Understanding Why You Smoke
Before you can quit smoking it is important to understand why you smoke. At some point you consciously decided that smoking had benefits. It may have been it that you viewed smoking as something “cool” to do to fit in with your friends. Or, that smoking might help relax you, or suppress you appetite and help control weight. Or, maybe you thought smoking would help fight boredom. Whatever the reason(s),you perceived smoking as having benefits.
You need to understand those reasons and reprogram your thinking to convince yourself that smoking has no real benefits, and develop as many reasons as you can think of that highlight the negative effects of smoking – not just the many negative health reasons. Do really like not being able to eat at certain restaurants because smoking is not allowed? Or, do you enjoy being treated like a leper at work and having to stand outside on your break to catch a smoke? Do think being a smoker is good role model for your young kids?
Next, take stock of your smoking triggers. These can be people, places, or events that prompt you to light up. Maybe you only smoke around certain people, or at certain times of the day, or after having a cup of coffee, or when you are driving, or only when you’re in a bar. Take note of those people, places, and events.
Quit Smoking Tips
To quit smoking follow these tips which should make it easier for you to become a successful quitter.
- Set a definite quit date. Not tomorrow, but a few days into the future to give you time to prepare.
- Let your friends, family, and colleagues know that you are quitting smoking and ask for their support.
- Make a list of the reasons you want to quit and keep that list close to you when you find yourself tempted to smoke.
- Take note of your smoking triggers and try to avoid those triggers as much as possible. This may require changing some of your daily routine like drinking tea instead of coffee, or avoid going to happy hour after work, and avoiding certain people.
- Leading up to your quit date try to disrupt your normal smoking pattern. Remove ashtrays. Place your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your opposite hand. Smoke only half of a cigarette. Delay the first cigarette of the day and postpone smoking the subsequent ones as long as possible.
- Get rid of your cigarettes by your quit date.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Eat regular meals and avoid sweets and other foods that you associate with smoking.
- Start an exercise program like walking or riding a bike.
- Eat low calorie foods or use sugarless gum to satisfy your oral needs. Or place a toothpick or straw in your mouth.
- Keep your hands busy with other activities – computer, video games, crossword puzzles, knitting, etc.
- Reward yourself by using the money you save on cigarettes and treat yourself to something worthy.
- Take it one day at a time.
- If you fail in your first attempt to quit you are not alone. Consider a smoking support group or formal smoking cessation program. Or, consider one of the medications now available to help quit smoking like nicotine gum/patches, Zyban, or Chantix.
When it comes to smoking it’s OK to be a quitter!