You asked us
I want to quit smoking. What are some tips to ensure I am successful?
Quitting smoking may be tough, but it is the single best thing you can do for your health. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you butt out for good. Follow these tips compiled from the Canadian Cancer Society and London Health Sciences Centre clinicians to take on this challenge one step at a time.
Set a quit date
- It may seem like there is never a perfect day to quit. Pick a day when your schedule is routine. Avoid a date where you know you might experience additional stress.
- Be proud of your quit day! Share it with friends and family.
Ask your health-care practitioner about aids for reducing withdrawal symptoms
- Quitting cold-turkey isn’t always effective. Many smokers need help to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Nicotine-replacement products can help. Talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist about over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches, gums, or lozenges, or about a prescription that can help you.
- Remember that it’s okay to try one approach and then switch to another that works better for you.
You have good reasons to quit. Write them down.
- Are you motivated to quit for your children and/or your partner? Do you want to be healthier? Or maybe you simply want to save money. Write down your reasons for quitting. Put them in your purse, wallet or smartphone so you can see them wherever you are.
List your triggers
- Think of all the situations that make it difficult to resist the urge to smoke. Chances are you won’t be able to hide from all of these situations. Write out a plan of how you will cope with these triggers.
Build your support system
- Who are the people you can count on to support you? Who can you call or text to distract you from the urge to have a morning cigarette?
- Consider joining an online community, which has the benefit of being available 24/7.
- Need extra support or information? Smoker’s Helping is a free, confidential service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society. Contact Smokers' Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or visit their website at smokershelpine.ca.
Relax, breathe deeply, and think positively
- It will be easier to quit smoking if you feel positive about your ability to quit.
- Think of some healthy activities that help you relax. Maybe you enjoy going to the gym, walking, cooking or reading.
- Build your confidence by practicing positive self-talk. For example, “I don’t need a cigarette to have a good time at a party.”