More than 400,000 Americans die as a result of cigarette smoking each year. But no one ever died from quitting! Here are six simple — but not easy — tips to help you quit smoking for good.
Tips to quit smoking
- Prepare in advance by setting a “Quit Day.” Then, celebrate when that date comes. It’s a special occasion and should be treated as one.
- Think about your tobacco behavior and identify what triggers your urges and cravings. Then, learn to separate yourself from the situations in which you used tobacco by changing your routine. Most people find the craving goes away within a short period of time. Until it does, don’t go back to your old routines.
- Don’t fool yourself into thinking just one cigarette is okay. One cigarette will lead to another.
- Find substitutions for tobacco: cinnamon toothpicks, crunchy snacks and water are good examples. Have reading materials on hand to keep your mind off tobacco and a stress ball to keep your hands busy.
- Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Using a nicotine patch, gum or lozenge can help reduce cravings for cigarettes. Prescription drugs are also available to help smokers quit. Some can be used along with NRT, and some must be started before your planned Quit Day. E-cigarettes are not considered an approved form of NRT. Some may not have nicotine, but they may contain other carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals.
- Whatever method you choose, stay positive! Tell yourself you can kick the habit. Give yourself positive reinforcement. Three million Americans successfully quit smoking every year. You can be one of them!
Take the next step:
- Find out what you gain when you quit smoking.
- The MHealthy Tobacco Consultation Service (TCS) has developed a “virtual” quit kit full of tools and resources to help you quit. TCS also provides free, one-on-one individual counseling giving you the support and skills needed to quit, and stay quit.
- Contact the University of Michigan Tobacco Consultation Service: Call 734-998-6222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for support as you make an effort to quit smoking.
Susan Ryskamp, MS, RDN, is a senior dietitian and cardiovascular nutritionist with the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. She is also a trained health coach in behavior change, including quitting smoking. She provides nutritional counseling to help people reduce disease risk and improve health. She is responsible for individual and group outpatient medical nutrition therapy as part of the dynamic cardiovascular team committed to making a difference.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.