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Stop smoking: Ready, set, go!

Set yourself up for success with these smart strategies!

Ready to step away from smoking for good? If that’s a big yes, you can do this! And you’ve got company. Nearly 7 out of 10 smokers say they want to quit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But how do you begin? Start with these tested steps that have helped other smokers kick the habit. Combining them may give you the best chance for success.

Step 1: Commit to a quit day

Give yourself time to prepare without putting it off too long. Pick a day in the next few weeks that feels right to you. Maybe that’s on a weekend, when there’s less stress — or on a day that others are going smoke-free. See “Join the Smokeout.”

In the days leading up to your quit day:

  • Write down all the reasons you want to quit — what it means to you personally. For example, maybe that’s feeling better, being healthier and saving money. Keep your list with you or where you’ll see it often.
  • Think about any past attempts — and what you learned from them. What will you do differently this time?
  • Stock up on snacks to keep your mouth busy, such as carrot sticks and sugarless candies.
  • Toss any extra cigarettes, ashtrays, etc. It will be good practice for quit day — when you’ll get rid of the rest.

Step 2: Ask for expert advice

Your doctor can tell you about the most effective methods for quitting. For example, nicotine replacement products — such as gums, patches or lozenges — or other medicines can help ease withdrawal.*

A stop-smoking program might also give you an added edge. Ask your doctor about resources such as:

  • Telephone hotlines
  • Support groups that meet in person or online
  • Quitting apps for your smartphone
  • Self-help booklets

Step 3: Rally your supporters

It’s true — there’s strength in numbers. So tell your loved ones and friends you need their encouragement now more than ever. You might ask them to:

  • Not smoke around you — and not give you cigarettes
  • Join you for fun, smoke-free activities, like going to the movies
  • Be patient as you deal with withdrawal
  • Listen when you feel like talking

Step 4: Be ready for cravings and setbacks

Anticipating what’s ahead may help you cope with rough patches. Have go-to strategies in mind. For example:

  • Take a brisk walk when you’d normally have a smoke break.
  • Stay busy with a new hobby.
  • Practice deep breathingOpens a new window — and wait for the urge to pass.
  • Pull out your reasons for quitting. Remember how much they matter to you.
  • Call a buddy who will understand and talk you through it.
  • Look at any setbacks as bumps along the way — not the end of the road. Remind yourself to adjust and get back on the right path.

Let’s face it: Quitting smoking is challenging. But millions have already taken steps toward a healthier life — so why not you too? 

What to do next?

Is stress a smoking trigger for you? Let a little calm into your life with these stress-busting tactics and tips

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