Find a counseling service

Individual, group or telephone counseling can provide you with needed support and help you develop coping skills. Combining counseling and medication is the most effective way to reach success with smoking cessation. Your doctor may refer you to local resources or support groups. To reach the National Cancer Institute's telephone quit line, call 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848). To find your state's quit line, call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

Benefits include:

  • Mutual support among people trying to quit
  • Coping skills to address stressors or other triggers
  • Strategies to deal with changes in mood
  • Shared tips on what behaviors or strategies are most beneficial
  • Education about the benefits of quitting

Tell your family and friends

Tell your family, friends and co-workers that you are going to quit smoking. Let them know how they might best support you. For example, you might consider the following ideas:

  • Tell them what day you will be quitting.
  • Ask them to check in to see how you're doing.
  • Plan activities or outings with them to get your mind off smoking.
  • Ask them to be patient with your changes in mood.
  • Request that they not judge or criticize you if you have a setback.
  • Ask friends who smoke not to smoke around you or offer you a cigarette.

Avoid smoking triggers

Recognize places and situations that make you want to smoke and avoid them.

  • Hang out with people who don't smoke or who also want to quit.
  • Avoid designated smoking areas outside buildings.
  • Keep busy during times when boredom may tempt you to smoke.
  • Create new routines that aren't associated with smoking, such as a new route to work or chewing gum while driving.
  • Get up from the table immediately after eating.
  • Drink water or tea instead of coffee or alcohol.
  • Practice saying, "No thanks, I don't smoke."

Manage your stress

Stress and anxiety can increase your urge to smoke and derail your effort to quit smoking. Consider the following strategies for managing stress:

  • Prioritize your tasks.
  • Take breaks when you need to.
  • Practice relaxation exercises, deep breathing or meditation.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Find a creative outlet such as art, music, crafts or dance.

Celebrate your successes

Made it through the day without a cigarette? Treat yourself to something special. Made it through the week? Count how much you've saved by not buying cigarettes. Use the savings for a special treat or invest the money for the future.

Reward yourself for not smoking by doing something you enjoy every day, such as spending extra time with your children or grandchildren, going to a ball game, taking a walk, soaking in the tub, or watching a movie. All of your small successes can help you reach your goal to quit smoking for good.

April 25, 2017 See more In-depth