How to Quit Smoking

  1. Get a “quitting” buddy. When you have the urge to use tobacco, call that person to talk.
  2. Buy ONLY 1 pack at a time. Break off all the filters so some tobacco spills out.
  3. If you are going to buy cigarettes, buy only brands you dislike.
  4. Make it inconvenient to smoke. Place your cigarettes somewhere that is difficult to get to and place your lighter somewhere far away from them.
  5. Smoke only outside, ALONE, with no coat or umbrella.
  6. Don’t allow yourself to smoke in your home, garage, car or at work.
  7. Never smoke with antismoking medications.
  8. Everyday you don’t smoke, place the money you would have spent in a jar. Use that money to buy something you would really like.

Commit to Quit

Make a Promise: First you need to be ready to quit smoking. You have to decide that quitting is what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.

Make a Quit Plan: Set a Quit Date. It takes 31 days to prepare for a change. List your reasons for smoking.  Then write down 3 reasons why you want to quit and any benefits of quitting. (what do you hate about smoking?)

Write down the things that helped you during past attempts at quitting and the things that contributed to your relapse. Relapse is most common during the first few months after quitting. After three months, people have a much better chance of staying tobacco-free for the rest of their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Get Support: Ask family, friends, and coworkers for their encouragement and that they not smoke in your presence. Join a Support group.

Use Medications: Evidence based research shows that patients who use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or another medication are more likely to succeed than those who attempt to quit without medication. 

NRT can help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms and are available over-the-counter although the nasal spray and inhaler do require a prescription. DO NOT smoke while using nicotine replacement products. But NRT does not work for everyone so consider other options.

Patients who take prescription durgs Bupropion (Zyban) or Varenicline or (Chantix) must take their medication for a specific period of time before they give up their cigarettes. Zyban continues the same active ingredient as the antidepressant Wellbutrin and should start take the tablets 1 to 2 weeks before they stop smoking.

In studies, a 12 week course of Chantix was 2 1/2 times more effective at helping smokers quit than a placebo and slightly more effective than Zyban.

Stop Cold Turkey: Throw out your cigarettes and don’t smoke at all starting on your quit date. Tapering off tobacco generally does not work for most smokers, according to former tobacco users.

Avoid Triggers: Change your routine to help avoid places and things that will give you an urge to smoke. Frequent public places where smoking is not allowed. Most experts recommend avoiding or decreasing alcohol and caffeine consumption, especially for smokers who associate these habits with smoking. When tempted to smoke , delay the urge by breathing deeply or taking a drink of water. Most urges only last 3 to 5 minutes.

Start a Healthy Habit: Walking! A study in the March 2007 issue of the journal Addiction found that as few as five minutes of daily exercise can help smokers quit. Moderate physical activity like walking greatly reduced the intensity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Other Resources to Quit Smoking

  1. See a doctor for nicotine replacement therapy. There is evidence that a  combination of nicotine replacement therapies (a patch plus either nasal spray or gum) increases long-term quitting rates vs. a single type of nicotine replacement therapy. Those who smoke within the first 30 minutes after waking in the morning should use another nicotine replacement therapy for a short period in addition to the patch.
  2. La Plata County: For help quitting tobacco, contact Caleb at San Juan Basin Health Department (970) 759-2242 or visit their web site:
  3. You can also get free coaching and nicotine patches by calling the Colorado Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  4. National telephone help lines: 800QUITNOW (National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines) or 877-44U-QUIT (National Cancer Institute)
  5.  The American Cancer Society has other tips in its brochure: “Quitting Smoking – Help for Cravings and Tough Situations”, available on their website at:
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