Quitting smoking is hard. It’s a process that may take time. Using nicotine replacement therapy can help. But it can be just as tough to stay smokefree.
There are steps you can take to help you stay smokefree, both now and long term.
Understand Your Triggers
Certain people, places, things, and situations can trigger an urge to smoke, even years after quitting. Triggers are the things that make you want to smoke. They can affect you no matter how long it’s been since you’ve quit. Knowing your triggers can help you be prepared and fight off cravings.
It is difficult to stay smokefree when cravings hit. But the longer you go without smoking, the more these urges will fade. Fighting cravings can be easier if you have a plan. Prepare by making a list of things you can try when you have the urge to smoke. Take a walk, practice deep breathing, or do whatever works for you to get past cravings. Keep your list handy.
The first hours, days, and weeks without cigarettes can be hard. Quitting is a process: take it one day at a time. Keeping a positive outlook can help you get through. There are ways to deal with stress and other strong emotions without cigarettes.
Staying smokefree is a big accomplishment. Treat yourself regularly. Now that you’re not buying cigarettes, you might have extra money to buy yourself something special. But your rewards don’t have to cost anything. Enjoy an outdoor hike now that you can breathe easier. Or invite a friend over for a movie night. If you have already built your quit plan, remind yourself of the rewards you chose. If you haven’t made a quit plan, it’s never too late.
Controlling your triggers and managing cravings can be hard, even after you’ve been smokefree for a while. Getting support from the people around you can help. Talk to the people who supported you when you first quit smoking. Friends and family members can play a big role in helping you stay smokefree. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul and what they can do to help.
Check out other ways to get help staying smokefree for good:
- Try a text message program. Sign up for SmokefreeTXT online or text QUIT to 47848.
- Download a smartphone app. Our free apps help you track cravings and understand your smoking patterns.
- Visit Smokefree on social media. Grow your support network and stay connected.
- Talk to a free expert at a quitline. Call the National Cancer Institute's Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or find your state’s quitline by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
- Chat with a quit smoking counselor. LiveHelp is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Also available in Spanish.