What is an effective plan to quit smoking?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

An effective plan to quit smoking starts with the decision to quit. Set a date for when you are going to put down cigarettes for good and stick to that date. Get rid of your packs of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters, and let other people know about your decision so they can support and encourage your efforts.

Change your routine by avoiding the places where you used to smoke, avoid triggers that created the urge to smoke and find new ways to occupy your time. You can fight nicotine withdrawal symptoms with prescription medications, and with nicotine replacement products. No matter what method you use to help you quit smoking, counseling or support groups can boost your chance of success. Celebrate every day you don't light up.

In the 31 days before your quit date, use these tactics to start disrupting your smoking habit. With a little more breathing room, you'll be in a better position to give up for good—when the time comes.

  • Be selective. Cut out smoking in two or three situations that usually prompt you to light up.
  • Scale back. Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke a day to one pack or less.
  • Go cheap. Switch to a cheaper brand of cigarettes—one you don't like as much as your regular brand. 
  • Get rid of your lighters and matches.
  • Misplace your smokes. Carry your cigarettes in a different place than you usually do.
  • Role play. Spend a little time each day imagining yourself not smoking in stressful situations.

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As it relates to handling addiction, I defer to the fantastic group of medical experts that Sharecare brings to your doorstep. I do know that one of the major side effects to quitting is weight gain.

Sharecare has created a network of like minded fitness professionals that can help you manage the quitting process and build a plan for you that will give you long term success and create healthy habits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.