Be Prepared for Triggers
If you are one of the thousands of Canadians who will try to quit smoking (or any type of tobacco) this year, having realistic expectations is important.
Most tobacco users will go through withdrawal symptoms and fight powerful urges to light up. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about nicotine replacement products that can reduce your cravings. And don’t underestimate the importance of support from family and friends to help keep you on track.
Most relapses occur in the first three months after quitting and are usually caused by triggers, such as a particularly stressful event. It’s hard to prepare yourself for these situations, but you can get through them smoke free. Remind yourself why you decided to quit smoking, practice relaxation techniques, and ask for support from family and friends.
The following tips are written about breaking a smoking addiction but they can easily be applied for smokeless tobacco users as well.
Some other Helpful Tips:
- Change your habits. Have your morning cup of coffee at the office instead of at home, take a walk after dinner. Physical activity will help curb your cravings.
- Do things that require using your hands - crossword puzzles, needlework or gardening.
- Avoid smoking temptations. Until you are confident of your ability to resist temptation, limit yourself to social situations where smoking isn’t allowed.
- When you do have a nicotine craving, practice some relaxation activities, or at home take a shower or a bath - anything that makes it impossible for you to light a cigarette.
- Brush your teeth and floss. The fresh clean feeling and taste will help to remind you of the benefits of being smoke free.
- When all else fails, have low sugar, low fat oral substitutes handy. Try carrot and celery sticks, sugarless gum and candies, and toothpicks instead of cigarettes.
For more information on quitting smoking call Smokers' Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.
Tips From a Successful Quitter
Preparing to Quit
- Try to determine what situations trigger your urge to smoke by writing down when and where you are every time you have a craving. Review your notes as a way to help you determine what activities or circumstances to be cautious of (or totally avoid) during your quit attempt.
- Plan ahead for new ways to behave when the inevitable urge for a cigarette strikes. For example, have healthy snacks on hand or plan to go for a brisk walk or do stretching exercises to ride out the craving.
- Write down reasons you want to quit smoking and post the list in every room of your home and/or on your computer monitor at work.
- Get rid of all the lighters and ashtrays from your usual smoking areas and make these areas as “uncomfortable” as possible. For example, move all the magazines away from your favourite smoking chair and perhaps even move the chair away from the television!
Week 1 Tips
- Take each day hour by hour. Think of each smoke-free hour as an accomplishment, otherwise, looking too far ahead and dwelling on never smoking again may seem impossible. Break your thoughts down into small increments so you have numerous successes as the hours go by.
- Trick your subconscious by substituting a cigarette with another item to keep your hands and mouth busy. Try sucking on the end of a pen, straw, toothpick or even knitting needle!
Week 2 Tips
- Continue to find cigarette substitutes to try out when cravings strike. Try bottled water, sugarless candies and gum.
Week 3 Tips
- When you see someone else smoking congratulate yourself for not doing the same.
- Imagine not being able to do the things you like to do such as travel or sports or running and playing with your children. If you have children, remember you are a strong role model and picture them imitating your behaviour.
Week 4 Tips
- To keep going, visualize yourself as a non-smoker. Imagine what you would look like without a cigarette in your hand and the freedom you feel of knowing you don’t have to smoke anymore.
For more information or help you quit smoking call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or Health Connection and speak one to one with a public health nurse at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Benefits of Quitting
Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Other Products and Services to Help You Quit
Smoking and Oral Health
Tips to Stay Smoke Free at Work
Eat Well and Keep Weight Off When You Quit