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How can changing my habits help me quit smoking cigarettes?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Changing your routine in even small ways can definitely help you quit smoking. One of the most common triggers for people to smoke is boredom. When you're looking for something to do, it's easy to reach for a cigarette.

Try to replace that unhealthy habit of smoking with positive, healthy ones. Develop a new hobby, get moving by walking or exercising, or take a class. If you were in the habit of smoking after a meal, change the time you eat and leave the table once the meal is done. Keeping your mind and body busy is one of the best ways to quit smoking.
If by routine you mean behaviors that involve smoking or that you associate with smoking, then changing your routine is essential to quitting.
Switching to juices or water instead of alcohol or coffee, taking a different route to work, or a brisk walk instead of a coffee break are all helpful habits for quitting smoking. Some other helpful habits are:
Alternatives: Use substitutes you can put in your mouth such as sugarless gum or hard candy, raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, or sunflower seeds. Some people chew on a coffee stirrer or a straw.
Avoid Temptation: Stay away from people and places where you are tempted to smoke. Later on you will be able to handle these with more confidence.
Activities: Do something to reduce your stress. Exercise or do hobbies that keep your hands busy, such as needlework or woodworking, which can help distract you from the urge to smoke. Take a hot bath, exercise, or read a book.
Deep breathing: When you were smoking, you breathed deeply as you inhaled the smoke. When the urge strikes now, breathe deeply and picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air. Remind yourself of your reasons for quitting and the benefits you'll gain as an ex-smoker.
Delay: If you feel that you are about to light up, delay. Tell yourself you must wait at least 10 minutes. Often this simple trick will allow you to move beyond the strong urge to smoke.
Reward yourself: What you're doing is not easy, so you deserve a reward. Put the money you would have spent on tobacco in a jar every day and then buy yourself a weekly treat. Buy a magazine or book, go out to eat, develop a new hobby, or take a yoga class. Or save the money for a major purchase. You can also reward yourself in ways that don't cost money: visit a park, go to the library, and check local news listings for museums, community centers, and colleges that have free classes, exhibits, films, and other things to do.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.