Smoking: Steps to Help You Break the Habit II


How should I get ready to stop smoking?
 
Set a stop date 2 to 4 weeks from now so you'll have time to get ready. Write down your personal reasons for stopping. Be specific. Keep your list with you so you can look at it when you feel the urge to smoke.
 
To help you understand your smoking habit, keep a diary of when and why you smoke. Using information from this diary, you and your doctor can make a plan to deal with the things that make you want to smoke.
 
Just before your stop date, get rid of all of your cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays.
 
How can I get support and encouragement?
 
Tell your family and friends what kind of help you need. Their support will make it easier for you to stop smoking. Also, ask your family doctor to help you develop a plan for stopping smoking. He or she can give you information on telephone hotlines, such as 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), or self-help materials that can be very helpful. Your doctor can also recommend a stop-smoking program. These programs are often held at local hospitals or health centers.
 
Give yourself rewards for stopping smoking. For example, with the money you save by not smoking, buy yourself something special.
 
What about stress and my urges to smoke?
 
You may have a habit of using cigarettes to relax during stressful times. Luckily, there are good ways to manage stress without smoking. Relax by taking a hot bath, going for a walk, or breathing slowly and deeply. Think of changes in your daily routine that will help you resist the urge to smoke. For example, if you used to smoke when you drank coffee, drink hot tea instead.
 
What will happen when I stop smoking?
 
How you feel when you stop depends on how much you smoked, how addicted your body is to nicotine and how well you get ready to stop smoking. You may crave a cigarette or feel hungrier than usual. You may feel edgy and have trouble concentrating. You also may cough more at first, and you may have headaches.
 
These things happen because your body is used to nicotine. They are called nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms are strongest during the first few days after you stop smoking, but most go away within a few weeks.

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