Location Select your location

8 Tips to Quit Smoking for Good in 2017

8 tips graphic

If you or a loved one is thinking about quitting smoking, this is the year to quit for good with the right resources, and with family and friends cheering on. There will be urges to smoke, that's inevitable, but quitters can overcome them and the American Lung Association is here to help.

Check out these tips for becoming smokefree, and share them with the family member, friend or co-worker who is quitting in the new year.

1) Eliminate triggers. Do a thorough cleaning of your house and car to remove cigarettes, ashtrays, smoke odors and other reminders of smoking. If you live with someone who smokes and is not quitting at this time, make a plan so you're not tempted when they light up. Ask them not to smoke in front of you, at least during the toughest parts of your quit.

2) Give it time. The desire to smoke won't disappear overnight and the first seven to 10 days will probably be the toughest. Most smokers who return to smoking do so within the first three months. Even after several months or years, you may still have occasional cravings for a cigarette. This is normal. These urges will occur less often over time and they'll eventually stop completely.

3) Slip-ups are OK. Nobody is perfect and your path to quitting might not be either. Having a puff or smoking a cigarette or two doesn't have to mean you're done with this quit attempt. If you've had a small lapse – you haven't failed as long as you take action to prevent it happening again. Remind yourself of all the good reasons why you decided to quit and figure out what you'll do differently moving ahead. Be patient with yourself and keep looking forward.

4) Wait it out. A craving to smoke only lasts three to five minutes, whether you smoke or not. Call a friend, get a drink of water, do some deep breathing or play a game on your phone. Find something to distract your mind so you can make it through those few minutes.

If you or a loved one is thinking about quitting smoking, this is the year to quit for good with the right resources, and with family and friends cheering on.

Posted by American Lung Association on Thursday, January 19, 2017

5) Plan for situations that make you want to smoke. There are certain stressors and environments that can trigger a smoking craving. For example, being at a party and drinking alcohol makes many smokers want a cigarette. Excuse yourself from the room for a moment or ask a friend to keep you accountable and smokefree. It may even be best to avoid these situations for the first few weeks.

6) Rework your routine. Your schedule may have had built in smoke breaks and cravings can hit especially hard at those times. Know when these times are and what your triggers are, then make a plan to avoid them. For example, if you used to take a specific break at work to smoke push that break 15 minutes forward or linger near the water cooler. If you have a cigarette with your morning coffee, try taking a shower or walking the dog first before that cup of joe.

7) Be patient with yourself. There is no room for self-blame or feelings of guilt when you are quitting smoking. If you do start smoking again, don't think of that as a failure. You are still learning to quit. Figure out what led to your relapse and plan on what to do differently next time.

8) Keep Trying. Every smoker can quit. It may take some time or a few practice quits, but you have the power to break this addiction. Keep trying until you find the right combination of techniques for you and you will be able to quit smoking for good.

You can do this! And if you need support along the way, call the toll-free Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA to speak with a certified smoking cessation counselor. The American Lung Association also offers Freedom From Smoking in-person clinics and online support, with proven-effective quit smoking strategies. You're not alone in your quit attempt, the American Lung Association is here to help!

----
Related Topic: Tobacco & Smoking

  • Bill Blatt
    National Director, Tobacco Programs
    American Lung Association
    Bill Blatt is the American Lung Association's National Director of Tobacco Programs.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. If you are new to the site, complete our quick Registration Form to create a User Name and Password.

Sign-In

Comments


Submitted by Rhea at: July 5, 2017
I have 15 cigarettes in my pack... hoping these will be my last. I have been smoking since I was 17 and I am now 74. I have tried before... spending much money on ways to do so. I really did not want to quit...I was doing it for other people.. now it is for myself. I found myself getting depressed and gaining weight and automatically went for a new pack. I heed help please. TY
Submitted by Dan at: June 22, 2017
Stay Busy: Staying busy is one of the best ways to stay smoke-free on your quit day and for the days after. Make a list of activities you enjoy and refer to it when you have an urge to smoke. Some ideas include: A night out with a non-smoking friend A walk around your favorite park A fitness class Learn a new skill like knitting or painting Reading a good book/watching a funny movie Journaling/scrapbooking Taking photos of people/places you love Writing emails/letters to friends or family-tell them about your plan to quit! http://yourhealthbxvoice.blogspot.com/2017/04/quit-smoking-today.html
Submitted by Suzie Bowers at: March 20, 2017
Greetings Bill and Thank you for all you do to help people. I am a little concerned however that "Hypnosis" is not mentioned in your tips to quit smoking. Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy, combined with Behavioral Science Tools and Techniques is by far the fastest and easiest way to quit smoking. Hypnosis has been proven to be effective in many studies and there are NO harmful side-effects. 80-95% quit with one session and never smoke again. I am confused why such a well-known organization of many highly educated people, do not offer Hypnosis as, not only a way to quit, but probably the best way! I have been helping people stop smoking with Hypnosis since 2004 and the results keep pouring in. It's fast, effective, most clients feel great after their session and no longer want a cigarette!!! Compared to what they're spending on smoking, the harmful health effects and lost time at work, the investment is nominal and worth every penny. If Harvard Medical School is offering classes on Hypnosis, University of Toronto has studies on the positive effects on their athletes, and NASA has used the same tools for their astronaut program, then I believe the American Lung Association needs to catch up. Thank you for taking some time to research this valuable tool for health and self-improvement. Warmly, Suzie Bowers, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Smoking Cessation Specialist. California Hypnosis Center.
Submitted by Daniel at: February 11, 2017

Hello,Bill

I read your post with a pleasure and I would like to say thank you for sharing your advices.I will try to use them, because I still smoke badly and I'm trying to quit yet. In my opinion I'll have to work more on the above points 1)Eliminate triggers,4)Wait it out and especially 8)Keep Trying to achieve some positive resuts.For the last month I managed to reduce the consumption from two packs daily to one,which for me is a huge step forward.I wrote two posts named "Smoking (S)kills" which is something as a diary for my efforts to quit smoking and another "Don't Quit Smoking" ,which is to motivate the other people to try to quit too.

The battle continues, still. Regards: Dan

Submitted by castello at: January 19, 2017
Why no mention of vaping? If you are not promoting vaping to smokers, you are promoting smoking in my opinion. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/promote-e-cigarettes-widely-substitute-smoking-says-new-rcp-report
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

What is LUNG FORCE?

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved