Many ex–smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they ever did. However, millions of people have been able to do it and you can too. An important first step of the quit process is learning why you feel like you need to smoke. When you understand why you smoke, you can prepare yourself to find the best ways to quit.
One of the main reasons smokers keep smoking is nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical in cigarettes that makes you addicted to smoking. Over time your body gets used to having nicotine. However, the more you smoke‚ the more nicotine you need to feel normal. When your body doesn't get nicotine, you may feel uncomfortable and crave cigarettes. This is called withdrawal.
It takes time to get over withdrawal. Most physical symptoms go away after a few days to a week, but cigarette cravings may stick around longer. So don't give up. You can do this. Visit our withdrawal page to get tips on handling symptoms of withdrawal.
When you smoke, it becomes an important part of your life. Certain activities, feelings, and people are linked to your smoking. When you come across these things, they may "trigger" or turn on your urge to smoke. Try to anticipate these smoking triggers and develop ways to deal with them. Here are a few tips:
- Go to places that don't allow smoking. Shops, movie theatres, and many restaurants are now smokefree.
- Spend more time with non-smokers. You won't want to smoke as badly if you are around people who don't smoke.
- Keep your hands busy. Play a game on your phone, eat a healthy snack, or squeeze a stress ball.
- Take a deep breath. Remind yourself of the reasons why you want to stop smoking. Think of people in your life who will be happier and healthier because you decided to quit.
For a more detailed description of triggers and tips on handling them, visit our cravings page.
Consider Using a Quit Smoking Program
Quit smoking programs help smokers spot and cope with problems they have when trying to quit. The programs teach problem-solving and other coping skills. A quit smoking program can help you quit for good by:
- Helping you understand why you smoke
- Teaching you how to handle withdrawal and stress
- Teaching you tips to help resist the urge to smoke
Visit your county or state government's website to see if they offer quit smoking programs in your area. If you want to talk to a quit smoking counselor right away, call 1–800–QUIT–NOW. You can also get on the go quit support through your mobile phone with the SmokefreeTXT text messaging program.