5 steps to quit smoking
So you've decided to quit smoking. Great! It's one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life.
It's not easy -- but you can do it. You're more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Get ready to stop smoking for good with these five steps -- just remember to take it one step at a time:
1. Set your "Quit Day" and sign the "No-Smoking Contract."
Choose a date within the next seven days when you'll quit smoking -- that's now your "Quit Day." Complete and sign the No-Smoking Contract in front of people who will support you on your path to quitting. Use the time until your Quit Day to prepare and to gradually cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke.
Complete the No-Smoking Contract, which you can find here: www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@fc/documents/downloadable/ucm_304622.pdf
2. Choose your method for quitting.
There are three ways to quit smoking. You can choose one or use them in combination -- whatever you think will work best for you.
• "Cold turkey." Stop smoking all at once on your Quit Day. This method doesn't prolong the quitting process.
• Cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day until you stop smoking completely. For example, if you smoke 20 cigarettes each day, cut down to 10 per day for two to three days. Next, cut it down to five cigarettes for two to three days. Then on your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.
• Smoke only part of each cigarette, reducing the amount until you stop smoking completely. Count how many puffs you normally take from each cigarette, then reduce the number of puffs every two to three days. On your Quit Day, stop smoking completely.
3. Do your research and decide if you'll need medicines to help you quit.
If you decide you need medicine, see a doctor for advice and guidance.
4. Make a plan for your Quit Day.
Get rid of every cigarette, match, lighter, ashtray and butt from your house and car.
Have healthy foods around to eat when you quit smoking, such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and sugar-free chewing gum.
For each day you don't smoke, plan to celebrate your success with one (or more) of these activities: watch a movie; visit friends; take a walk; enjoy a hobby.