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Healthy You

9 Tips for Quitting Smoking

Thursday, November 15, 2018 7:19 AM

Trying to quit smoking is hard. If you’re a former smoker, or someone who has tried to quit before, you know firsthand how difficult it can be. Joseph Messer, MDCardiologist at NorthShore, shares tips to help you kick the habit:


  1. Establish your reason. Are you quitting to lower your health insurance? Are you quitting for your grandkids? Whatever the reason, it’s perfect for you. Write it down and frame it somewhere you’ll see it every day to help motivate you each day.
  2. Prepare a plan. Smoking is an addiction and a plan will help you succeed. Tell your friends and family, stock up on health treats, ask for a walking buddy, talk to your doctor and choose the day that you will quit. Remember to take it one day, hour or minute at a time.
  3. Find your support. Tell everyone you know that you’re quitting so they can hold you accountable. Call your friends and family when you’re struggling, text them your accomplishments and ask them to send you words of encouragement.
  4. Take 5. For some, they miss the smoke break. Instead of lighting up, find new ways to unwind. Try a breathing exercise, take a walk, make yourself a cup of tea or have a dance session.
  5. Avoid triggers. If you often smoked while on the phone or out drinking with friends, give those activities a break for a little bit while you try to kick your bad habit.
  6. Clean the house. Once you have quit, toss all of your lighters, matches, ashtrays and leftover cigarettes. Vacuum the house, and wash all of your clothes and jackets. If time allows, detail your car. This gets rid of that smoke smell and helps your start on a fresh, clean slate.
  7. Stay busy. Especially during those first few days or weeks, you’ll be craving cigarettes. Keep yourself busy with some healthy activities:
  • Go for a walk
  • Clean the house
  • Start a new book
  • Join a gym
  • Go to a movie
  • Ask a friend to join you for coffee
  1. Ask for help. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to your family, friends, doctor or a support group. If you know former smokers who kicked the habit themselves, reach out to them for some inspiration.  
  2. Reward yourself. Choose milestones to celebrate – i.e., first month smoke-free, six months and one year – and choose ways to celebrate each of those. Maybe take all of that money you would have spent and go on a vacation to celebrate that first year being smoke-free!

Quitting smoking can be difficult and some people have to try a couple times before they finally kick the habit. That’s okay! As long as you keep trying, you will get there.