Quit Smoking: 4 Steps for Long-Term Success

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Smoking relapse is very common. In fact, it usually takes 7 attempts for an average smoker to finally quit smoking. What’s more, they could fall back to the habit even after several years of not lighting up with just one trigger.


bigstock-Young-caucasian-woman-quiting--60335198Fortunately, it is possible to quit smoking for as long as possible. Here are four factors that are critical to achieving long-term success:

Making the Decision to Quit

Others may force or encourage you to quit. But the decision should come from no one but you. Unless you are really decided to quit smoking, you may not be as successful with your attempt. To justify your decision to do so, start by listing the reasons why you want to quit. Are you worried that you may get ill? Do you know of someone who has gone ill because of smoking? There are a hundred reasons to stop smoking now, and there’s like no reason to continue doing so.

Setting a Quit Date


Once you have decided to quit smoking, the next thing you need to do is plan. Start by setting a quit date. Don’t rush yourself on this. Don’t set tomorrow as your quit day when you know you aren’t ready yet. Give yourself some allowance – maybe two weeks from now. You might choose a special date, such as your birthday, your wedding anniversary, or your mom’s birthday. And while you wait for your quit date, start thinking about how you are going to do it. Decide if you will seek professional help or some medical intervention. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about your Quit Date. And practice saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke.”

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms


Nicotine withdrawal has two parts: the mental and the physical. The physical symptoms can really be frustrating and annoying, but they aren’t life-threatening. They include headache, upset stomach, nausea, chills, etc. The second part is tormenting too and can affect your quality of life. Mental symptoms include anxiety, stress, and intense cravings. Learning how to manage these symptoms is very important to ensure long-term success. Understand that these symptoms are only temporary. When you are equipped with the knowledge and determination, you can get through this rough spot easily.

Maintenance

Just because you haven’t been smoking for several months now doesn’t mean you can never go back to your old habit. Staying quit is the final, longest, and most important stage of the process. There will be times that you will be tempted to smoke again. Perhaps you have been invited to a party and all your friends are smoking. Or, you could be going through a stressful event and the idea of lighting up suddenly pops in to your mind. In times like these, remember the reasons why you quit smoking before. Use the same methods you did to counter nicotine cravings. Remind yourself that there’s no such thing as ‘one cigarette’. Never give in to your smoking urges.

Long-term success in quitting is highly possible. Always remember these four important factors to help yourself quit and stay quit for good.


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