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6 Common Questions about Quitting Smoking
What do you need to know about quitting smoking? Here are some things to help you get started.
Common questions about quitting smoking.
The last time I tried to quit smoking, I failed. How do I keep trying if I keep failing?
Most people try a number of times before they quit for good. So it’s important to keep trying. Every quit attempt is a success, no matter how long it lasts. What worked and what didn’t work? There’s a lot to learn from each time you try. Keep in mind that you never fail unless you stop trying.
Should I use the patches or some other quitting aid?
Quitting aids do help people quit. The most common ones are nicotine patches, gum & lozenges. Some people also use medication like Zyban® and Chantix®. And some people still quit cold turkey, without any quitting aids. In any case, it’s a personal choice. Your doctor can help you decide too. For more information about quitting aids click here.
Will cutting down help me to quit?
It could help, as long as you plan to quit totally. Cutting down may be a good way to practice quitting and to feel more confident. If you want to quit for good though, set a quit date and stick to it.
What about electronic cigarettes?
At this time, they are not approved as a quitting aid. But some smokers say that e-cigarettes have helped them quit. More research is needed to show if e-cigarettes are safe and effective.
How will I feel when I quit?
Quitting smoking can feel a little different for each person. But here are some things you may notice:
. A hard time being around smokers
. Good days and bad days
. Withdrawal symptoms, such as being annoyed
. Breathing easier
. Things that challenge your motivation to keep going
. Cravings that are strong at first, but weaker with time
. A growing sense of success
How do I get started?
Congratulations for asking this question! You may want to click through this whole section to get an idea. Here’s a quick look at some of the most important pages to read:
Why Quit Smoking?
Before you try, it’s important to think about why you want to quit smoking.
Here are some points about motivation:
Motivation is what drives you to do something.
For example, feeling tired causes you to go to bed. Hunger can make you cook a meal. Have you ever felt out of breath going up stairs? Wanting to breathe better is an example of motivation to quit smoking.
Motivation can come and go.
Does this sound familiar: “I want to quit, but cigarettes help me deal with stress?” It’s normal to have mixed feelings about quitting. This is why you need to keep reminding yourself why you’re quitting.
Can you do it? Check your motivation.
Can you quit smoking? Yes, you can. Everyone has the ability to quit.
Someone offers you a million dollars to quit smoking. What would you do? Most people would quit and take the money. This shows that quitting is really about motivation, not ability. Your own reason to quit, if strong and specific, can motivate you in the same way.
3 Common Quit Smoking Aids
Here are the most common quitting aids. Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in using them.
1. Nicotine Patches
- What they are: Look like band-aids. Gives an even flow of nicotine through the skin and into the body.
- Where to get them: At the pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription, if they’re covered by your insurance. Or over-the-counter at a drugstore, discount store, or grocery store.
- How to use them: Start wearing the patch on the day you quit smoking. For those who smoke 10 cigarettes or less, start with one of the lower strengths. Check the directions for details. Put on a fresh patch each day. The schedule usually lasts 4-12 weeks.
2. Nicotine Gum
- What it is: Gum that releases nicotine into the body through the lining of the mouth.
- Where to get it: At the pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription, if it’s covered by your insurance. Or over-the-counter at a drugstore, discount store, or grocery store.
- How to use it: Start using the gum on the day you quit smoking. It comes in 2 strengths. If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, start with 4mg. If you smoke 25 cigarettes or less, start with 2mg. Use it on a regular schedule, not just for a craving. Chew a piece until you get a peppery taste. Place it between your gum and cheek until the peppery taste is gone. The schedule usually lasts 4-12 weeks.
- What it is: A prescription drug such as Zyban ® and Chantix®. These medications can help cut withdrawal symptoms. They do not contain nicotine.
- Where to get it: At the pharmacy, with a doctor’s prescription.
- How to use it: Begin taking it 1-2 weeks before your quit day. Take the pills as directed. The schedule can last between 8-16 weeks depending on your doctor’s advice. Zyban® can be used together with the nicotine patches or gum. Chantix® is not made to be used with the other quitting aids.
Very important: If you choose to use a quitting aid, don’t stop there! Your quitting aid may help with the withdrawal symptoms, but it will also take motivation and planning to beat the habit.
5 Steps of Planning To Stop Smoking
To have the best chance at quitting smoking, you need a plan. Here are five steps for how to do it.
Step 1: Decide – cold turkey or quitting aid?
Quitting aids can help with withdrawal symptoms. But not everyone gets them. Here are some common ones:
- Poor concentration
Step 2: Set a quit date
Pick a date within the next two weeks. Plan to quit on that day (or sooner if you like).
Step 3: Think of the times you will want to smoke – your triggers
Triggers are times when you’ll have a strong urge to smoke. Think of the first day. Then look ahead to the first week of quitting. Weekday triggers and weekend triggers can be very different, so be sure to think of both.
Mark in your triggers in the chart below.
Step 4: Come up with ways to deal with your triggers
When you want to smoke, how does the cigarette help? Does it fill time? Cut down stress? Help wake you up? Try to think of other things you can do that will help in the same way. For example, when you feel stressed, what could you do instead of smoking? You could take a time-out, get a drink of water, do some deep breathing.
Click here to download the exercise below and save it to your desktop. For each trigger, fill in two or three things you could instead of smoking. If you don’t have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to download it now for free.
Step 5: Get support
Quitting can be easier with support. What kind of support works for you? Think of the people in your life. Who can support you along the way? Ask them if they’ll help you out. Be specific about what you need.
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