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Quit Smoking In 8 Simple Steps!

Smoking rates have dropped by almost half over the last 30 years. It was possible for millions to quit. Isn't it time you did too?

You probably didn't think a moment of teenage rebellion would lead to a lifelong smoking habit, but it has. So how does it play out now that you're an adult? Cravings, coughing, huddling outside in the cold to light up—and that's saying nothing of the money.

"Addiction sneaks up on people," says Richard Brunswick, M.D., author of Can't Quit? Bullsh*t! You Can Stop Smoking. "It's not their fault. The tobacco makers know how addicting nicotine in the form of tobacco is."

That's the most compelling
explanation for why 50 million or
more Americans still smoke, despite overwhelming evidence linking the practice to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a laundry list of other killers. No wonder the average smoker sacrifices about 10 years of his or her life in dedication to what they recognize to be a filthy, disgusting habit.

If you're one of the 50 million who is tempting fate for a puff, push aside feelings of shame or defiance and come up with a game plan to quit. If health stats aren't enough incentive to quit, consider the cost: It costs five grand or more a year to smoke two packs a day, assuming you're paying $7 a pack-a price which many would consider a smoking deal.

While quitting on a whim is a noble idea, going in unprepared puts you on the road to relapse. "You may go smoke-free for a few days or a week or two, but then you'll slip up, throw up your hands, and say it's impossible," says Brunswick. "But if you quit with a plan, you're much more likely to be successful." Use the steps below to ease the blow.

1 / Plan To Quit

A little help goes a long way. People with support networks have a higher rate of staying smoke free, so follow the three G's: Get help, get a buddy, and go public. Use resources like 1-800-QUIT-NOW or smokefree.gov. Seek out a buddy who has quit and can help you through a craving. Make it a policy to never bum, buy, or borrow. Tell your friends you're quitting and ask them not to offer you a smoke.

2 / Consider Medication

Meds like Chantix (varenicline) or Zyban (bupropion) can help you quit. Most medications are prescribed for three months and covered by insurance, and they're at least 90 percent safer than continued smoking.

Be sure to know the side effects, and keep them in perspective. "Chantix is associated with suicidal depression and a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular problems, but using it for three months is far safer than smoking for the next 10 years," says Brunswick.

3 / Decide You Mean Business

Stats aren't always enough. Before you stop, make sure you have your reasons for quitting. Ask yourself, "Why now?" You're not going to try to quit; you're going to be an ex-smoker.

Be frank with yourself about your past, identify the future you want, and create a new storyline for yourself. The odds are that you've done harder things in your life: going through a bad breakup, a family member getting sick, or working for a crappy boss. Use them as motivation.

4 / Stay Clear On The Stats

Fear of ballooning weight often hinders quitting. Dismiss the myth and put a few vanity pounds in perspective. "When a person quits, they gain 5-8 pounds on average over the next year, but to be as harmful as smoking, a person would have to gain over 60 pounds," says Brunswick. Quitting also drastically reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction, of which smoking is a leading cause.

5 / Carve Out A Cravings Solution

Know your triggers and reframe your thinking. Instead of considering a cigarette a reward, remember it's a poison. Know what sparks your cravings-whether it's seeing or smelling tobacco smoke, smelling coffee, having a drink, or spending time with particular people.

Avoid pitfalls by thinking up a new rewards system. Instead of a smoking break, get your buzz with a morning workout, or de-stress by taking slow, meditative breaths during a fresh air break.

6 / Shake Up Your Routine

If you typically wake up, brew coffee, have a cig, and head to work, try waking up, hopping in the shower, and taking a travel mug of coffee in your now non-smoking car. If you always buy your smokes at a neighborhood convenience store, change your route home.

Rework oral patterns by distracting your hands and mouth. Carry something small, sip water, or munch on fat-free popcorn. Clear your home, office, and car of all smoking paraphernalia like packs, lighters, and ashtrays. Stock up on sugarless gum, candy, popcorn, and veggie sticks.

7 / Plan For Slipups

It happens. Don't dismiss two successful weeks, six months, or one year as excuses for admitting defeat.

Most people who try and quit make several attempts, so don't confuse relapse for failure. "Making previous attempts is a good predictor for successful quitting in the future, so it's actually on the road to being successful," says Brunswick.

Remember, the worst nicotine withdrawal symptoms-including increased cough, mouth sores, constipation and feelings of breathlessness—generally disappear in four days.

8 / Consider the Alternatives

Heart disease, strokes, cancer, lung disease, and emphysema are caused by getting nicotine via inhaling cigarette smoke. If you've tried and failed to quit four or five times before, consider getting your nicotine fix from a patch, gum, or lozenge. They're at least 90 percent safer than continued smoking.


