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Stop Smoking Tips

Kicking the Habit:  A Guide to Smoking Cessation
Motivating patients to quit smoking is one of the greatest challenges in health care.  A healthy lifestyle includes NOT smoking cigarettes.

Smoking cessation is not easy.  Statistically, 70-90 percent of all smokers wish to quit and are well aware of the consequences of smoking.  Nicotine is a drug that causes physical dependence.  It has been shown that changes occur in the brain chemical receptors that make you need and crave nicotine. Think of how many years it has taken to develop these chemical receptors to nicotine.  You cannot expect yourself to be able to quit magically without it being uncomfortable.

Be easy on yourself!  It's not all your fault that you haven't quit yet.  Much of the data regarding the addiction of nicotine has been withheld or minimized by tobacco companies.  Before you begin a smoking cessation program:

  • Admit that you enjoy smoking
  • Admit that you can't give up smoking easily
  • Admit not quitting earlier is not totally your fault
  • Admit you need help
  • Admit you need a plan

The following information will help you develop a quitting plan.  Talk to your physician if you have further questions.  GOOD LUCK.  YOU CAN DO IT!  Smoking cessation is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family's health.

Good Preparation
The following exercises are designed to raise your consciousness about your smoking habit.  If you can, try some or all of them before you establish your quit date.

1.  Start a Butt Bottle
During the week before your quit date, collect all of your cigarette butts in one large glass container as a visual reminder of the filth that smoking represents.  Keep one jar on your desk at work and another collection jar at home.  Take a sniff once in a while.  After a few days, the "butt bottles" start to disgust event he hard core smoker.

2.  Empty Your Ashtrays Once a Day
Allow the number of butts to build up in your ashtray during the day to make you more conscious of the number of cigarettes you are smoking.

3.  Think About Why You Like Smoking
Do you smoke because you like the stimulation it gives you, for pleasurable relaxation, because you feel the need to have something in yours hands, to reduce tension, because of habit or because of physical addiction?

4.  Keep track of Every Cigarette You Smoke
Wrap a sheet of notepaper around your pack of cigarettes.  Each time you light up a cigarette, mark the paper with the same time and the reason why you wanted to smoke.  When you quit, you'll have to find something else to do in place of every cigarette you now smoke.  You may notice that certain times of day will be more difficult for you.

5.  Make It Harder on Yourself to Smoke

  • Buy cigarettes one pack at a time.  Wait until the pack is empty before buying another.
  • Switch brands frequently.  Try one lower in tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine.  The week before you quit, switch to a brand you don't particularly enjoy.
  • Keep your cigarettes in an inconvenient or unfamiliar place to break that automatic "reach".
  • Don't carry matches or a lighter.  You'll have to ask others for a light and this in itself can help you cut down.
  • Smoke less of each cigarette.  Mark them at the halfway point and put them out before you reach it.
  • Start smoking later and quit smoking earlier each day.
  • When the urge to smoke hits, wait five or ten minutes before lighting up.
  • Limit the number of places you will allow yourself to smoke.  For example, make it "off limits" to smoke in the car, while watching television, at the dinner table, etc.  Sit in the non-smoking section when you go out to eat.

6.  Make a List of all the Reasons Why You Want to Quit
Post a few on the bathroom mirror, by the coffee pot, on your car dashboard, etc.  Every night before going to bed, repeat one of the reasons 10 times.

7.  Think Positively About Your Decision to Quit Smoking
There are two attitudes you can take about quitting.  One is that quitting is an exercise in self-denial.  Losing cigarettes is like losing a best friend. There is a negative and self-defeating way of thinking that can make it more difficult for you to achieve your goal.  The second attitude is that quitting is an exercise in self-mastery, an opportunity to grow and develop more positive, constructive behaviors.  You need to view quitting as a positive achievement, a return to the freedom of not being addicted to something which can cause disease, disability and death.

8.  Set a Target Date for Quitting
Select a time that will be less stressful than usual for you, possibly a weekend or during a vacation when you can devote your full attention to your own needs.  Make the date sacred and don't let anything change it.

9.  Identify the Triggers that Urge You to Smoke
Think about your smoking patterns. Throughout the day, there are events or situations that will urge you to reach for a cigarette (smoking triggers).  Here are common triggers:

  1. After a meal
  2. At a party or social engagement
  3. Driving in your car
  4. Talking on the phone
  5. Watching television
  6. Drinking coffee

Quitting Day Check List

1.  Get rid of all smoking materials:
    a. Destroy cigarettes by wetting them down or breaking them in half.
     b. Discard or give away all matches, lighters, cigarette cases and containers
     c. Clean and remove all ashtrays from your home, work and car

2.  Vary your daily routine by:
    a. Change the order in which you do things, especially the morning
     b. Don't sit in your favorite easy chair
     c. Eat lunch in a new restaurant
     d. Talk on the phone in a different room or hold the phone in the opposite 
     e. Spend more time in parts of your home or office that aren't associated
         with smoking
     f.  Avoid people who smoke, if possible
     g. Listen to a different radio station, rent some new videos rather than 
         watching your usual TV programs
     h. If you associate smoking with driving, try taking the bus awhile

3.  After meals, instead of smoking try:
    a. Getting up from the table immediately after eating and washing your
         hands or doing the dishes
     b. Brushing your teeth
     c. Going for a walk
     d. Using mouthwash

4.  Make sure you get enough sleep every night.

5.  Shower or bathe in the morning and evening.

6.  Begin an exercise program.  Exercise a minimum of ten minutes a day:
     a. Walk, jog or run
     b. Do calisthenics or aerobic dance
     c. Swim
     d. Ride a stationary bike or use a rowing machine

Think positively!  Keep your head filled with the personal thoughts that make a smoke-free life so good!  Your health will be improved.  Your family's health may also be improved.  You're going to save money.  Your personal growth will be enhanced, because you will no longer be hooked on cigarettes.
Click here for information on Smoking Cessation Classes offered at Baptist Health Corbin.