Don’t Smoke or Quit If You Do: 5 Steps to Success

If you don’t smoke, vape, or use tobacco, keep it that way.

“The majority of smokers regret ever starting to smoke,” according to a recent study.1

If you do smoke cigarettes, use tobacco, or vape, NOW is always the best time to quit.

Why? Smoking, vaping, and tobacco use contribute to:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immune system damage
  • Arthritis

An estimated 443,000 Americans die each year from health problems linked to tobacco use. Even though tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States.2

So if you’re ready to quit tobacco use and vaping, how do you kick the habit? Here are 5 steps to success:3

1. Set a quit date

An estimated 71 percent of tobacco users regret starting. Most try to quit at some point, but often relapse. If you’re serious about quitting, set a date to quit and create a plan to be successful.

Set a quit date. Put it on your calendar. Let your family and friends know your plan. Get clear about why you really want to quit. And when you’re ready, get rid of all your cigarettes, tobacco, and vaping supplies in your home, office, and car.

2. Pick a plan to help you quit

There’s more than one way to quit smoking, vaping, and using tobacco. Some people even use multiple methods to quit and never go back. The most common options include:

  • Quit cold-turkey: You set a date to quit, and that’s it. No going back.
  • Cut back a little at a time. Instead of quitting cold-turkey, you gradually cut back on smoking and vaping a little every day. It’s one way to gradually reduce cravings, until you’re no longer addicted to the nicotine in tobacco and vaping.
  • Use medications. Over-the-counter and prescription medications, patches, and supplements can help you quit smoking. Talk with your doctor to help you decide if you need medications to quit for good.
  • Behavior-change therapy. Working with a counselor or therapist can help you quit smoking. There’s also a growing number of mobile apps designed to help you quit smoking, with daily reminders, exercises, and tracking tools.

3. Practice distraction to curb nicotine cravings

Once you quit, you’re going to experience cravings. At first, those cravings to smoke, vape, or use tobacco might be pretty intense. And you need to be prepared for that so you don’t relapse.

Keeping yourself busy, distracting yourself, and being around people who want to help you quit is a good plan of action. Here are some things you can do:

  • Go to a movie
  • Work out or go to the gym
  • Visit non-smoking friends
  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea
  • Try a new hobby that keeps your hands busy, like painting, playing an instrument, knitting, or building something.
  • Work in the yard or garden.

4. Eat healthy snacks to control hunger

Nicotine stimulates a part of the brain that suppresses appetite. So when you quit smoking cigarettes, vaping, and using tobacco, chances are pretty good you’re going to feel hungrier.

And you need to be prepared for that. When you get a craving while you’re trying to get, avoid or limit junk food, and eat healthy snacks to curb your appetite like:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn (go easy on the butter and salt)
  • Sugar-free candy, mints or chewing gum

5. If you relapse, don’t give up

Research suggests it takes the average tobacco user an estimated 8 to 11 attempts to quit for good.4 If you relapse, don’t give up. Get back on track and keep working breaking the habit.

You’ll be healthier, feel better, and live longer.

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