What are some tips to help me quit smoking?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The most important thing you can do is understand you can quit -- and that is the most important thing you can do for your and all the people around you's vigor, energy, and well being. Here are my five best tips:
  • Why do YOU want to? What is your greater PURPOSE behind quitting? Don’t just do it because you “should” or you doctor keeps on telling you or your spouse is nagging. Why do YOU want to do it?
  • Check out chapter 6 of YOU: Staying Young for the YOU Docs quit plan, then make an appointment to see your doc. See if your doc likes our treatment choice (walking 30 minutes a day, curbing your cravings with a specific bupropion (Welbutrin/Zyban) and patch regimen, lifting weights, and creating a support group) and ask for the necessary prescription.
  • Out of scent out of mind. Fabreeze and scrub the carcinogens, arsenic, rat poison, and other 4,000 chemicals out of your clothes and favorite smoking places. That smell will no longer be associated with you.
  • Create a support system. Let it be known that you broke up with your identity as a smoker, and would appreciate it if you were not reminded of it. Ask that one friend of yours that is always calling you out when you go back on a promise to help you stay committed.
  • Walk and lift. The most effective natural stress management technique. Exercise releases endorphins (make you happy and feel healthy… smoking will seem counterproductive), keeps boredom away (it’s always an option), will make your progress more noticeable (you’ll see improvement in your endurance), will curb and counter cravings (you’ll be less likely to gain weight!).
Think of the quit process like learning a new skill. It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill (that’s 3.5 years of practicing 8 hours a day). Practice the above mentioned tips rigorously every day to master the addiction. Going without a cigarette for 6 months is a great start. Now here’s the tough part -- don’t get discouraged when you slip up! Remember, learning is striving…failing… and tweaking or making small changes… then trying again. So what will you do differently next time you are faced with a similar situation? And finally, NEVER LOOK BACK. Nine out of ten smokers relapse after allowing themselves “just one cigarette”.

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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.