that you do not want to smoke, and that you have good reasons for it. Putting yourself down and trying to hold out using willpower alone are not effective coping techniques. Mobilize the power of positive thinking!
6. Use relaxation techniquesBreathing exercises help to reduce tension. Instead of having a cigarette, take a long deep breath, count to 10, and release it. Repeat this 5 times. See how much more relaxed you feel?
7. Get social supportThe commitment to remain a nonsmoker can be made easier by talking about it with friends and relatives. They can congratulate you as you check off another day, week, and month as a nonsmoker. Tell the people close to you that you might be tense for a while, so they know what to expect. They'll be sympathetic when you have an urge to smoke and can be counted on to help you resist it. Remember to call on your friends when you are lonely or you feel an urge to smoke. A buddy system is a great technique.
How to Quit Smoking...and Quit for Keeps
Table of Contents:
Non Smoking Is Habit FormingGood for you! You have made a commitment not to smoke, and by using this booklet, you know what to do if you are tempted to forget that commitment. It is difficult to stay a nonsmoker once you have had a cigarette, so do everything possible to avoid it.
If you follow the advice in this booklet and use at least one coping skill whenever you have an urge to smoke, you will have quit for keeps!
Relapse: If You Do Smoke AgainIf you slip and smoke, don't be discouraged. Many former smokers tried to stop several times before they finally succeeded. Here's what you should do: