It’s no secret that smoking is deadly. In fact, nearly one in five deaths in the United States are linked in some way to tobacco smoke.
Despite the dangers, about 36.5 million Americans still smoke on a regular basis. The American Cancer Society thinks if a person can quit smoking for a day, they can quit for good. In fact, the Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout event challenges smokers to make it through November 16th without lighting up.
It’s not easy, but following these five tips can help.
Tip One: Zero in on the reason you want to quit
Worried about smoking related diseases? Tired of the hole that buying cigarettes leaves in your budget? Want to live to see your daughter’s wedding? Pick the reason that matters most to you, and focus on it whenever you’re tempted to run down to the corner store and buy a pack of cigarettes.
Tip Two: Take stock of your resources
Help is out there in the form of nicotine replacement therapy, prescription drugs, quit hotlines, Nicotine Anonymous meetings and even things like hypnosis. Pick at least two forms of support and put in place a plan to effectively use them.
Tip Three: Have something to stick in your mouth that you can’t light
Before you quit, stock up on things like sugarless gum, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers, straws or even hard candy that can help serve as a substitute every time you get the urge to stick a cigarette between your lips.
Tip Four: Tell your friends you’re quitting
We all get by with a little help from our friends, and that’s never more true than when we’re battling an addiction. Their support is crucial, especially when the going gets tough.
If you have a friend who smokes, make a pledge to quit together. It’s always helpful to have someone who knows what you’re going through, and the mutual support can help you both break the habit.
Tip Five: Practice saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke”
If you’re no longer a smoker, then you need to identify as a non-smoker. Practice saying the words and soon enough they’ll feel natural. If you see yourself as a non-smoker, then you can become a non-smoker. If you see yourself as someone who is just trying to quit, you’ll be much more likely to give in the first time someone offers you a cigarette and a lighter.