Tomorrow, Nov. 18, is the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even our own DrSugar all urge you to quit smoking! It is one of the best things you can do for your health.
We all know that quitting is not an easy feat, so I'm offering some timeless tips for kicking the habit. Whether you have a pack-a-day habit or consider yourself a social smoker, smoking is wreaking havoc on your health, so here are some strategies to help you stop for good.
- Exercise more. Getting moving is a great way to remind yourself why you shouldn't smoke. Exercise can reduce your stress and help you relax far better than cigarettes. Even just five minutes of walking can help fend off urges.
- Go over the counter. Stop-smoking aids like gum, lozenges, and patches really do help ease withdrawal symptoms. Even if you want to go cold turkey, it might help to have some gum on hand for the times when you're especially irritable or antsy.
- Chew away your cravings. Regular gum can also be effective at battling cravings. Keeping your mouth busy will help keep your mind off smoking.
- Play with your phone. Harness the power of your smartphone with handy apps like Quitter, which is free and calculates how much money you're saving by not buying cigarettes, or spend $3.99 for LiveStrong's My Quit Coach, which helps you set goals and monitors your progress.
I have more tips, so keep on reading.
- Turn to healthy snacks. Similarly, make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand. Nibbling on celery, rice cakes, pistachios, and other low-cal treats will occupy your mouth and your hands.
- Get rid of the triggers. Identify the things that make you want to smoke and, if possible, eliminate them from your life, at least temporarily. If you identify smoking with drinking alcohol or coffee, it might help to ditch those habits for a little while.
- Polish your pearly whites. Many women I know get manicures to kick nail-biting habits, so why not try a similar tactic? Paying for a professional tooth-whitening procedure could encourage you not to pick up the habit again.
- Find other ways to relax. If you often turn to smoking when you're stressed, then replace the cigarette with another relaxation technique, whether it's meditation, deep breathing, or a long bath.
Have any of these tricks worked for you? Share your strategies below.