Smoking is a primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quit now. Check with your doctor, health plan, a local hospital or clinic to find a program to help you quit. Or check out resources on the Internet for guidance and support. In general, smokers increase their ability to quit for good if they follow these steps:
Step 1. Get ready to quit. • Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. •Throw away all of your cigarettes and ashtrays. •Write down your reasons for quitting and keep your list where visible. • Think about what did and did not work when you tried to quit before.
Step 2. Round up support. • Ask your family, friends and coworkers for support, and ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out. •Tell your doctor about your decision and ask for help. • Get counseling. Studies show that the more counseling, the better the success when trying to quit.
Step 3: Learn new skills and behaviors. • Break the pattern. Over the first few weeks after you quit, change your normal routines. • If you feel the urge to light up, distract yourself by taking a walk, playing cards or doing something with your hands. •Reduce stress. Relax in a hot bath. Take a nap. Read a book. • Drink plenty of water.
Step 4: Check out medicines to help you quit. Talk with your health care provider about whether you should try medicines designed to help smokers quit and handle cravings. (It is important to check with your doctor because not all products are safe for everyone.) Among the products are: • Gum, hard candies, patches and other products containing a small amount of nicotine •Products with nicotine, such as nicotine inhalers and nasal sprays •Medications that do not contain nicotine but work to reduce cravings for it
Step 5: Avoid tempting situations. •Steer clear of places where others are smoking. •Avoid beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks. •Do not worry if you gain weight. Eat a healthy diet, stay active, and keeping your focus on quitting smoking. •If you feel down or depressed, do something good for YOU. Take time to treat yourself. Many people succumb to temptation and have a cigarette during the first months after quitting. Do not be too hard on yourself if you slip. Keep your eye on the goal to quit and start back at Step 1.