Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control 70% of smokers want to quit, 50% have tried in the last year yet only 6% succeed. Tobacco dependence is a chronic condition and it can take many attempts to quit, but there is good news. The silver lining to this smoky cloud is that when you combine more than one quit-smoking method you increase your chances of becoming an ex-smoker.
Below are 6 ways to help you quit. Everyone is different, so if you have successfully quit smoking we want to hear from you. How did you quit? How long did it take? What are your words of wisdom? Post your tips in the comments section.
1) Talk to Your Doctor:
Now’s the time to address your smoking habit with your health care provider. Set up an appointment with your doctor to find out what your medical options are to quit smoking. There are patches, prescriptions, gum, and tons of other options. Ask about clinical trials and research studies that may be available in your area or go here for info.
2) Talk to Your HR Department:
More and more employers are requiring employees to remain tobacco free at the office. Groups like the LIVESTRONG Foundation, have been awarded CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation from the CEO Roundtable on Cancer because they provide free quit assistance to their employees. Even the Affordable Care Act has provisions requiring employer based health plans to pay for smoking cessation programs. Ask your HR department for more info.
3) Talk to a Counselor:
Every state has a smoking cessation line through 1(800)Quit-NOW. The National Cancer Institute offers help through 1-877-44U-QUIT and there is even a special program to help military and their family members quit called “Quit Tobacco. Make Everyone Proud.“. Some of the quit-lines are 24/7 and some are not, so make sure you have a backup plan if you get an itch for a cigarette at 2am.
4) Talk to Mom and Tweet to Friends:
So you may see a theme here. Talking about your desire to quit smoking actually improves your chances of being successful. Tell your friends, your mom, your dog walker and your coworkers about your desire to quit. Increase your support system and those that will hold you accountable (yes- fear of shame does work) by posting your intentions to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
5) Texts and Apps:
Get helpful stop-smoking text alerts from the National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT . Download the MyQuitCoach app for your smart phone. Join an online community like BecomeAnEx.org and relearn how to get through the day without a smoke. You can even kill zombies to kill your cravings with a free app from the American Cancer Society.
6) Keep It Up:
Nicotine is incredibly addictive. Your whole life may revolve around your next smoke break, so cut yourself some slack if you stumble on your quitting journey. Many people started their smoke-free efforts on January 1st, have already slipped up and resolved to try again…in another 364 days. Anytime is a good time to quit. To quote the great late football coach, Jimmy Valvano, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Call a quit-line or your mom, go online and talk to others in the same boat as you then hop on your iPhone and kill some zombies. When you are done, reflect on the fact that you just went another thirty minutes without smoking. Then breathe deeply and know you can do it if you just keep up the fight against tobacco.