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About The Author

Stephanie Smith is a New York native who caught the fitness bug while earning a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri. Find out more.

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Biggeritis

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Biggeritis

Gained at least 40 pounds when I quit smoking. Still fighting the aftermath every day in the gym. Stopped for over 4 years now.Tip: Tea works wonders when having a smoke attack. Good luck all.

Article Rated:
Jan 2, 2013 5:34pm | report
 
YasiTheE

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YasiTheE

tea works ay'!

Jan 3, 2013 6:05am | report
liorelr

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liorelr

Quit smoking 2 years ago, and incorporated more sport in my daily routine. Of course I gained some weight, but I ate healthy and it served as a bulking period. I always remind myself that some weight it better than cancer!

Jan 2, 2013 10:49pm | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 190.48 lbs
  • bf: 14.0%
YasiTheE

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YasiTheE

good choice mate!

Jan 3, 2013 6:04am | report
ICanDoAnything

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ICanDoAnything

Good timing on this...my quit day is actually tomorrow...

Jan 3, 2013 5:35am | report
 
YasiTheE

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YasiTheE

good luck mate!! 'mirin ur choice!

Jan 3, 2013 6:04am | report
seanboone

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seanboone

Tried Chantix earlier last year and it messed me up pretty bad - couldn't behave normally. I've tried everything from gum, lozenges, e-cigs, inhalers, patches, etc. Nothing was as good as a cigarette. Still smoking about a pack a day, but the training keeps me constantly desiring to quit. Only thing that has worked for me in the past is my own will to quit... which is difficult to come by. Wish me luck as always.

Jan 3, 2013 9:49am | report
 
dbmkay

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dbmkay

Read the Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr!!! I swear to you it works!!!!! It's $15 at most on Amazon! DO IT!!!!

Jan 4, 2013 1:14pm | report
Survivor3

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Survivor3

It has been almost 3months I gave up smoking. All you need to have is will power to give up with the cancer stick..

Jan 3, 2013 10:48am | report
 
metroidhntr

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metroidhntr

I gave up smoking in august. I tried patches. Chantix (which screwed me up big time). Cutting back. Nothing worked. Then I just quit. It sucked for the first 3 weeks I went through more gum then smokes but it was worth it. You just have to try over and over again till you get it.

Jan 3, 2013 7:24pm | report
 
jeserfen

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jeserfen

most people gain weight because they unknowingly (or knowingly :p) put more food in their mouth than before. keep track people!

make a cup of tea, go for a walk, read, just stay busy. chew toothpicks and vegetables. once you lift the veil of tobacco addiction you will wonder how you ever became such a slave in the first place.

Jan 3, 2013 10:26pm | report
 
rbrunswick

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rbrunswick

I wrote the book mentioned. Willpower alone often isn't the answer. A plan with simple steps to follow that helps you cope with withdrawal, understand your triggers and smoking routines will help get you off "auto-pilot" smoking. Usual weight gain is 6 to 8 pounds--you'd have to gain over 60 pounds to do as much harm as you do by smoking. Talk with your doc about using Zyban, increase your CV exercise by 30-60 minutes, sip water, and watch snacking to minimize weight gain. Lose it 6-12 months after stopping. Richard Brunswick, M.D. (cantquitbullshit.com)

Jan 4, 2013 7:51am | report
 
dbmkay

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dbmkay

If you want to quit all you have to do is read The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr. Get it on Amazon, read the over 1000 5 star reviews. It's how I quit and it'll be how you quit I swear on my mamas grave! JUST GET THE BOOK!

Jan 4, 2013 1:10pm | report
 
KevinFulton

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KevinFulton

Smoking was my stress reliever. I have slowly went from 2 packs and a can of snuff a day to about a half a pack in a month. I still dip from time to time but not like I used to. my biggest motivation was that I now have a son and I don't want him growing up with my habbit. Going to the gym and working out in the morning helps me so much. It's the rest days that tend to be the ones where I crave a smoke.

Jan 19, 2013 6:16am | report
 
NYrikan

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NYrikan

I really need feedback I'm 6ft 235 I've been smoking weed and cigarets, been smoking heavy I'm trying to join the military and I know they take the **** to the lab. I've been wondering how long do it stays in your system if you stop I'm interested in joining your feedback would help 100xs. I've stopped for two weeks already I need help

Jun 27, 2013 6:54pm | report
 
EllenRipley

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EllenRipley

I gain weight when I start smoking and I lose it when I quit...Go figure! Anyways, smoking is a bad habit - good luck to everybody,including myself.

Aug 19, 2013 7:36pm | report
 
Tikiwitch

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Tikiwitch

Just bought a really nice e-cigarette--hey, it's a start!

Sep 2, 2013 7:43pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 16 of 16 Comments

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