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Want to quit smoking? We will help you!

You may have tried quitting before and were not successful. Try not to think of this as failure, but as practice. To get started down a successful quitting path, the first important step is to build a Quit Plan. A quit plan combines quit smoking strategies to keep you focused, confident, and motivated to quit. It also helps identify challenges you are almost certain to face during the quitting process, and some ways to overcome these challenges. A quit plan (see below) will help to increase your chance of succeeding, and it includes steps to follow as you proceed in the process of quitting. Record and keep track of your plan so you can refer to it as you need.

DEVELOPING A QUIT PLAN



Set a quit date. Sooner is better, so choose a date when you will quit smoking (no more than four weeks in the future). Think carefully about the quit date. Don’t choose a day when you expect to be busy, particularly stressed out, or tempted to smoke (for example being with friends who smoke). Enter that date in your online Smoking Cessation calendar.

Mark your quit date on the calendar that you ordinarily check for your current schedule, so you will see it every day. This helps remind you and keeps you focused on when you plan to quit.

From now on, as you approach and move on past your quit date, keep track of how many cigarettes you smoke each day, and record that number next to that day in the Smoking Cessation calendar. Watch for a trend in the number you smoke each day. Pay attention to your reaction to each cigarette you smoke. Some may be enjoyable, but others may be “ho-hum” or just smoked out of habit (perhaps by drinking coffee). Eliminate the ho-hums and do something else at those times in coming days.

Let loved ones know you plan to quit. Surveys of ex-smokers have shown that support from family and friends is one of the keys to success at quitting. Seek out positive, encouraging people. Enlist their support by telling them that you plan to quit, and telling them how they can help you. Plan to tell them about your success at quitting as you reach milestones along the way (end of the first day, first week, second week, first month, and so on). Enter these milestones in your Smoking Cessation calendar to help remind you as you reach them.

Support from family and friends is important, but there are additional resources you can call on. Although it can be hard to ask for help, there is online and telephone support available. For example, we encourage you to join our PAD online community through the Mypadmgt website, so you can exchange anonymous messages about your experiences with others in the group who are also trying to quit. Also, the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers Helpline is a free confidential service that provides support, advice and information about tobacco use and smoking cessation. Their Helpline can be contacted in three ways: phone support and text messaging at 1-877-513-5333, and their online program at SmokersHelpline.ca.

Get rid of anything to do with smoking, such as cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, and lighters. Do not save a pack of cigarettes just in case you might need them. Make things clean and fresh at work, in your car, and at home, so you will not smell cigarettes that may cause a craving to smoke.

Identify your reasons to quit smoking and keep a list of these reasons in your Smoking Cessation function’s memo pad. The topmost reason if you have symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is that smoking is known to be the highest contributor to the risk of your PAD symptoms getting worse, resulting in potentially severe problems with your health. Other reasons are saving money, making life more pleasant for your family and friends while they are with you, keeping your family safe, setting a good example for your children, and so on. Keep your list where you can see it every day. Continue to add to your list. This will help motivate you to stay smoke free. You can also make a list of reasons why you should not quit. It will probably be much shorter. Think back to why you started smoking in the first place. You choked, coughed, tears ran down your face. It took perseverance to become a smoker. Now you can use that perseverance to quit smoking.

Identify your smoking triggers. As a smoker, you will have developed habits that trigger a need to smoke when certain things happen. For example, when you feel stressed or lonely, or when you have a cup of coffee or after you finish lunch you might tend to light a cigarette. Record each of these triggers on the memo pad in the Smoking Cessation function along with a way that helps you to deal with them. For example, chew a stick of gum when you feel the urge to smoke, or take a break to get physical exercise (which also improves your health) by walking for 15 minutes, or climbing a flight of stairs. Or you can read a book, consult interesting material online, or check your personal e-mail or text messages.  

Develop coping strategies. When you quit smoking your body goes through withdrawal as it adjusts to not having nicotine in its system. Develop strategies to help you cope with withdrawal so you can defeat smoking by quitting permanently. Practice thinking of yourself as a non-smoker. You will feel proud of yourself, and this will extend to other areas of your life (If you can do this, you can accomplish …). Although many smokers quit without the aid of medications, there are some quit smoking medications available over the counter that can help cope with cigarette craving. Research has shown that smoking quitters who adopt nicotine replacement therapy like patches, gums, lozenges or sprays are more likely to succeed at quitting than those who do not.


Next Steps

When you quit smoking, the first few weeks are the most difficult. Plan on using multiple quit smoking options, and keep them handy. To overcome cigarette cravings, talk to family members or good friends, or contact one of the support groups mentioned above. Keep a package of gum with you, and take advantage of quit smoking medications when necessary.

Plan your milestones ahead of time. Set up and record rewards for the quit milestones that you have recorded in your Smoking Cessation calendar. Keep track of how much money you are saving by not smoking. Reward yourself as you reach each quit smoking milestone. Have some fun! For example, go out for dinner or a movie, go to a football or hockey game, or to a museum that you’ve always wanted to see. And so on. Remind yourself that money saved by not smoking is now rewarding you with pleasurable events!

Congratulations! You are now on your way to a healthier and happier life!

Adapted from http://smokefree.gov/quit-plan (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute/USA.Gov)