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How to quit smoking — forever

December 13, 2016 | Steve Tischler
woman holding a cigarette

Quitting smoking is hard. So the thought of going smoke-free through the holidays — full of stresses and triggers — may seem even harder. But we’re here to say: You can do this!

Why quit smoking?

You know why it’s important to quit.

But knowing the risks still does not make it easy to give up cigarettes.

Marra Williams, UCI Health certified health education specialist, helps people to quit smoking.

Here are some of her strategies:

Plan to quit

Make a schedule for all the things you will do instead of smoking. Plan now to keep yourself busy.

Imagine your holiday social scene and visualize yourself smoke-free. Be ready to create distractions for yourself if necessary. Sign up to attend a stop smoking class to increase your chance of success.

Stay positive

Stay upbeat about your ability to make a change. You know what you can do and what is harder for you to do. Emphasize the positive.

Even if you’ve tried to quit smoking before, keep your chin up about your effort to quit this time. Tell yourself that this is your last time you’ll have go through this. This can really strengthen your willpower to not smoke.

See yourself as a nonsmoker

Picture yourself succeeding. Choosing whether to smoke or not smoke will still occur until you decide that you don’t smoke anymore and won’t smoke anymore.

Once you become a nonsmoker, then smoking isn’t a choice any longer. Change the way you think about it.

Consider nicotine replacement therapy

Quitting aids such as gum, patches and lozenges can help reduce physical withdrawal symptoms. They have been proven to help people become smoke-free. Eventually you’ll have to stop using them, of course. But if they help you to not smoke, then stick with them for now.

Get support for quitting smoking

Williams stresses that help is available for you to achieve better health. Just know that you can do it, she says.

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