According to the US Surgeon General, quitting smoking is the “single most important step smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”
Breaking the addiction to nicotine is difficult and it usually takes several attempts before smokers are able to quit for good. However, the American Cancer Society (2014) recommends addressing the following four factors for long-term success:
Make the decision to quit – think about why you want to quit and explore your own motivation and commitment to doing so
Set a Quit Date and make a plan – decide when you would like to quit and how you want to do it
Deal with withdrawal symptoms – address both the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing via smoking cessation, nicotine replacement therapy, medication, or other methods
Stay tobacco-free (maintenance) – determine how you will cope with strong cravings and slips or relapse
There is no one right way to quit smoking. Once a smoker or tobacco user has made the decision to quit and set a quit date, most approach the task in one of two ways:
Cold Turkey – quit smoking abruptly and completely on the quit date with no medication or nicotine replacement therapy (most preferred method)
Gradual Reduction – cut back little-by-little as the quit date approaches to reduce the dependency on nicotine (e.g., smoke one less cigarette each day, smoke only half of each cigarette, postpone lighting your cigarette for an extra hour each day)
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) – products that help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms experienced when quitting by providing a dose of nicotine (i.e., nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, inhalers, and lozenges)
“Quit Kits” are FREE and available to USD students in the SHC or CHWP. These kits include nicotine gum and/or lozenges as well as items to keep your hands and mouth busy.
Your Smoking Cessation counselor or doctor at the SHC can help you determine the most appropriate NRT for you.
Prescription Medications – medication that reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal by acting on chemicals and/or nicotine receptors in the brain (i.e., Bupropion/Zyban or Chantix)
A doctor at the SHC may prescribe medication to help you quit smoking if needed.
Avoid situations, people, and places that may tempt you to smoke.
Spend more time in smoke-free areas and keep cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays out of sight.
Ask friends and family members that smoke NOT to smoke around you.
Change Your Habits
Instead of smoking, find new habits and activities in which to engage (e.g., running, cooking, painting, surfing, etc.). Drink more water and avoid alcohol or coffee.
For your mouth – use lollipops, gum, straws, or carrot sticks as substitutes
For your hands – keep your hands busy by exercising, doing needlework, fiddling with clips or other small items, or reading a book
Relax and Breathe – use diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and meditation to help manage stress. Breathe deeply and visualize your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.
Delay – when you get the urge to smoke, try to wait for at least 10 minutes, as the feeling will often pass
Reward yourself – because quitting isn’t easy, it’s important to reward yourself for your efforts. Use the money typically spent on cigarettes to do something fun or buy a weekly treat. Plan something enjoyable to do everyday
Smoking and Tobacco Free 5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110