Most smokers want to quit. They know cigarettes threaten their health, set a bad example for their children, annoy nonsmokers, and cost a lot of money. Quitting smoking isn't easy and it isn't fun, but millions have quit. Anyone who is determined to quit, can.

List all the reasons you want to quit. Don't worry about how difficult it might be. SET A TARGET DATE FOR QUITTING. Two weeks before this date switch to a brand you don't like, and keep changing every few days. Don't buy a new pack until you finish the one you're smoking. Stop carrying a lighter. Watch in the mirror as you light each cigarette. Do not empty the ashtrays.

On the day before you quit try to smoke 4 packs, saving all the cigarette butts in water in a quart jar. Tell your friends and family that you are quitting.

On the day you quit throw away all the cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. Make a list of things you want to buy with the money you can save. Keep very busy -- go to a movie, the library, church, take long walks, eat in the non-smoking section of a restaurant. Have the dentist clean your teeth.

The first few days after you quit spend as much time as possible in places where smoking is prohibited. Drink a gallon of water daily. Avoid alcohol and coffee. Keep a pencil, plastic straw, or similar object in your hand. Try sugarless gum or mints. Brush your teeth immediately after each meal. Temporarily avoid situations that trigger your urge to smoke. If you must be in a situation where you'll be tempted to smoke, stick close to the nonsmokers. Change the habits of your lifestyle to make smoking difficult, impossible, and unnecessary. Exercise regularly. Keep your hands busy. Find activities that are difficult to do when smoking. Get plenty of rest. Pay more attention to your appearance. Don't let anyone smoke in your home. TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME.

When you get the "crazies" chew on such things as carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, sugarless gum, etc. Take 10 deep breaths, and hold the last one while lighting a match. Exhale slowly, and blow out the match. Take a shower or bath. Learn to relax quickly and deeply. Make yourself limp, visualize a soothing, pleasing situation, and get away from it all for a moment. Concentrate on that peaceful image and nothing else. Light incense or a candle, instead of a cigarette. Never allow yourself to think that "one won't hurt" -- it will. Periodically, write down new reasons why you are glad you quit. Reward yourself for not smoking.

Most people who quit do not gain weight. Giving up cigarettes is far healthier for you than adding a few extra pounds.

If you try to quit and fail -- KEEP TRYING. Don't feel guilty.

Commit yourself to better health.

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR if you are unable to stop smoking after trying these suggestions.

Click here for information about the Dangers of Tobacco.

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This page was last updated on 23 August 1999.