Every year on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to rethink why they smoke and provide support for quitting during its Great American Smokeout. The Smokeout is intended to be a day for smokers to make a manageable, realistic plan to quit smoking. Even though tobacco is the largest cause of preventable deaths in the United States, more than 40 million Americans still light up.
Why not use today as the perfect reason to give up tobacco for good? Here are six tips to get started:
1. Get ready
- Set a quit date and stick to it ““ not even a single puff!
- Think about past quit attempts. What worked and what did not?
- Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and workplace.
2. Get support and encouragement
- Tell your family, friends and coworkers you are quitting. Ask for their support.
- Engage the assistance of your healthcare provider.
- Get group, individual or telephone counseling.
- Sign up for Freshstart Smoking Cessation, a free four-week program developed by the American Cancer Society and offered to you by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
3. Learn new skills and behaviors
- When you first try to quit, change your routine.
- Reduce stress.
- Distract yourself from urges to smoke.
- Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
- Drink a lot of water (to flush toxins from the body).
- Ask for non-smoking areas of motels, restaurants and other public places.
- Breathe in deeply when you feel the urge to smoke.
- Keep yourself busy.
- Reward yourself often (take the money you save on a pack of cigarettes and spend it on something nice for yourself ex: a massage, see a movie, go out for dinner).
4. Consider using medication or nicotine replacement and use it correctly
- Chantix: available by prescription
- Bupropion SR: available by prescription
- Nicotine gum: available over the counter
- Nicotine inhaler: available by prescription
- Nicotine nasal spray: available by prescription
- Nicotine patch: available over the counter
- Nicotine lozenges: available over the counter
5. Consider holistic support
6. Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations
- Avoid alcohol.
- Try to spend time with other smokers when they are not smoking.
- Find alternative ways to manage stress (exercise, counseling, etc.).
- Eat a healthy diet and stay active.