Giving up any habit isn’t easy. Here are some ideas, adapted from the National Cancer Institute and other sources, on how to keep from lighting up.
Once you’ve quit:
- Put it in writing. Why did you want to quit? Write the reasons in a list, and refer to it frequently. You may even want to tape the list to your bathroom mirror and repeat it to yourself every morning.
- Buy flowers. They smell nicer than smoke.
- Go to the dentist and get your teeth cleaned. Use mouthwash. Brush your teeth after each meal. Get to the point where anything other than a fresh, smokeless taste is unappealing.
- If you’re used to having a smoke with your coffee or cocktail, avoid those drinks for now. More healthful alternatives: Fruit juices and water.
- Keep your money. Take the cash you normally would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself something nice.
- Keep your fingers busy. Find something other than a cigarette to fiddle with, such as a ball-point pen. Try doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. Needlework is an artistically satisfying alternative.
- Chew on something. Smoking is orally gratifying. Chew on a plastic straw instead. Toothpicks work, too.
- Go where smoking isn’t permitted. There are lots of places, such as public libraries, museums, many stores, malls, certain restaurants and houses of worship.
- Socialize with the non-smokers. If you’re at a party, palling around with the cigarette crowd will only lead you into temptation.
When the urge is overpowering:
- Bite into a healthful, crunchy treat. Celery stalks, apple slices and carrot sticks will take the bite out of the craving.
- Hit the showers. Taking a shower or bath will relax you.
- Use some basic relaxation exercises. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Try to relax your muscles as you concentrate on a peaceful image, such as sunset at the beach or rocking your child or grandchild to sleep.
- Whatever you do, don’t give in. You’ll be tempted to “just have one.” The reality is that it could become the first one of many more.