You don’t take on any other big projects without a plan, and quitting smoking is no different! Here are the pieces you want to have in place before you quit.
Identify your triggers
You’ll be more likely to succeed if you stay away from triggers, or the things that make you want to smoke. It won’t be this way forever. But for now, here are some common triggers that you may want to avoid or modify:
- Alcohol. Some people choose to stay away from alcohol when they are in the early stages of quitting smoking, because they connect drinking with smoking. Alcohol also makes you feel less inhibited, which can make it harder for you to stick to your plan of staying smoke-free.
- Coffee. Many people associate coffee with smoking. If that sounds like you, then breaking that connection is crucial. Try drinking your coffee in a different room, or do something else that keeps your hands busy, such as texting a friend, visiting the QuitNet feed, or doing a crossword puzzle. You may even want to switch up your morning drink completely, because caffeine may make you jittery when you quit. Some ex-smokers switch to tea or simply drink water instead.
- Other people who are smoking. Seeing other people light up can be a real challenge if you’re trying not to smoke. Of course, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid all the smokers in your life. In these cases, you’ll need to have a plan for what to do if you’re hit with a craving.
You may have some other triggers that aren’t listed here – most smokers do. Give some thought to what they are and how you’ll avoid them. It’s time well spent, because it can help you successfully quit.
Get your home and car ready
It’s time to make your home look like a nonsmoker lives there – because one will be! Get rid of all cigarettes, matches, and lighters. Clean out ashtrays and put them away. Some people like to clean or tidy up their house in preparation for their quit date.
Do a sweep of your car, and check every spot for cigarettes, matches, and lighters. Clean out the ashtray. Some people like to get their car interior cleaned, so it looks and smells clean.
Have snacks ready
Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks, which will keep your hands and mouth busy when you feel like smoking. Fruit and veggies are good, especially ones that you have to peel or slice first, like carrots, celery, oranges, apples, melons, mangoes, and bananas. Sunflower seeds and nuts also make good snacks, but they can be high in fat, so pay attention to how many you eat. Sugar-free gum, candy, and lollipops are also good to have on hand, along with toothpicks.
Have medications ready
Are you using medications to help you quit smoking? Make sure you have everything you need, and that you know exactly how to take it. Taking it as directed will go a long way to helping you quit! If you aren’t sure what to do, go to Quitting Medications. Each medication has a Q&A about how to take it.
Know how to handle cravings
When you have a craving, remember the 5 Ds:
- DELAY: The urge to smoke should pass in a few minutes.
- DISTRACT: Keep your mind off the craving. Go for a walk, listen to music, or text a friend.
- DRINK WATER: It helps distract you and gives you something to do with your hands and mouth.
- DEEP BREATHE: This can help you relax and stay calm. Try 3 slow deep breaths.
- DISCUSS: Talk about how you’re feeling with a friend or other person who supports you, or visit the feed. You can give your post a “Craving” tag, which lets everyone know that you want to smoke and need support right away!
Medical review: Nathan Cobb, MD, November 15, 2017