4 tips to quit smoking for good
Today is the Great American Smokeout — an American Cancer Society event that encourages smokers to quit or use the day to make a quit plan.
About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.
We reached out to MultiCare Wellness Dietitian and Health Educator Bev Utt for tips on how to quit smoking for good:
1. Make the decision to quit.
Timing is everything, Utt says. Make sure you’re truly ready to quit, because the real commitment has to come from you, not just your family or friends.
To help you solidify your decision, make a list of the top three benefits you’ll gain from quitting tobacco.
2. Set a quit day and make a quit plan.
Once you’ve decided to quit, set a “quit day” within the next two weeks and put it in your calendar.
Consider these questions as you develop your quit plan:
- Why do I want to quit?
- What do I expect to happen when I quit?
- What triggers me to smoke or chew?
- What can I do when I get the urge to smoke or chew?
- Who is in my support group?
- How will I create an environment to quit smoking?
- What will I do if I smoke after my quit date?
- What is my goodbye message to cigarettes?
3. Plan ahead to deal with withdrawal.
Create a quit kit to keep your hands and mouth occupied. Utt recommends flavored toothpicks, a squeeze/stress ball, handheld games, a cinnamon stick, straws, bottled water or breath mints.
Other things you can do:
- Talk to your doctor about medications to help you quit
- Exercise — it can help reduce the urge to smoke
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Don’t substitute vaping for a quit attempt, Utt says. The health impact of e-cigarettes is not yet clear, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
4. Don’t give up.
If you relapse, review why you committed to quitting. Reward yourself for how far you’ve come, and give it another shot.
Utt says you can improve your odds of quitting for good by staying physically active and eating healthy foods.
Need help creating a quit plan? Visit MultiCare’s Tobacco Cessation Program to get started.
Call a quit counselor for one-on-one immediate support or coaching: