The most effective way to quit smoking is to use medicines and support together. Here are the four main steps to follow:
1. Make a plan:
Having a plan makes it easier to quit. Take time to set goals for yourself. Think ahead about how you’ll handle the challenges of quitting and celebrate the successes. Use this Quit Plan to help make a plan that’s right for you. You can also order a free booklet to help guide you through the process.
Start by letting your doctor or other healthcare provider know you are quitting, and ask for their advice. Ask your doctor about medicines to help you quit smoking. You can also ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter quit-smoking medicines like the nicotine patch.
Don’t forget to contact your insurance plan to find out what types of quit-smoking medicines and counseling are covered.
Pick a date to stop smoking: your quit date. This is the day you will quit smoking completely. A date two to four weeks away from today will work well so you can prepare for quitting smoking.
If you’ve tried to quit before, use your past experience to think about what helped you quit the first time and what you’ll do differently this time.
2. Put your plan in motion:
Set up a support team of family, friends, and co-workers so there’s someone to turn to when you hit a rough day! Choose people in your life you know will be positive and support you in the way you need, whether it’s having them call you to check up on you or spend time with you doing healthy activities.
The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) is here for you, to support you in making a plan to quit.
In-person support groups and one-on-one coaching can double your chances of quitting for good. Call your local doctor’s office or health clinic and ask about support in your area. You can view a statewide list here or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and ask about in-person counseling.
3. Know why you smoke and why you are quitting:
Understanding why you smoke is helpful when you try to quit. People sometimes feel that smoking calms them down or helps with stress. Others feel it gives them a reason to take a break from their busy life. Whatever your reasons for smoking are, take note of them so that you can plan for cravings and find healthy ways to replace cigarettes.
Remembering why you are quitting can help keep you focused. Many people quit for their health, or to be able to do more with their loved ones. Others are tired of how much it costs to smoke. Why will you quit? Write your reasons for quitting down and look back on them often.
Quitting improves your health no matter how long you have smoked. Smoking harms almost every organ in your body and is a known cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and many respiratory illnesses. Smoking causes many diseases that can make you disabled and dependent on other people.
4. Becoming a nonsmoker:
On your quit date, put your plan into action. Focus on getting through just one day – today – without smoking. And learn about what to do if you’re worried about weight gain or if you slip and smoke a cigarette after quitting. Just take it one day at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You CAN quit smoking!