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8 Tips For Quitting Smoking

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.

Image Source: Getty
kurniakasih kurniakasih 6 years
Good for you guys who are on your way to quit for good :) I quit because I got pregnant LOL, not that I recommend that route to quit, by the way. I quit cold turkey and my kid is 5 1/2 yrs old and yah, I don't miss it anymore. My husband is impressed because he's still a smoker (he tried so many times to quit but keep failing) and I don't get tempted by his ciggies although he sometimes still offers (yep, after 5 years he still offers when he saw me all anxious/stressed out). I do notice I replace cigarette (oral fixation) with food though, I mean, it's odd because I realize once I quit how I usually smoke when I'm anxious or stressed then when I first quit, I self-soothed with food, but luckily I've found the balance to not always self-soothe with food.
almostloli almostloli 8 years
some people smoke just so that they'd look 'cool' if that's the case.. then it's difficult
chasgwen chasgwen 8 years
Thanks for the good advice everyone! I feel like every week that goes by I just get stronger about not smoking, and I hoping within the next 2-3 months, those cravings will not be so bad. But I may have to pick up the inhaler for those really really tough times!
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
Eugh that picture makes me never want to start smoking! Her lips are blue and she looks sick! Congrats to everyone who's quitting, I hope you all keep it up. I'm not good at diets or commitment to things, so it's a good thing I never started smoking, so I won't have to ever deal with trying to quit.
nerdovision nerdovision 8 years
Hello Everyone, My wife was finally able to kick the habit before she got pregnant with our now first born beautiful baby girl, so I thought I'll share the resource that she has used to help her quit the smoking habit with as many people as I can. She was a heavy smoker for about ten years and just a couple of weeks after finding out about the program that I have researched online, she was able to quit smoking permanently and now can't stop telling people about how she had kicked the habit for good. Anyway if you want to check it out, here is the site that my wife has used to help her quit smoking;
muchacha muchacha 8 years
chasgwen - I would actually recommend picking up some nicotine replacement (eg, the gum, the lozenges) for when you're in those high intensity situations with your friends who smoke. And.. to help you get over this time that you build your life as a non-smoker, you might have to not see those friends for awhile. They will understand. Quitting smoking needs to be your number one priority right now. I am coming up on 2 years since I stopped smoking - and for the first year i brought the inhaler (also a nicotine replacement device) with me to the bars, to friends houses where I knew people would smoke, pretty much everywhere. It's better that you reach for a replacement than for a cigarette. I think that when people stop smoking and say that they'll have just one is tricky. For myself, because of my high level of addiction, I'll never be able to have just one. I would think that's the care for most people who quit too. It's a life-time commitment, but it's managed one situation at a time. Meanwhile, I would also recommended talking to a healthcare professional about quitting - they can set you up with pharmacological and non-pharmacological support services (eg, prescriptions and also support groups/phone call services). Sorry for the rant - stopping smoking is an important issue to me :)
Advah Advah 8 years
I've never really smoked but over the last couple of years I've def enjoyed having a cigarette while having a drink, even if it's only every 2 months or so. But then waking up the next morning with my hair and fingers smelling of cigarette and feeling disgusting is enough to keep me away from smoking more than that! I've also smoked A LOT on New Year's and got a nasty sore throat out of it - I still feel really gross when I think about it. The smell and taste the next day is my motivation for keeping completely out of it now.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm glad I never picked up smoking, but my mom smoked when she was a teenager and into college. What actually made her quit was the fact that she started dating my dad. She never told him that she smoked and he told her that he would not date a smoker. So she quit cold turkey as soon as she found that out, lol. What helped her was chewing gum...for her, smoking was an oral fixation thing. She did it mostly to keep her mouth busy...not for the nicotine so much.
foxie foxie 8 years
This is a little off-topic, but the post reminded me of something annoying. At my husband's deployment base, leadership is offering incentives like free day passes to people who quit smoking. Uh... where's my husband's free pass for being smart enough to not smoke to begin with??
emalove emalove 8 years
Best thing I ever did for myself!!
jnj213 jnj213 8 years
I've stopped smoking 3 different times now for at least a month at a time and i somehow always begin again. I think "I'll just have one, or just tonight". Almost all of my friends smoke. I've quit cold turkey and just exercised a lot and then have done chantix twice. The chantix definitely worked but I stopped taking after I had not been smoking for 3 weeks. It's a mental battle, if you can stay really busy and not be around cigarettes, it's a lot easier. They are definitely addictive though.
bettywhite bettywhite 8 years
i'm at 12 days no smoking! i'm taking chantix, and it helps with the cravings. this is at least my 5th or 6th try at quitting in the 13 years i've been a smoker.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Any reason is a good one. I can't stand being near anyone who smokes, makes me ill.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
chasgwen - Since you went cold turkey I guess I wouldn't recommend any sort of nicotine, even when out with friends when you're really tempted. I'd try to find something that's really motivating to you (for me, it used to be that my hair smelled really good when I didn't smoke - kinda silly, I know), or that makes you really disgusted at the thought of a cigarette, and just keep it in mind. It's hard, but you can totally do it!
sandykf sandykf 8 years
I quit last year. I tapered down to one cigarette a day over the course of a month and then just stopped. Also, my doctor gave me a prescription to welbutrin a week later before I murdered everyone I work with or make eye contact with. Heh.
SarahPW SarahPW 8 years
i also like "the easy way to quit smoking." i had smoked for years, but quitting really turned out to be mental. it was not easy at all, but i am so glad i did. haven't had a smoke in over a year :)
chasgwen chasgwen 8 years
I actually was able to quit cold turkey (Which was AWEFUL!), so I am scared that using nictine gum or lozenges at this point would do more harm than good.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I'm on again, off again. I haven't had a cigarette in 3 weeks now. I had quit for 4, slipped and smoked 3 weeks ago. And it was the worst cigarette I have ever smoked. I'm glad I slipped to remind me why I was quitting. chasqwen - I have that problem too. Everyone I know and goes out with smokes. I use the lozenges. I really like them. The gum is too peppery for me, but I like the mint of the lozenges. Plus it keeps my mouth busy.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
chasgwen - I had the same problem at first. I eventually ended up bringing Nicorette with me when I went out with my smoking friends so that if I were tempted, I'd have something that, while not a perfect solution, would at least stop me from having a cigarette.
chasgwen chasgwen 8 years
I decided I was going to quit, and today is day 33 without a cigarette. It has gotten much easier during the week when I am very busy with work and school, but on the weekends I struggle. Practically all of my friends smoke, so socializing is basically a constant fight to not join them outside for a smoke. I have felt angry at everyone that still smokes, and sad because I miss it. I'm wondering how much longer this feeling will last. I am very glad that I quit, but the urge to be a social smoker is almost too much for me to handle at this point. Am I going to have to cut off all contact from friends until this goes away?
AMP AMP 8 years
Just looking at that pic makes me glad I never started. ew
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Quitting is so hard! It probably took me a good dozen tries, and I'll be honest, I still slip up sometimes, usually when I'm out. I found that the best thing for me was to really get into good shape, because picking up smoking again became less of an option knowing that it would throw off my routine and my running and cause me to gain weight back. It's kinda shallow, but it worked.
wren1 wren1 8 years
*three years
wren1 wren1 8 years
I smoked for many years and when I felt almost ready to quit I read "The Easy Way to Quit Smoking" by David Carr, and that was that. Now it's been almost tree years since I've quit :cheer: and I don't miss it at all. The book just trains your mind to think differently about the addiction
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