Quitting smoking may be one of the most difficult things you ever do. Most people make several attempts before they finally succeed. So don’t give up on yourself. A new approach or a little extra help may be all you need to quit smoking for good.
First, talk with your doctor about quitting. Ask if medicine or nicotine replacement therapy is right for you. Then try one or more of these strategies to boost your chances of success.
Exercise. In one study, a single session of exercise reduced the desire to light up in smokers. Imaging scans showed that areas of the brain that are normally activated when a smoker looks at a picture of a cigarette were quiet and calm following exercise.
Get a new hobby. Changing your routine and developing new interests can help you stop smoking for the long term. Whether you take up crossword puzzles, learn a new craft, or start taking walks after dinner, new activities and routines can take your focus off the urge to smoke.
Guard against sneaky rationalizations. Thoughts like, “I’m having a rough day, so I’ll have just one cigarette,” or, “This is too hard and I’ll never stick with it,” can tempt you to give in to cravings. Watch out for these thoughts, and write them down. When one of these thoughts appears, recognize it and let it go.
Phone it in. Telephone counseling doubles the success rate of quitting. Talk with a trained smoking cessation counselor through the government’s quitline, 800-QUIT-NOW, and the American Lung Association’s Lung Helpline, 800-LUNGUSA. Receiving text messages can also improve your chance of success. The National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT program (www.smokefree.gov) can send you regular tips and advice on quitting and staying smoke-free.
Go online. Try these Web-based smoking-cessation resources:
- The American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking program
- The American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking
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