40 Ways to Give Up Smoking

If you want to quit, pick and choose from this list of 40 ways that have helped others give up cigarettes (compiled hy the National Cancer Institute):


1. List all the reasons you want to quit. Every night before going to bed, repeat one of the reasons 10 times. Try to avoid negative thoughts about how difficult it might be.

2. Develop strong personal reasons in addition to your health and obligations to others. For example, think of all the time you waste taking cigarette breaks, rushing out to buy a pack, hunting for a light, etc.

3. Set a target date for quitting (i.e., your birthday, anniversary). If you smoke heavily at work, quit during vacation so you're already committed to quitting when you return. Don't let anything change your date.

4. Bet a friend you can quit on your target date. Put your cigarette money aside every day and forfeit it if you smoke. (But if you do smoke, don't give up; strengthen your resolve and try again.) Ask your spouse or a friend to quit with you.

5. Smoke only half of each cigarette.

6. Each day, postpone lighting your first cigarette one hour.

7. Decide you'll smoke only during odd or even hours of the day.

8. Decide beforehand how many cigarettes you'll smoke during the day. For each additional cigarette, give a dollar to charity. 9. Change your eating habits to help you cut down. End meals or snacks with something that won't lead to a cigarette.

10. Don't empty your ashtrays. This will remind you of how many cigarettes you've smoked each day, and the sight and smell of stale butts will be very unpleasant.

11. Make yourself aware of each cigarette by using the opposite hand or putting cigarettes in an unfamiliar location or in a different pocket to break this automatic reach.

12. If you often light up without thinking about it, try to look in a mirror each time you put a match to your cigarette. You may decide you don't need it.

13. Keep very busy on the first day. Go to the movies, exercise, take long walks, go bike riding.

14. Clean your clothes to rid them of the cigarette smell, which can linger a long time.

15. Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Hide your lighters and ashtrays.

16. Visit the dentist and have your teeth cleaned to get rid of tobacco stains. Notice how nice they look. Resolve to keep them that way.

17. Make a list of things you'd like to buy for yourself or someone else. Estimate the cost in terms of packs of cigarettes, and put the money aside to buy these presents.

18. Develop a clean, fresh, nonsmoking environment at work and at home. Buy yourself flowers. You may he surprised how much you can enjoy their scent now.

19. The first few days after you quit, spend as much free time as possible in places where smoking isn't allowed, such as libraries, museums, theaters, department stores, and churches.

20. Drink lots of water.

21. Try to avoid alcohol, coffee, and other beverages you associate with cigarette smoking.

22. Strike up a conversation instead of a match.

23. If you miss the sensation of having a cigarette in your hand, play with something else a pencil, paper clip, or marble.

24. If you miss having something in your mouth, try toothpicks or a fake cigarette.

25. Instead of smoking after meals, get up from the table and brush your teeth or go for a walk.

26. If you always smoke while driving, listen to an interesting radio program or your favorite music or take public transportation for a while, if you can.

27. For the first few weeks, avoid situations you strongly associate with the pleasurable aspects of smoking, such as watching your favorite TV program, sitting in your favorite chair, or having a cocktail before dinner.

28. If you must be in a situation where you'll be tempted to smoke (such as a cocktail party or dinner party), try to associate with nonsmokers.

29. Analyze cigarette ads to understand how they attempt to sell you on individual brands.

30. Change your habits to make smoking difficult or impossible. For example, it's hard to smoke when you're swimming, jogging, or playing tennis or handball. When your desire for a cigarette is intense, wash your hands or the dishes, or try new recipes.

31. Do things that require you to use your hands. Try crossword puzzles, needlework, gardening, or household chores. Go bike riding. Take the dog for a walk. Give yourself a manicure. Write letters.

32. Enjoy having a clean-mouth taste and keep it by brushing your teeth frequently and using mouthwash.

33. Stretch a lot.

34. Get plenty of rest.

35. Pay attention to your appearance. Look and feel sharp.

36. Try to find time for activities that are the most meaningful, satisfying, and important to you.

37. Keep oral substitutes handy. Try carrots, pickles, apples, celery, or sugarless gum instead of a cigarette.

38. Take 10 deep breaths and hold the last one while lighting a match. Exhale slowly and blow out the match. Pretend it's a cigarette and crush it out in an ashtray.

39. Take a shower or bath if possible.

40. 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.